Annan welcomes security handover to UN Mission in DR of Congo

In a statement issued by his spokesman in New York, the Secretary-General welcomed yesterday’s “smooth transfer of security responsibilities” from the Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF) to the UN Organization Mission’s (MONUC’s) Ituri Brigade in Bunia. “The Secretary-General expresses his appreciation to all States that have contributed troops to the IEMF, in particular the Framework Nation, France,” the statement said.”The Secretary-General is confident that the MONUC force on the ground, already totalling over 2,500, is prepared to implement its mandate,” the statement continued, adding that his intention is that MONUC will maintain the momentum of its further deployment to the region and of the peace process facilitated by the presence of the European Union-led IEMF.”The Secretary-General reminds all the key players in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the neighbouring States of their responsibility to stay on the course of peace and reconciliation, and to cooperate fully with the United Nations,” the statement concluded. read more

New chairman of UN disarmament commission predicts challenges amid stalemate

Addressing a brief organizational session of the Commission, which will meet from 9 to 27 April, Elbio Rosselli of Uruguay noted that the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament has been unable to adopt a programme to make it possible to renew substantive negotiations, and the recent Review Conference on the small arms action plan had also failed to achieve solid results.Ten years ago, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) opened for signature, but it had yet to enter into force, he noted, because not enough designated countries have ratified it. In addition, no significant progress had been made on practical steps towards nuclear disarmament agreed at the 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.But he said he looked forward to chairing the Commission and pledged to work closely with the heads of its two working groups. The first, dealing with nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, is chaired by Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou of Benin. The second, on confidence-building in the conventional weapons sphere, is chaired by Carlos Duarte of Brazil. read more