14/09/2005
Spokesman's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL


AND THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT


Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Pragati Pascale, the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President.


Thank you for your show of solidarity Jim.  Good afternoon.


Secretary-General


The Secretary-General this morning told the leaders gathered for the 2005 World Summit that the document they have come to New York to adopt is “a good start” that contains real breakthroughs on some real issues.


He pointed to the agreement reached yesterday on a document that condemns terrorism that for the first time enshrines a responsibility to protect populations from genocide and other atrocities; that agrees on establishing a Peacebuilding Commission and on the need for a new Human Rights Council; and that unleashes an additional $50 billion a year to fight poverty by 2015.


The accomplishments amount to a far-reaching package of changes, the Secretary-General said.  He warned though that “we have not yet achieved the sweeping and fundamental reform that I and many others believe is required”.


The biggest failing, he said, was on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, where “we have allowed posturing to get in the way of results”.


He urged the gathered leaders to keep working with determination on the tough issues that remain.  A healthy, effective United Nations is vital, the Secretary-General said, adding, “If properly utilized, it can be a unique marriage of power and principle, in the service of all the world’s people.”


Security Council


The Security Council is currently holding a summit of its own with leaders who are attending the Summit right now.  They unanimously adopted resolutions calling upon States to adopt measures to prohibit by law incitement to commit terrorist acts and to improve conflict prevention measures.


The Secretary-General told the Security Council Summit that the United Nations must be at the forefront in the fight against terrorism, by dissuading disaffected groups from terrorism and by denying terrorism the means to carry out attacks.  He added that, while we must deter States from supporting terrorists, we must also defend human rights and support the victims of terrorism.


Financing for Development


The Secretary-General also spoke at the Summit meeting on Financing for Development, telling the attendees that, although the document adopted yesterday is “not all that we had hoped for”, this Summit has served as a real catalyst for development advances. 


What the world needs now, he said, is leadership that will see this Summit’s development decisions implemented fully and without delay.  The Secretary-General said the challenge is now to transform the breakthroughs of the past few years into a performance pact based on the Millennium Development Goals.


Right now, the Secretary-General is meeting with leaders who attended to show their support for the UN’s newly-established Democracy Fund, and he will thank them for their support for, and contributions to, that Fund.


Iraq


I also have a statement on the situation in Iraq.  The Secretary-General has learned with great sadness about a series of attacks in Baghdad today, in which more than 100 people are known to have been killed and even greater numbers wounded.  He vehemently condemns the use of terror and indiscriminate violence against civilians, which no cause or belief can possibly justify.


The Secretary-General extends his deepest sympathies to the Government of Iraq and to the bereaved families of all the victims.


Secretary-General Appointment -- Cyprus


I have an appointment to announce.  The Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Michael Møller of Denmark as his Special Representative for Cyprus and Head of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).  A response from the Security Council is expected shortly.


Møller is currently serving as Acting Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary-General and he’s also the Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Secretary-General’s Executive Office.  He replaces Zbigniew Włosowicz of Poland, who will complete his assignment on November 30th of this year.


Burundi


Participants in a summit on Burundi, held in this building yesterday, agreed in principle to create a new body to coordinate international aid to the new Government in that country.


The Secretary-General co-chaired the meeting with the President of Uganda.  The leaders of eight African countries and representatives of the African Union, the European Commission and several European countries also attended.  The new body will be designed to support efforts to consolidate peace and promote development in Burundi.  And the full text of the Summit statement is available upstairs.


UN-ASEAN Summit


And yesterday the Secretary-General also co-chaired a summit between the UN and the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, otherwise known as ASEAN, which ended with a joint communiqué that agreed to further broaden cooperation between the two.


Honour Roll


And a check from Nigeria showed up today, bringing the number of fully paid Members to 115.  And Nigeria sent us a check for $747,394.


Press Conferences


And we have press conferences this afternoon.  Bertie Ahern the Prime Minister of Ireland, will brief you at 12:45 p.m. here.  At 2:45 p.m., in Conference Room 2, the Heads of State and Government of France, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Germany and Algeria will brief you on action against hunger and poverty.  And at 5:50 p.m. also in Conference Room 2, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, the chair of the first round table, will brief you on the round-table discussions.  And I have a schedule which is also available upstairs of press conferences for tomorrow.


That’s it for me.  Any questions?


Questions and Answers


Question:  How many members have fully paid at this point?


Spokesman:  115, is that what I said… 115.


Question:  What’s the subject of the round table?  It just says interactive round table.


Spokesman:  I don’t have that in front of me.  I’ll check that and get right back to you.


GA Spokesperson:  Each of the round tables covers the full range of issues.


Question:  What was that timing 5:50, and the one before was what time?


Spokesman:   2:45 in Conference Room 2.


Thank you.


Spokesperson of the General Assembly President


The 2005 World Summit -– the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly -– opened this morning with statements by the two Co-Chairs, Prime Minister Göran Persson of Sweden and President Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, by the Secretary-General and by the President of the host country, George Bush.


A special meeting on financing on development is under way as we speak, running until 1.  In addition to Heads of State and Government, and the Secretary-General, speakers have included the new President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, and the Managing Director of the IMF, Rodrigo de Rato.  The Deputy Director-General of the WTO will also speak later in the meeting.


This afternoon, from 3 to 7 p.m., statements will continue in the plenary -– the list of 40 speakers scheduled is available in the Journal, in the media centre and the Spokesman’s Office.


Also, from 3 to 6 p.m., the first of the four interactive round tables will take place, chaired by the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard.  As we just mentioned, each round table will discuss the full range of issues before the Summit.  They are closed to the media, but we have arranged for some of the Chairs to brief the press immediately afterwards, and Prime Minister Howard will brief the press today at 5:50 p.m., in Conference Room 2.


Regarding the Treaty Event taking place, as you may know, the Secretary-General has invited Heads of State and Government attending the World Summit, to sign, ratify or accede to 32 key treaties ranging from human rights and refugees to terrorism and the Kyoto Protocol.


Treaty actions tentatively scheduled for today include the signing by 35 States of the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which opened for signature today.  First to sign the nuclear terrorism treaty this morning were Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President George Bush, and French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.


The signatures will continue into this evening near the delegates’ entrance, at the bottom of the escalator.  We have upstairs schedules of when leaders will be signing, if you want to plan.


Some numbers:


As of this morning, a total of 153 Heads of State and Government are expected to speak during the World Summit, including the Holy See.  So that makes it the largest Summit the UN has ever held.


Also as of this morning, a total of 4,483 passes have been issued especially for the Summit, including 1,949 for media and 2,534 for delegations.


Questions and Answers


Question:  Paul Taylor, Reuters.  As one of the holders of 1,949 media passes, may I express my absolute outrage at the amount of time it has taken the journalists to get into this building to do their job today.  I and my colleagues have waited between 90 minutes and two hours to get in this morning.  There was only a single security gate in operation for almost 2,000 accredited journalists.  I’ve never come across such a disgrace at any major international gathering and I attend lots of them.  And although it was known since yesterday afternoon, at least, that one of the security gates at the press entrance was broken, it was not replaced, it was not repaired, nor were journalists allowed to enter at 46th Street as we have been in previous years and on previous Summits.  Can we have some explanation for this?


Spokesman:  We were made aware of that this morning by another journalist.  We went down to take a look, we’ve contacted security to make sure this doesn’t happen again and that they do have the three machines up and running tomorrow.  We do apologize for the inconvenience it has caused because obviously the main crush was this morning.


Question:  But it happened yesterday afternoon as well and there was only one entrance.  Can you at least, as an interim measure, allow journalists to be diverted to the 46th Street entrance, so they can get in a timely manner?


Spokesman:  We will follow up with security as soon as the briefing is done to find a solution.


Question:  We need to leave the building during the course of the day to attend an event outside.  We have to wait another 90 minutes to get back inside.  It’s not possible to do your work


Spokesman:  We’ll follow up.


Question:  I would like to know how much does a Summit like this cost?  Do you have any cost calculation for everything?


GA Spokesperson:  There were some additional funds allocated by the General Assembly and we’re trying to get figures for that.  We’ll give it to you this afternoon, we hope.


Question:  There would seem to be a connection between the signature against nuclear terrorism and the problem with proliferation of nuclear weapons.  The way things are going in five, 10 years about 20 nations will have nuclear weapons of deterrence.  It seems there are cross-purposes here. What’s the real problem on proliferation?  Where is the real lack of agreement against nuclear proliferation?


Spokesman:  You would have to ask the member states.  I think the Secretary-General was very clear in how he viewed the fact that they could not come to agreement on the issues of NPT and disarmament.  He called it a disgrace.  It’s an issue for the member states to resolve; it’s time for them to show leadership on these issues.


Question:  A couple of things on the treaties, I mean is there a way of updating the news?  I noticed that it’s not showing on TV.  I have the schedule of who’s supposed to sign it, would like to be able to confirm that’s actually (inaudible).  Is there some way of doing it besides calling the office and hoping to find somebody in?


GA Spokesperson:  I think that they’re trying to keep the website up-to-date.  There’s a piece in the press-kit that gives the website for the treaty event [http://untreaty.un.org], and I think they’re trying to keep those figures up-to-date on what’s being done.


Question:  And just to clarify this high level plenary on Financing for Development is all morning; by the time we resume by 3, the plenary is back to the general subject?


GA Spokesperson:  Yes.


Question:  And finally on the security question, I don’t know if this is going to work, I was just thinking of it when we talked about 2000.  The 42nd Street entrance, resident correspondents are going through that.  Non-resident correspondents and correspondents with temporary passes, in other words my colleague with the diagonal stripe and others -- they all have to go through apparently the same one magnetometer?


Spokesman:  My understanding is that three had been set up and at some point two of them had broken down.  But I think that what we will do is that after this briefing is over we will talk to security, and if we haven’t fixed them we will see if we can give you one of the alternate entrances to use. We’ll try to solve these issues.


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For information media • not an official record