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"Security Council Will Have A Role To Play In Iraq

Annan: "Security Council Will Have A Role To Play In Iraq And Beyond"

Highlights from Today’s UN Press Briefing

· Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke to reporters upon entering the building today, and was asked about the problems in the dialogue between the French and the Americans on Iraq, to which he responded, “The governments have to find a way of working together.”
· Regardless of how this crisis is resolved, he went on, the Security Council and the Member States will have to work together to deal with Iraq, the Middle East and many other issues. The divisions that have surfaced, he said, should not be long ones that will prevent the Council from tackling the major issues ahead.
· He added, “Regardless of how this issue is resolved, the Council will have a role and the UN will have a role to play in Iraq and beyond.”

ANNAN HOLDS INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS WITH ALL SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

· The Secretary-General continued meeting with members of the Security Council today. He saw the permanent representatives of Russia and the United Kingdom yesterday, and by the end of today he should have met with all 15.
· He will be urging them to continue their strenuous efforts to find compromise and exploring with them what might be done to further their objective to define a united position.
· As always, he feels they are most effective when they work together. These meetings are all one-on-one and there will be no readouts.
· Asked why the Secretary-General was not going to Baghdad to talk directly with the Iraqi leadership, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is talking to members of the Council and what he sees at stake is the UN Charter provision for united action. As a defender of the Charter, the Secretary-General feels that if the Council can remain united it is in the best interest of the United Nations and the rule of law, the Spokesman said.
· Asked why the Secretary-General refuses to go to Baghdad to defuse the situation as he did in 1998, the Spokesman said that when the Secretary-General went in 1998 the weapons inspectors had been blocked and they had not been permitted access to Presidential sites. Today, the Spokesman went on to say, the inspection process is going full blast, so he does not feel there is the same need for personal diplomacy in Baghdad.

SECURITY COUNCIL CONSULTATIONS ON IRAQ TO RESUME THIS AFTERNOON

· The Security Council held consultations yesterday evening on Iraq during which the United Kingdom circulated a non-paper.
· Consultations are scheduled to resume this afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
· A two-day Security Council open debate on Iraq to hear the views of non-members concluded yesterday during which 53 member states spoke.

UN COMMISSION FOR IRAQ APPROVES $223 MILLION IN CLAIMS FOR KUWAIT

· Earlier today in Geneva, the UN Compensation Commission for Iraq approved awards totaling more than $223.2 million. Of this total, $192 million was awarded to Kuwait for individual business and private sector corporation losses.
· The governing council also elected the Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN Headquarters in Geneva, Ambassador Walter Lewalter, to a two-year term as President.
· As you know, the compensation commission is a subsidiary body of the Security Council established by the Council in 1991 to process claims and pay compensation for losses resulting from Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

UN LEGAL TEAM STARTS TALKS IN PHNOM PENH ON KHMER ROUGE COURTS

· In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, today, UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell met with Senior Minister Sok An to discuss the program of work their delegations will deal with as they negotiate on the remaining parts of a draft agreement concerning the trial of Khmer Rouge leaders.
· Corell also met for more than an hour with King Norodom Sihanouk. In the afternoon, Sok An will meet with the full UN delegation.
· Friday, Corell will meet with representatives from non-governmental organizations and then with Cambodia’s Supreme Council. In the afternoon, Sok An will meet with the full UN delegation.
· The UN delegation’s trip to Cambodia is expected to wrap up on March 17, one day before the Secretary-General is due to report back to the General Assembly on progress regarding the trials.

UN TRIBUNAL: DJINDJIC DEATH IS “HEAVY BLOW” TO THE RULE OF LAW

· The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today issued a statement in which its President, Judge Theodor Meron, expressed his shock and horror at the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, whose cooperation with the Tribunal had brought international justice closer to a region that had seen terrible atrocities.
· His death, the Tribunal said, is a heavy blow to individual accountability for violations of international humanitarian law, and to the rule of law.

ANNAN, TOP U.S. HEALTH OFFICIAL TO DISCUSS U.S. PLEDGE TO GLOBAL AIDS FUND

· The Secretary-General has invited U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, for lunch today, to discuss the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
· U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, and UN officials will also attend the lunch, at which the Secretary-General is also expected to discuss the $15 billion pledge for AIDS announced by the President Bush, the food crisis in Africa and its relation to AIDS and the follow-up to the G-8 meeting on food security in Africa.
· Thompson was elected Chairman of the Fund in January and the Secretary-General is patron on the Fund.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

FOOD AID SOUGHT FOR ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA:
The World Food Programme today warns that more food aid was urgently needed to avert severe human suffering in drought-affected Ethiopia and Eritrea, where relief stocks will run out in the approaching months.

UNESCO TO HELP RESTORE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN CHECHNYA:
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced that an Aide-Memoire will be signed Friday with the Russian Federation on restoring the education system in Chechnya. It says cooperation will be based on a recent assessment of education in Chechnya conducted by Russian and Chechen education officials with technical support to be provided by UNESCO.

GLOBALIZATION TO BE DISCUSSED AT SECRETARY-GENERAL'S LECTURE SERIES:
The fourth lecture in the Secretary-General’s Lecture Series takes place Friday. Jeffrey Sachs, Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, Jagdish Bhagwati, Professor in Economics at Columbia University, and Joseph Stiglitz, Professor in Economics and Finance at Columbia University, will discuss “Globalization: Winners and Losers" at UN headquarters starting 1:30 p.m.

UNMOVIC TRAFFIC ACCIDENT:
A vehicle of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) was involved in a traffic accident today. Despite immediate medical assistance, including prompt help from the Iraqi side, one UNMOVIC inspector died as a result of his injuries and another was injured. An inquiry is being conducted into how the accident occurred.

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