Monthly Archives: March 2005
UN News Service: “The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received its largest single donation ever from a sporting event – nearly $3.35 million from a fundraising rugby game between the northern and southern hemispheres held earlier this month at Twickenham, England, to help the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.”
“Syria will completely withdraw its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday.
In meeting with Annan on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Algiers, Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to present a firm timetable by early April for a full withdrawal of his country’s forces from Lebanon.
From the Washington Post: “[State Department spokesman Adam] Ereli said, the United States appreciates Annan’s effort to change the institution and to tackle a range of politically sensitive development and security issues. He said Annan also provided a “positive emphasis on the importance of promoting freedom and respect for human rights.”
Delegates from the developing world voiced concern that Annan’s proposals — particularly his call for an anti-terrorism convention before the end of next year — go too far in accommodating the interests of the United States and other powerful countries.
Annan will travel Monday night to Algiers to try to generate support for his ideas at an Arab League summit. But Arab leaders are expected to object to his proposal that the treaty define terrorism as any act that is “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or noncombatants” to intimidate a community, government or international organization.”
United Nations Marks World Water Day
“The United Nations says more than 1.1 billion people around the world lack safe water and 2.4 billion have no access to sanitation, leading to over 3 million deaths every year.
“People who can turn on a tap and have safe and clean water to drink, to cook with and to bathe in often take it for granted, and yet more than 1 billion of our fellow human beings have little choice but to use potentially harmful sources of water,” said Dr. Lee Jong-Wook, head of the World Health Organization.” Read More
Statement by Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, on the “In Larger Freedom” Report Issued by Secretary-General Kofi Annan
WASHINGTON-Former Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, issued the following statement regarding the release of “In Larger Freedom: Towards Security, Development and Human Rights for All” – a report issued today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
“Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on global leaders to strengthen their collective ability to tackle the most critical security and social challenges. Annan’s report provides a unique opportunity for the United States to work with the UN and play a leadership role in addressing issues of terrorism, poverty, human rights and the environment. At the same time, the report identifies steps that will help make the UN itself a more effective and efficient organization. The serious challenges addressed by the Secretary-General’s report cannot be met by any one nation acting alone. As a global leader, the U.S. is well positioned to help the UN and the world community to address these fundamental challenges and make the world body a stronger organization.”
STATEMENT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 21 March 2005
Thank you for allowing me to present to you, in person, the five-year progress report that you requested from me, on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration.
The main message of that report is that the aims of the Declaration can be achieved, but only if you, the member states, are willing to adopt a package of specific, concrete decisions this year.
Some of those decisions are so important that they need to be taken at the level of heads of state and government. It is therefore very fortunate that your heads of state and government have agreed to come here for a summit meeting in September. I am giving you my report six months ahead of that meeting, so that your governments have ample time to consider it. My hope is that world leaders, when they arrive here in September, will be ready to take the decisions that are needed.
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.