11 April 1997

Press Briefing



Juan Carlos Brandt, Associate Spokesman for the Secretary-General, told correspondents at today's noon briefing that the Secretary-General, who had arrived in Italy and was now in Turin, had expressed his deep satisfaction at the formation of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation in Angola.

At a press conference the Secretary-General had held before leaving Geneva, Mr. Brandt said, he had welcomed the new Government in Luanda as an important step forward, but not, of course, the end of the road. "He noted there were still major tasks ahead -- demobilization, the formation of a national army and of a police force, the demilitarization of some of the militia and, more importantly, the extension of a national administration throughout the territory."

The Security Council, Mr. Brandt went on to say, was discussing a draft presidential statement on the flight to Saudi Arabia by an Iraqi plane, contravening United Nations sanctions. Under the item "Other matters" the Council was due for a Secretariat briefing on Angola. This afternoon, an informal working group would meet to review questions relative to the Council's documentation and other procedural questions.

At 11:30 a.m. Monday, 14 April, Mr. Brandt said that the Council would be briefed by the head of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan, Norbert Holl. Due to the time, it would not be possible to bring Mr. Holl to the noon briefing, but arrangements would be made to have him speak to the press at the Council stake-out position. On Monday afternoon, the Council would have an open meeting on the subject of Afghanistan. Next Wednesday, 16 April, the Council would have a one-day meeting on Afghanistan, as was indicated in yesterday's Journal. The 21 countries concerned, as well as the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), were expected to attend. The purpose of the meeting, which was a follow-up of a similar meeting last November, would be to discuss ways and means to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan. The group would also be briefed by Mr. Holl.

Regarding the proposed Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on the Occupied Territories, Mr. Brandt said that 52 Member States had sent favourable letters. There was still only one letter against the proposal.

A World Food Programme (WFP) shipment of 396 metric tones, donated by Italy, was scheduled to arrive in Albania in the next few days, Mr. Brandt told correspondents. As announced last week, the food would be distributed to

institutions that had suffered with the current crisis, such as hospitals and orphanages, to feed approximately 7,500 people.

Tunisia, the Associate Spokesman announced, had become today the fifty- first Member State to pay its regular budget assessment in full, with a contribution of $319,523. Last year at this date, 52 Member States had paid their contributions in full. The United Nations was now owed $2.7 billion, out of which more than $1 billion corresponded to the regular budget and under $1.7 billion for peace-keeping. Last year on the same date, the outstanding contributions to the United Nations amounted to $2.9 billion, of which $1.2 billion was for the regular budget and $1.7 billion was for peace-keeping.

Mr. Brandt also told correspondents that the monthly summary of outstanding contributions to the United Nations regular budget, to the peace- keeping budget and to the International Tribunals as of 31 March, was available in the Spokesman's office.

Guinea-Bissau signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) this morning, Mr. Brandt announced, thus becoming the 143rd country to do so. He reminded correspondents that only one country, Fiji, had ratified the Treaty.

Regarding upcoming press conferences, Mr. Brandt reminded correspondents that at 3:30 p.m. in room 226, a panel of experts participating in the workshop "Changing Consumption Patterns in Human Settlements" would brief the press, as announced yesterday. The workshop was taking place all day today in the Dag Hammarsjkold Auditorium. Speakers at the briefing, which was within the context of the "Earth Summit + 5", included: the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, Nitin Desai; the Spokesperson of the Expert Group on Changing Consumption Patterns in Human Settlements, Raquel Alfaro; the Joint Secretary of the Minister of Urban Affairs of India, A.P. Sinha; and the Acting Chief of the Research and Development Division of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Mathias Hundsalz.

At 11 a.m., Monday, 14 April, an informal background briefing on the "Earth Summit + 5" review on the progress made since the 1992 Rio Summit would be held, said Mr. Brandt. The speaker would be the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development of the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, Joke Waller-Hunter. More information could be obtained by phoning Ms. Pragati Pascale, extension 6870.

At 1:15 p.m., Monday, in Conference Room 3, a presentation and panel discussion, sponsored by the Mission of Bolivia, would present the highlights of the Summit of Santa Cruz de la Sierra on "A Hemispheric Experience on Sustainable Development: Process, Content and Follow-up Mechanisms". Speakers included the National Secretary of Planning of Bolivia, Ramiro Ortega, and

Daily Press Briefing - 3 - 11 April 1997

officials from related ministries from Bolivia and Brazil. The presentation would conclude at 2:45 p.m.

At 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, 15 April, in the lounge of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA), the Hong Kong Democratic Party Leader, Martin Lee, would brief correspondents.

A correspondent asked if Iraq had ever requested the permission of the Security Council for direct flights from Iraq to Saudi Arabia. In response, Hiro Ueki, Associate Spokesman, said the most recent such request by the Iraqi Government to the Security Council had been last February, and, apparently, the request had not been approved by the Council.

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For information media. Not an official record.