UN Radio - Calls For Quick Action on Road Map
UN Radio - UN Special Envoy for Middle East Process Calls For Quick Action on Road Map
The United Nations Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Process, Terje Roed-Larsen has called on the international community to push the parties involved to move along the Road Map as quickly as possible. During a briefing to the Security Council today, Mr. Larsen expressed his sympathy to the families of the victims of the latest suicide bombings in Israel - acts which have been condemned by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and by the Human Rights Commissioner Sergio Vieira de Mello. The UN envoy to the Middle East says the new Palestinian leadership led by Prime Minister Abu Mazen needs to do more in the area of security reform:
"The fate of Abu Mazen's government is critically dependent on a radical and credible change of policy. Until the Palestinians and Israeli people feel safe and secure, the ultimate hopes of the Road map will seem illusory."
Mr. Larsen further warned about obstacles in the way of peace and called on both Israelis and Palestinians to end the current cycle of violence.
UN Mission in DR Congo Exhumes Bodies of Slain Colleagues
The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUC, says it's preparing to fly out of the country the bodies of two of its military observers who were savagely killed near Bunia, in the north-east, during recent fighting by militia groups there. The names of the Jordanian and Malawian officers are being withheld until their families have been informed. MONUC spokesperson Patricia Tome says after waiting for days for news about their colleagues, MONUC finally got information from a local chief about the fate of the two observers:
"MONUC has sent two helicopters to pick up the bodies of the two peacekeepers and they were, in fact, buried already in the locality where they were found so we have exhumed them and put them in body bags and bringing them back to Bunia. Today we are sending them to Kinshasa and there will be a memorial ceremony tomorrow."
UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has expressed his profound sadness over the tragic deaths of the observers, and strongly condemned them as appalling and shocking acts. He said those responsible would be held fully accountable for their actions.
WHO Chief Calls for More Global Cooperation at Opening of World Health Assembly
The World Health Organisation has opened its annual Health Assembly in Geneva with a call for greater global co-operation in fighting world diseases. The WHO Head, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, told the assembly that national efforts alone would not be enough in implementing a successful system of global alert and response. On his part Dr. David Heyman, who's the head of Communicable Diseases, gave a summarized assessment of the global SARS crisis:
"We thought that we had no choice but to try put this disease back in its box, keep it from becoming an endemic disease like AIDS, like tuberculosis. Have we had success? Time will tell. We believe we will have success. Vietnam and Toronto are good examples of what can be done. Hong Kong and Singapore are rapidly doing the job. And in some provinces in China we are seeing that the disease is also rapidly decreasing."
Nearly 8,000 people worldwide have been infected worldwide with SARS, with more than 600 people killed, the majority of them in China and Hong Kong.
UN Refugee Head Calls for End of Violence in Liberia
The Head of the UN Refugee Agency, former Dutch Prime Minister, Ruud Lubbers, has said that a United Nations peacekeeping force would be needed in Liberia to end the cycle of ethnic violence in the whole of west Africa. UNHCR spokesperson Delphine Marie says the refusal of the Liberian president, Charles Taylor, to meet Mr. Lubbers was a disappointment:
"I think it was disappointing of course because this was planned and he was hoping to discuss a solution for Liberia which has been in crisis for the past 3 years even more seriously than before and which is also fuelling instability in the neighbouring countries."
Annan Disppointed and Concerned over Renewed Fighting in Aceh, Indonesia
UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has expressed his concern and disappointment over reports of renewed fighting in Aceh, Indonesia, and the imposition of martial law in the province.