UN Radio: Annan To Geneva For Iraq Meeting
UN Radio: Annan To Geneva For Iraq Ministerial Meetings
Annan to seek rapid restoration of Iraqi sovereignty at Geneva meeting Saturday
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is traveling to Geneva today to attend two meetings. The first on Friday is a meeting of all the heads of organizations participating in a committee that coordinates the humanitarian work of the UN with that of non-governmental organizations. He convened the meeting to discuss the future role and presence of humanitarian workers in Iraq and the need to ensure a humanitarian presence in insecure environments generally. On Saturday, the Secretary-General will meet at his request with the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council to discuss Iraq. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard:
"The meeting is to review the current situation, consider options for the future, including on the security situation, the political transition and economic recovery in Iraq and examine the implications for the role of the United Nations."
The spokesman says the Secretary-General hopes that the meeting will enable the permanent members to identify the important points of convergence that will ultimately allow the full Council to arrive at a consensus on Iraq.
Lack of Security Still Hampers Humanitarian Operations in Liberia
Lack of security, law and order in many parts of Liberia is still hampering humanitarian operations in the country, according to UN agencies. Thousands of people have fled their homes because of continuing rumours of fighting, looting and harassment. The World Health Organization says there are more than 6,000 cases of cholera and other diseases caused by contaminated water. WHO spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib says the people are at risk because they rely on water wells, some of which are contaminated:
"WHO, UNICEF and other partners are trying to put chlorine in the wells, but to be efficient they should check every four days. And now it's raining and the situation is not improving."
Ms. Chaib says the health agency and UNICEF have also conducted an emergency vaccination campaign against measles among children.
Liberian Government Officials Meet with UN in Monrovia
Still on Liberia, an eight-member advance team of the transition committee of the government of Liberia visited the UN offices in Monrovia today. The team went to confer on preparations for the installation of the transitional government on the 14th of October. The discussion centred on ways the transitional government and the United Nations could work in partnership once the Security Council has approved the mandate for the new mission in Liberia. Both sides emphasized the need to establish conditions of security in the country.
UN Agencies and Partners Set to Assess Situation of Sudanese Refugees in Chad
A second mission of Chad government officials, UN agencies and representatives of non-governmental organizations are scheduled to carry out a rapid assessment of the needs of Sudanese refugees in the eastern part of the country. The spokesman for the UN refugee agency, Ron Redmond says the mission will fly out of the capital N'djamena to the region where there are more than 65,000 refugees:
"Most of them began arriving just in the last few weeks, but they have been coming into that area since last April. They are fleeing fighting between the Khartoum government and the Sudan Liberation Movement."
FAO Warns That Fires Are Damaging the World's Forests
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today that fires are destroying millions of hectares of valuable timber and other forest products every year. The agency says the destruction of forests and infrastructure and the costs of fire fighting are estimated at several billion dollars every year. FAO's Forest Fire Officer, Mike Jurvelius points out that more than 350 million hectares of forests and woodlands have been destroyed:
"This is the size of India. In the Russian Federation alone, 24 million hectares of forests have been destroyed, which is the size of the United Kingdom. Apart from these damages to the forests and the environment, we also have heavy damage on infrastructure."
Mr. Jurvelius says that in Canberra alone
these fires destroyed more than 500 houses.