Security Council briefed on work of UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Briefing Council members on Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s most recent report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said such an operation should be solid enough to maintain the accomplishments of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and bring to fruition ongoing projects. According to the report, UNMIBH is expected to complete its core mandate by December 2002, as envisaged in its implementation plan. Mr. Annabi noted that not all projects contained in the plan would be fully completed by the end of 2002, since they were designed to establish ongoing mechanisms and structures, such as those for minority recruitment or for inter-entity and regional police cooperation. Those structures would require post-UNMIBH nurturing, he said, which called for continued monitoring and assistance in order to preserve what had been achieved by the UN over the last six years. Further, some of UNMIBH’s projects, such as the State Border Service, depended on securing additional financial assistance. Noting that it would be desirable for a follow-up mission to combine responsibilities for the police, judiciary and penal system, Mr. Annabi cited assessments that such a task could be carried out by a smaller police force of approximately one-quarter of UNMIBH’s present staff — perhaps 450 police officers.In the ensuing debate, which involved delegates from all 15 members of the Security Council, the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirza Kuljugic, said that the accomplishments reflected in the report were part of the overall improvement in his country. After the general elections, he said, a multi-ethnic government had been established that was committed to working with the international community to building a multi-ethnic State. Emphasizing that progress achieved so far was only part of the process of bringing the country closer to Europe, he said the report was a good opportunity to emphasize the most important issues and the long-term economic transition.UNMIBH, which comprises the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) and a UN civilian office established by the Council in December 1995, exercises a wide range of functions related to the law enforcement functions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also coordinates other UN activities in the country relating to humanitarian relief and refugees, demining, human rights, elections and rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction. read more

Irish soccer team sorry for falsely reporting players death

DUBLIN — A death notice for a soccer player was posted in a local newspaper. A game was postponed. Teams across the league held a minute’s silence.Soccer clubs in the Leinster Senior League in Ireland united over the weekend to honour the memory of a player who was thought to have been killed in a traffic accident last week.Turns out it was all one big mistake.Amateur team Ballybrack FC has apologized for a “gross error of judgment” after falsely reporting that one of its players, Fernando Nuno La Fuente, died on Thursday.La Fuente is, in fact, still alive, the team said.“This grave and unacceptable mistake was completely out of character and was made by a person who has been experiencing severe personal difficulties unbeknownst to any other members of the club,” Ballybrack said in a statement posted on its Facebook page .The club said the person in question was fired after an emergency meeting.The league offered its “sincerest apologies for any distress caused as a result of notifying clubs as to the demise of a valued player.”Ballybrack, a team based in Dublin, postponed its game against Arklow Town on Saturday, while other teams in the league held a minute’s silence in honour of La Fuente.David Moran, chairman of the league, said the story began to be exposed after inquiries were made regarding offering support to La Fuente’s family.“We were told he was flown back to Spain on the Saturday. Straight away, that rang alarm bells for us,” Moran told Irish broadcaster RTE. “We checked the hospitals, we checked everywhere. Nobody could find anything about this young fellow.”Moran said some of La Fuente’s friends said he had gone to Spain four weeks ago.“The club has contacted Fernando to confirm his whereabouts, wellbeing,” Ballybrack said, “and (is) thankful for his acceptance of our apology on this matter.”___More AP soccer: and Associated Press read more