UN Radio: Vote Says USA Must End Cuba Embargo
UN Radio: Vote Says USA Must End 40 Year Embargo Against Cuba
Global Search for SARS Vaccine Gains Momentum: WHO
The UN health agency (WHO) reports that progress is
being made in the search for a vaccine for SARS or Severe
Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
More than 50 leading SARS researchers have concluded that a safe and effective vaccine would be an important complement to existing SARS control strategies. Director of WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny says the sooner a vaccine is developed against SARS, the better. But she says however urgent the need, safety and quality must never be compromised:
"We know for sure that a vaccine will not be available should SARS re-occur this year, but nevertheless we have absolutely to work against time to be sure that if it re-occurs next year or the year after then as quickly as possible the tools are ready for prevention."
The first clinical trial on an inactivated SARS vaccine could begin as early as January 2004. However, it is difficult to say when a vaccine might be available.
Annan Calls for a Return to the Quartet's Road Map
Secretary-General Kofi Annan says it's of paramount importance that the Israelis and Palestinians start implementing the provisions of the Road Map without further delay. The call comes in a statement in which the Secretary-General welcomes the Geneva Accords drafted by prominent Israelis and Palestinians which outline comprehensive and detailed steps to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. UN Spokesman Stephan Dujarric:
"Such private initiatives,while not a substitute for official diplomatic negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, deserve praise and encouragement as courageous attempts to break the stalemate on both sides and to generate the popular support needed for peace in the Middle East."
The spokesman says the Secretary-General considers the Geneva Accords both consistent and compatible with the Quartet's Road Map - the last phase of which calls for agreement on such final settlement issues as Jerusalem and settlements and refugees.
UN Urges US to Stop Embargo against Cuba
The UN General Assembly has urged the United States for the 12th straight year to end its 42-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. The Assembly expressed concern over the extra-territorial effects on the sovereignty of other States by the 1996 Helms-Burton Act. Cuba's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said the blockade imposed by the United States must be lifted and the Helms-Burton Act repealed:
"The blockade is the greatest obstacle to Cuba's to our prosperity. It has triggered losses for our country to the tune of over US$72 billion. How many shortages and hardships would we have been spared without the blockade?"
The representative of the United States said the embargo was a bilateral issue and accused Cuba of trying to blame its economic woes on the United States to divert attention from its human rights record. The resolution was supported by more than a 175 countries with only Israel and the Marshall Islands joining the United States in voting against it.
UN Observers Blocked by Soldiers in Southeast Congo
UN officials said Wednesday that government soldiers had prevented their observers from examining the scene of a reported plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A spokesman for the UN mission, known as MONUC, said a plane was reported to have crashed last weekend at a military base in Kamina in the Katanga province in southeastern Congo. The spokesman Hamadoun Toure said the United Nations wanted to check reports that the plane might have been used to ferry supplies to foreign armed fighters in the east, and dispatched observers to the site. But he said when the observers arrived on Tuesday, they were prevented from approaching the scene of the crash by soldiers from the national army.
Guinea Becoming Haven for West African Child Refugees: UNICEF
The West African nation of Guinea has become a haven for thousands of children fleeing the region's wars. UNICEF's Executive Director Carol Bellamy said border monitors and non-governmental organizations are reporting that many children -often separated from their families - are seeking shelter in Guinea. According to UNICEF, more than a million refugees from neighbouring countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire have fled wars and travelled to Guinea. Ms. Bellamy said many of the refugees are children and the problem has been exacerbated by the return of Guinean youngsters from Liberia where they had been serving as child soldiers in the Liberian civil war.
UNHCR to Repatriate 25,000 Refugees from Uganda
refugee agency (UNHCR) has decided to repatriate some 25,000
Rwandan refuges living in camps in Uganda. UNHCR said it has
started an information campaign with the Ugandan government
to tell the refugees about the situation. The agency expects
the first convoys to leave for Rwanda in December. Rwandan
government officials will travel to Uganda to assure the
refugees that the situation back home is good.