ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN SWITZERLAND, 6 - 11 APRIL

SG/T/2172
12 April 1999

ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN SWITZERLAND, 6 - 11 APRIL

12 April 1999


Press Release
SG/T/2172


ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN SWITZERLAND, 6 - 11 APRIL

19990412 The following morning, he began his day by meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, his Special Envoy for Afghanistan. Mr. Brahimi briefed the Secretary-General on his recent talks with the Taliban and the opposition, as well as with governments of neighbouring countries, on the situation in Afghanistan.

At 11 a.m., the Secretary-General met with the Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, Soren Jessen-Petersen, and with Jean Daniel Tauxs, Director of Operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They discussed the humanitarian situation in Kosovo, including relief operations and refugee protection concerns. The current status of the establishment of refugee transit centres was reviewed, and they discussed the security aspects of running refugee camps.

At noon, the Secretary-General addressed the annual meeting of the Commission on Human Rights (see Press Release SG/SM/6949). Following that meeting, he answered media questions on Kosovo and on East Timor.

The Secretary-General then had a private meeting with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, who also briefed him on Kosovo. With her were the Special Rapporteur for the situation in the former Yugoslavia, Jiri Dienstbier, and her newly appointed Personal Representative for Kosovo, Michel Moussali, who were due to leave for the region on Thursday, 8 April. Mrs. Robinson informed the Secretary-General that the number of human rights monitors in the region was to increase soon -- there were currently eight monitors in Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro, with six more in training. The meeting concluded with a briefing by the High Commissioner on preliminary preparations for the World Conference on Racism to be held in 2001.

The Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan later participated in the opening of the United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF) exhibit marking the tenth anniversary of the General Assembly's approval of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At 1:30 p.m., the Secretary-General attended a luncheon, held in his honour by Mrs. Robinson, with members of the Bureau of the Commission on Human Rights.

- 2 - Press Release SG/T/2172 12 April 1999

At 3:30 p.m., the Secretary-General addressed the twenty-sixth meeting of the Chairmen and Coordinators of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China (see Press Release SG/SM/6950). Immediately before that, he had met with the Chairman of the Group of 77, Ambassador S.R. Insanally of Guyana. His other meetings that day were with Azeddine Laraki, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and with Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister of Iran. That evening, he attended the fiftieth Anniversary Gala Dinner of the Geneva United Nations Correspondents Association, where he made a speech (see Press Release SG/SM/6951).

On Thursday, 8 April, the Secretary-General had internal appointments only.

The following day, the Secretary-General chaired the semi-annual meeting of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) which was attended by the heads of all United Nations agencies, funds and programmes. Discussions focused on globalization and the United Nations relations with the private sector.

That afternoon, in a statement (Press Release SG/SM/6952), the Secretary-General urged Yugoslav authorities to cease all military actions in Kosovo and withdraw their forces from the province. He also called on Belgrade to immediately end the "campaign of intimidation and expulsion of the civilian population", and to unconditionally accept the return of all refugees and displaced people to their homes. He appealed to the Yugoslav Government to accept the deployment of an international military force to ensure a secure environment for the return of refugees and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid. The international community must also be allowed to verify compliance with these undertakings, he stressed. "Upon acceptance by the Yugoslav authorities of these conditions, I urge the leaders of the North Atlantic alliance to suspend immediately the air bombardments upon the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", he said. The Secretary-General added that his proposals for an end to hostilities were a prelude to a lasting political solution to the crisis, "which can only be achieved through diplomacy".

Later in the day, the Secretary-General and ACC members travelled to Mont Pelerin, about an hour and a half's drive from Geneva, for a retreat which lasted through Saturday, 10 April. The focus of the retreat was the contribution that United Nations agencies, funds and programmes could make to the Millennium Assembly, which would take place in the autumn of the year 2000.

On Sunday, 11 April, the Secretary-General left for Madrid to begin his first official visit to Spain. Before departing, he met for half an hour with Sadako Ogata, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who gave him a first-hand assessment of the refugee situation in the former Yugoslavia following her recent visits to Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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For information media. Not an official record.