Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
07-Mar-1997 00:10:30
Briefing by Fred Eckhard, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Secretary-General, along with the United Nations/Organization of African Unity (OAU) Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region, Mohamed Sahnoun, was in the Security Council now, where they were briefing members on the situation in eastern Zaire and the Great Lakes region generally.

Secretary-General noted with regret the 4 March decision by the Government of Zaire to expel from the country those international aid workers who had been relocated from Kisangani to Kinshasa on 1 March as a result of the deteriorating situation there.

United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region, Martin Griffiths, following consultations with Ambassador Sahnoun, had appealed to regional and local sanctions committees to act expediently on requests made by United Nations organizations for exemptions for humanitarian assistance purposes.

Eckhard recalled his statement yesterday that outgoing High Commissioner for Human Rights José Ayala-Lasso had expressed concern about still unconfirmed reports of massive killings in eastern Zaire.

United Nations Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq had provided a schedule for nine shipments under the "oil-for-food" regime. Among them: the SS Mersini, carrying over 25,000 tons of wheat, had left France on 19 February and had been expected in Umm Qasr between 14 and 17 March.

The second trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, located at The Hague, was to begin on Monday, 10 March.

The High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Carl Bildt, today announced the appointment of Bill Farrand as his deputy and the supervisor for Brcko, Mr. Eckhard said. As of now, that was the extent of the information he had on Mr. Farrand.

Eckhard reminded correspondents that the Bosnian elections had been postponed further, from July to September 1997.

The Secretary-General this morning had submitted his report on Tajikistan to the Security Council, Mr. Eckhard said. The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, had been holding the Moscow round of the inter-Tajik talks.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had released a report entitled State of the World's Forests - 1997, which addressed the continued high levels of deforestation worldwide.

Eckhard then made an announcement at the request of Samsiah Abdul- Majid, spokeswoman for General Assembly President Razali Ismail (Malaysia). For correspondents interested in enhancing their understanding of the technical aspects of the scale of assessments.

Eckhard then welcomed the presence to the briefing of Alex Ivanko, United Nations Spokesman in Sarajevo, who was in New York for a two-day lessons-learned session for field spokesmen and information personnel.

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