1 September 2000


1 September 2000

Press Briefing



As of yesterday, 152 heads of State and heads of government had confirmed that they would be attending the Millennium Summit of the General Assembly, to be held from 6 to 8 September, Thérèse Gastaut, Director of the Public Affairs Division of the Department of Public Information and Spokeswoman for the Summit Co-Chairs, told correspondents at a Headquarters briefing this afternoon. She added that 2,500 journalists had already been accredited for the event -– “and we keep accrediting them”.

The two Co-Chairs of the Millennium Summit had not yet arrived in New York, she said. President Sam Nujoma of Namibia would be arriving tomorrow, Saturday, 2 September. And President Tarja Halonen of Finland would arrive on 5 September in the morning. The Co-Chairs would have their first meeting on the eve of the Summit, on 5 September at the end of the day, at a location to be announced. A photo opportunity would be arranged for correspondents. Ms. Gastaut said the Co-Chairs came from countries with excellent bilateral relations, and they looked forward to meeting each other and working to make the Summit a success.

In the meantime, she said, for correspondents interested in the Co-Chairs' vision for the Summit, there was an interview in a United Nations publication, the United Nations Chronicle, which offered a glimpse of that vision. She would arrange to have copies made available.

Also available, she said, was the list of attending leaders. “But, as you can imagine, the figure is changing every day. I also brought the new list of speakers as of this morning, which also indicates when non-States, such as non- governmental organizations, will be speaking. But, as it stands, the Summit will indeed be the largest-ever gathering of world leaders.”

Ms. Gastaut went on to say that the Media Centre would be open this afternoon in Conference Room 1. It would be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including -- thanks to NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Company -- high- level television technology. The Media Centre would be staffed throughout the Labor Day weekend. She herself would be there on Sunday and Monday, she said.

Starting on 5 September, the Department of Public Information would produce a daily list of events giving correspondents the highlights of the day. In the meantime, the Department had arranged for journalists to have a media schedule, which had just been revised and which listed the most important media events during the Summit. There would also be three media advisories on the 7 September meeting of the Security Council at the level of head of State and head of government.

The Security Council Summit would be followed on 8 September by a Summit meeting of the Bureau of the Economic and Social Council, said Ms. Gastaut. The Department was also putting out an advisory on a meeting of Women heads of State on 5 September.

Gastaut Briefing - 2 - 1 September 2000

“On a final note”, she said, “this is a gift, I understand you call it The Card. It’s a map of the New York subway, but it is also the message of the Summit. I understand there will be a lot of traffic congestion in the city so this may be quite handy for you. Everyone wants one, so please be quick to get yours.”

Asked how many people could be housed in the press room, Ms. Gastaut said the Media Centre could house about 500, not enough to accommodate the 2,500 accredited journalists who were expected. “But as you can imagine, they wouldn’t all be in that room at the same time all the time. Hopefully, it will be enough for our needs.”

Another correspondent asked whether there was a list of which country would be signing which treaty. Ms. Gastaut said the latest figure was 81 countries that had indicated they would sign or ratify a convention during the Summit. Apparently, there were still some changes to come, but she would try to put out the exact ratification schedule this evening.

Asked when a country-by-country breakdown of round-table participation would be available, she said she was not yet in a position to announce it because it would be determined by special procedure. “We are almost there.” The list of round-table panelists would be announced as soon as possible, but it had to go first to the President of the General Assembly. Hopefully, it would be made available by the end of today or on Labor Day, Monday. Correspondents already had the names of the round-table Chairs, she said.

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For information media. Not an official record.