15/11/2005
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 Marie Okabe, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Pragati Pascale, Spokesperson for the General Assembly President.


Good afternoon.  Just before I came down here, I announced that in about 10 or 15 minutes, just after I finish my briefing and Pragati’s, we expect to have a background briefing in this room by officials who will explain the facts behind Stephanides’ decision, which many of you were asking me about before I came down here.


**Secretary-General in Tunis


The Secretary-General met with his senior advisers in Tunis this morning, and discussed the World Summit on the Information Society, which opens there tomorrow.


The Secretary-General will tell the Summit’s opening plenary tomorrow that “the information society’s very lifeblood is freedom”.  Without openness, he is to say, “the information revolution will stall, and the information society we hope to build will be stillborn”.  We will put out embargoed copies of that speech later today.


This afternoon, the Secretary-General met with the Mayors of Bilbao and Tunis -- respectively, Juan Jose Ibarretxe and Abbas Mohsen -- who presented him with the outcome document of the Second World Summit of Cities and Local Authorities on the Information Society, which took place in Bilbao earlier this month.  Later today, he is expected to meet with Israel’s Foreign Minister.  He will also meet with the heads of UN agencies attending the Summit, including, of course, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union.


**Security Council


The Security Council held an open meeting this morning on the Council’s recent mission to Central Africa.  The mission’s delegation leader, Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière, briefed the Council on the trip, which saw Council members visit five countries and meet several leaders in the region.


That first Council meeting was followed by another -- which is still ongoing -- this time on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The European Union’s High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown, is briefing the Council -– telling it of the progress Bosnia and Herzegovina has made over the past ten years.


And we have copies of his statement available upstairs.


** Lebanon


Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari, continued his visit to Lebanon, where he held separate meetings today with some of the leaders of the country's religious communities. 


He also met with Lebanon’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Elias Murr.  Gambari told reporters afterward that they had discussed cooperation by the Lebanese Government with the United Nations on both the Hariri investigation and the implementation of other UN resolutions on Lebanon, particularly resolution 1614, regarding the extension of Government control throughout the country.


Throughout his meetings today, Gambari emphasized the UN’s desire and support for the sovereignty, independence, stability and security of Lebanon.  He is expected to meet with Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Fuad Siniora, tomorrow.


** Iraq


In Amman today, Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, met with Jordanian Prime Minister Adnan Badran and expressed his condolences for the tragic loss of life during last week’s terrorist attack.


Qazi briefed the Prime Minister on recent developments in Iraq, and discussed the upcoming preparatory meeting in Cairo, under the auspices of the Arab League, to explore the means for national reconciliation among Iraqis.


We have a press release available upstairs with more information in the Spokesman’s Office.


**UNRWA


Tomorrow morning in Jordan, Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), will deliver a message on the Secretary-General’s behalf to the Agency’s donors about the indispensable work that it does.


In that message, the Secretary-General calls on donors to not only continue their support to UNRWA, but to increase it.


And there are embargoed copies of that message upstairs in English, Arabic and French.


** Sudan


We have just received reports about inter-ethnic tensions in Yambio, the state capital of Western Equatoria in southern Sudan, which sparked fighting there.


We are told that the World Health Organization (WHO) compound has been looted and burnt.  Violence is still ongoing and we’re trying to get you more of an update on that situation.


** Haiti


The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) reports that UN peacekeepers carried out several search and security operations this past weekend, against gang members in various districts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and its surroundings.


During these operations, one suspect was killed, two others wounded, and nine people were arrested.  As well, weapons were seized and stolen vehicles recovered.  MINUSTAH says it will deploy additional UN peacekeepers to reinforce an area known as Cité Militaire in order to slow down the activity of local armed gangs.


**South Asia Quake


Turning now to the South Asia quake, snow has started falling in northern Pakistan.  And according to the UN refugee agency, or UNHCR, the dropping snow line, as well as the rains at lower elevations, is making life “cold and miserable.”


UN agencies are, nevertheless, still working hard to attend to the survivors’ needs.  The World Food Programme (WFP) today said that, because of new donations from the United States, Norway, Canada and Denmark, it would be able to extend its helicopter operation for at least another two months.


The agency says this is the largest humanitarian helicopter operation it has ever launched, and the entire airlift -- which involves WFP, UNHCR, NATO and other actors -- is now transporting up to 100 tons of relief supplies every day.


Meanwhile, UNHCR says that, since the earthquake struck, it has brought more than 20,000 tents.  And we have more information on that upstairs.


**Internet Scam


The UN refugee agency today issued a warning that scam artists are using the internet to make fraudulent resettlement and employment offers to people who are seeking to emigrate or to obtain refugee status.


The agency said the fake websites and chat groups are offering -- for a fee -- jobs in industrialized countries, and they are using the name of UNHCR.  UNHCR never charges any fees, the agency said, and it does not join chat groups or other such websites.


**UNDP


Kemal Derviş, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme, is in Thailand today on the second leg of a three-country trip that includes India and Pakistan.  In Bangkok, Derviş is meeting with senior Thai officials to discuss the country’s status as an emerging donor.


Derviş said the developing world has much to learn from Thailand’s experience in sound fiscal management, trade policy and regional economic cooperation.


Derviş also visited India, where he met with senior Government officials to discuss financing mechanisms for India’s human development, and other matters.


From Thailand Derviş will go to Pakistan, where he will join the Secretary-General in opening an international conference in support of the earthquake victims. 


**Questions and Answers


Question:  I think we need an on-the-record statement by the Secretary-General’s Spokesman why the Secretary-General is rejecting the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Disciplinary Committee that he write a personal apology to Mr. Stephanides in this case.


Deputy Spokesman:  I don’t have an official statement.  This is a decision that was sent in a letter by the Under-Secretary-General for Management on behalf of the Secretary-General.  It is a confidential document and I can confirm to you that the decision to summarily dismiss was rescinded, and I’ve scheduled some officials to come here to explain the facts behind the letter.  [The Spokesman’s Office issued a statement on this topic later in the day.]


Question:  The Secretary-General has taken a decision.  I’ve spoken to Joseph Stephanides, who said that the Secretary-General has rejected the recommendation that he personally apologized.  I think we need an explanation from the Secretary-General on why he’s refusing to personally apologize, when it was unanimously recommended by the Joint Disciplinary Committee.


Deputy Spokesman:  I have nothing further on this.


Question:  I would second James.  This is a pretty major reversal, and we can’t really just leave it to an anonymous backgrounder.  It would be really good to have official reaction to the decision in the letter which says, “Nothwithstanding the above, the sanction that was imposed on you has been reconsidered in light of the circumstances in this case and the principle of proportionality.”  What is the principle of proportionality and how much was the Secretary-General involved even though this letter was signed by Burnham?  Did this require the Secretary-General’s direct approval?


Deputy Spokesman: The letter was signed, as I said, by Under-Secretary-General Burnham on behalf of the Secretary-General.


Question:  And on the first point, the lone UN official fired on “oil-for-food” and then the Secretary-General is doing a complete about-face.  Seems like there should be some official reaction to this from the UN, an explanation that’s on the record.


Deputy Spokesman:  This is what I have as of now.  As you know, this information just went public on the wires a few minutes before the briefing and I quickly tried to arrange something so that at least your questions can be immediately answered.  I can confirm that the decision that was headlined was in fact the decision that was conveyed.


Question:  From what I understand, the decision is that Stephanides still has violated the staff rules, in spite of recommendation of the Joint Disciplinary Committee that he hasn’t.  This is also a request to put that on the record to explain that.


Deputy Spokesman:  I didn’t understand what you want put on record.


Question:  I understand the decision says it still says that Stephanides has violated staff rules while the judge from the Disciplinary Committee says that he recommends to rescind that.  Basically, he says that he hasn’t violated the staff rules.


Deputy Spokesman:  The Secretary-General’s decision, which was conveyed by Chris Burnham, was made in response to the report from the JDC, and he obviously considered what the JDC proposals were, together with his own inputs.  I don’t have anything beyond that as I said.


Question:  When the Secretary-General refuses to follow the recommendations of the Joint Disciplinary Committee, unanimously, three people, one of whom is appointed by him and one who is appointed jointly by him, don’t you think it would be healthy if the Secretary-General explained why he is refusing to follow the recommendations of the UN internal disciplinary mechanism?


Deputy Spokesman:  The Secretary-General has responded to the proposals or the ruling by this Committee and the decision has been conveyed.  I don’t have anything further than that.  As for the past records earlier this week, we were asked for some background information on past cases on how the Secretary-General and the JDC have ruled on cases, and I think that’s the kind of information you’ll be getting in a few minutes time that I think may be helpful in answering your questions.


Question:  As far as the transfer of documents from the Volcker Committee to the United Nations, there appears to be (inaudible) Transparency International, I think heard about it, that some of the documents may be either returned back to the United States, or whoever provided them.  They want all the documents without exception to be transferred to the United Nations.  Has any decision been made on that at all?


Deputy Spokesman:  No, a decision has not been made.  I’ve been mentioning to you that these discussions are currently ongoing between our legal department, between the Volcker Commission and the Iraqi authorities on the future of the documentation.  I answered a question yesterday in which I said we would want to try to get as much access.  The access issue is very important to us, but these are discussions that are ongoing.  Just to update you on those discussions, we’re moving to try to extend the life of the Commission beyond the end of this month, at least to the end of the year.


Question:  On Syria, is the Secretary-General in talks with the Syrian authorities at the moment?


Deputy Spokesman:  I don’t have anything on that. I think his comments to you have indicated that he has been in touch.  But if you’re asking for today’s information, I’ll follow-up.  [She later said the Secretary-General has been supporting Detlev Mehlis’ efforts on that matter.  She announced that the Secretary-General spoke with President Assad of Syria yesterday.]


Question:  What are the talks that the Secretary-General’s been having with the Syrian authorities, especially in regard to locations for interviews and so forth?


Deputy Spokesman: I have not had a record on his call log, but let me double check that for you.


Question:  When was the decision taken to extend the mandate for the Volcker Commission?


Deputy Spokesman:  I said that we’re looking into extending till the end of the year.


Question:  How much would that cost and who would pay?


Deputy Spokesman: Those are discussions that are still ongoing.  I just wanted to let you know because there’s been a lot of interest in the future work of the Commission and where this documentation question is going.  I just wanted to give you a heads-up, that this is something that is being considered.  I don’t have any further information on that, so if you ask me any more questions, I don’t have any answers.


Question:  On the rationale for extending it, if you could just, from the UN’s perspective, say what it would be.  And also, it seems to me that when the Volcker report was released, they did say that the decision on the documents would be essentially up to the United Nations.  So, you say you’re in talks with the Volcker Committee on what to do with the documents, but to the extent that that is a UN decision, you could give us maybe some more of your thinking on what the UN would like to do and how you’re evaluating them?


Deputy Spokesman:  Well this is precisely what we’ve been saying, that we’re in discussion with the Volcker Commission.  It’s obviously not a decision that the UN can take on its own.


Question:  If the Volcker Commission is extended, would it therefore undertake further investigation of some of the questions it omitted from its report?


Deputy Spokesman:  No, it will not.  It will simply be just the follow-up.


Question:  Is the Secretary-General concerned that this conference in Tunisia is going to end up being really harmful to the image of the United Nations, as we have a sector of this conference working more towards narrowing the rights of the newspaper version and the Internet than it is to expanding freedom of the press?


Deputy Spokesman: I would like to refer you to the quote from his statement, which I intentionally flagged today because I think it answers your questions from yesterday, as well as today.  So I would like to refer you to that.


Question:  The conference itself, it seems to, there’s another e-mail today that says they want to stop cartoons in Danish newspapers and stuff like that.  Is that the object of the UN?  To narrow the freedoms of the press?


Deputy Spokesman:  Let me repeat what the Secretary-General is telling the Summit’s opening, just to reinforce that he is for the opening of the information society.  “The information society’s very lifeblood is freedom”, he says.  “Without openness, the information revolution will stall and the information society we hope to build will be stillborn.”  I think that’s a pretty clear statement on how he feels.


Question:  But when we get to the nuts and bolts, there’s things like how much, beyond the big words of freedom and so on and so forth, how much access do people have to the Internet.  In Tunisia, they don’t have any.  And how much control do States and bodies like this conference will exert over the press?


Deputy Spokesman:  Those are precisely the questions that need to be addressed by the Member States who are there.  And the Secretary-General, yes, he uses big words, but that’s what he has; he has words.  And that’s what he uses to move the process forward.


Question:  This is a freedom of media question.  The Kazakhstan Government is making an international fuss about Ali G., a kind of British comedian and his right to portray a Kazakh journalist who has lots of strange behaviours.  Does the Secretary-General have any view as to support the Kazakhs upset at the portrayal of this comedian or should comedians have the right to, you know...?


Deputy Spokesman: I’m not familiar with that case, but I can look into that for you.


Question:  Just on the Stephanides thing, when was the decision made, the Secretary-General’s decision to reinstate him?


Deputy Spokesman: The decision was made -- I can’t really get into that.  I don’t really know the precise hour if that’s what you’re asking.  The decision was, as you know, the Secretary-General is in Tunis and he’s been travelling.


Question:  The decision was made today?


Deputy Spokesman: The letter is dated the 14th.


Question:  So it came last night?


Deputy Spokesman:  All I can tell you is a factual thing right now because I just came from upstairs when all this stuff was made public.


Question:  When was it relayed to Stephanides?


Deputy Spokesman: Shortly before the noon briefing I believe.


Question:  So you missed the deadline ... (inaudible)?


Deputy Spokesman:  I think on the deadline question, that’s one of the procedural questions I would like you to address to the officials who are more familiar with the process, because I think they can tell you precisely when the Committee’s decision was expected and procedural matters like that.


Question:  On the question of when the documents were transmitted, he says they were transmitted this morning after the deadline.  The question is, would it be a violation of staff rules for the UN Secretariat not to meet the deadlines set by the Joint Disciplinary Committee to convey the judgement to Mr. Stephanides?  Second question is, Stephanides says that he’s planning to appeal to clear his name, since the UN has not cleared his name.  Had the Secretary-General any reaction to the fact that Mr. Stephanides will now take the case on to the Administrative Tribunal?


Deputy Spokesman: I don’t think the Secretary-General is aware of what’s transpired in the last few minutes, but let me look into that.


Question:  The first question, about whether it would be a violation of staff rules…


Deputy Spokesman:  If you address that to my colleagues in a few minutes, I think they will have an answer on that.


Question:  On another subject, in his speech, in his statement to the Conference in Vienna yesterday, the Secretary-General said that the Alliance of Civilizations builds upon the Dialogue among Civilizations, an earlier initiative.  Is the initiative Dialogue among Civilizations, dead, eliminated?  If not, who heads it?


Deputy Spokesman:  Let me look into that for you.  I think yesterday we had an announcement for the Alliance of Civilizations, but let me get the facts straight and get back to you.


Question:  The former head of the Dialogue among Civilizations, Giandomenico Picco, is he still employed by the United Nations?


Deputy Spokesman:  Let me look into that for you.


Question:  I have a follow-up on the follow-up, which is, Stéphane announced that Mr. Picco had a contract that would make him available until the end of 2006, but he wasn’t currently being employed.  But it’s since transpired that a company of which Mr. Picco is apparently the Chairman of, IHC Services, has been suspended for doing business with the UN.  The question is whether Mr. Picco, in his personal capacity, is also suspended from any employment relationship with the UN?


Deputy Spokesman:  I have nothing on Mr. Picco right now.


Question:  I am asking you to check.


Deputy Spokesman:  I’ll check into his employment status.


Question:  Is there any development as far as we were told that the UN is rethinking the whole idea of one dollar a year and the conditions that have to do with that?  Is there any development on that?


Deputy Spokesman:  Let me see if there’s anything on that for you.  [She later said that the UN has assessed its current practices, and a proposal is currently being drafted on that, for the Secretary-General’s consideration.]


Question:  Is Mr. Riza on one dollar a year, or is he on a full contract?


Deputy Spokesman:  Let me get the details on that, I don’t have that immediately with me.


Question:  I’ve got a question from yesterday about Abdoulie Janneh and his promotion in 12 days after he was revealed in the Volcker report as having sought and obtained a tax exemption at the behest of the Secretary-General’s son.  We’d asked whether there was any kind of open procedure, as there had been promised in the reform announcements for his promotion.  I don’t remember and you didn’t remember yesterday that the job opening was announced, the candidates were invited, that there was a short list and a review panel and all that.  And so you were going to check.  What happened in that case?


Deputy Spokesman:  I’m sorry, I was going to mention that, but I got caught up.


Question:  I noticed that the press briefing didn’t name Mr. Janneh even though we spoke maybe 20 minutes.  It seems to be an oversight in the highlights of the press briefing.  I don’t know whether that was a Stalinist attempt to suppress the views, but it seems to me it ought to be recorded accurately into today’s minutes.


Deputy Spokesman:  The transcript of the daily press briefing is posted everyday as the transcript (interrupted).  James, some of your questions require answers.  You have to listen to the answers.  The transcript of the briefing is exactly what it is.  We have a transcript everyday and it is put together by the verbatim transcript people and which is, as you say, maybe available the next day, but the point is, it is a record of every word that is said.  The highlights of the noon briefing is a very informal product that is done basically at the request of journalists so that you have the notes we are reading at the noon briefing at your fingertips shortly after the noon briefing.  It is by no means an accurate recording of the briefing and the Q&A.


Question:  Why was it slightly more accurate than it was yesterday then?


Deputy Spokesman:  As I said, it’s not an official product.  I think it did mention the answer that was given in that case.  As for you question about the ECA appointments, I do have a fact sheet upstairs.  The bottom line on the Secretary-General’s selection process is that on senior appointments that need approval of the General Assembly, appointments such as the UN agencies, they were made public.  On Secretariat appointments, they have not been made public.  So it was not an exclusive case here.  But in terms of the ECA appointment, this is what the procedure was.  It was a regular procedure.  A long list of the candidates was compiled based of the recommendations received.  A short list consisting of four candidates was drawn up on the 21st of June.  An interview panel consisting of Under-Secretaries-General of the senior appointments group was set up to interview the short list of candidates.  The interviews took place in July.  The job profile used is contained in the Secretary General’s bulletin on the organization of the ECA.  Anyway, it goes on to explain the process.


Question:  So just to summarize because I’m just left a little bit unclear.  What is it precisely that the UN maintains that Stephanides is still guilty of?


Deputy Spokesman:  I have nothing beyond what I’ve said on this matter.


Question: But in terms of what you said, because I’m just a bit confused, what is it that the UN maintains that Stephanides did wrong?  What was his violation?


Deputy Spokesman:  It was based on the Volcker report.  I’m trying to remember the exact page number, but I think it was page 541 in the October 27th report.


Question: On Mr. Janneh, is there any disciplinary action contemplated against him for seeking a tax exemption on behalf of somebody who is not a UN official?


Deputy Spokesman:  No.


Question:  Can you explain why that is?


Deputy Spokesman:  I explained yesterday the process that Mr. Janneh had gone through when he was appointed, and it was based on his exemplary record at UNDP and I have nothing further than that.


Question:  It wasn’t about the promotion actually.  The question was about whether any disciplinary action was contemplated and whether OIOS is aware of the situation of him obtaining a tax exemption on behalf of the UN at the behest of somebody who wasn’t working at the UN.


Deputy Spokesman:  I have nothing further on Mr. Janneh today.


Question: Did you say Mr. Riza was a rehire?


Deputy Spokesman:  Yesterday we announced that the Secretary-General had appointed a Director and a Deputy Director for the Alliance of Civilizations Office and in that, we mentioned to you that his personal representative, Mr. Riza, who is currently serving as a Special Adviser on the Alliance of Civilizations, will be representing him at an event in Spain on the 27th of November.  Mr. Riza’s status as a Special Adviser on the Alliance is not a new one.


Question:  On the Mercedes, do we have any update on the whereabouts of the Mercedes and can you assure us that Mr. Janneh imported only one car on behalf of Kojo Annan with a tax exemption?  Or were there other cars that he also imported for Mr. Kojo Annan, and other people that didn’t work for the UN, into Ghana?


Deputy Spokesman:  We have nothing further on that case.


Question:  Are you going to look for the whereabouts of the Mercedes?  Because this is a question that we ask everyday and it’s on the verge of comical, but we don’t get answers.


Deputy Spokesman:  We have no further comment on the issue of the car and we don’t consider it a UN matter.


Question:  So the Secretary-General of the UN owns a car and it was purchased with a tax discount given to the UN.  How could that not be a UN issue?


Deputy Spokesman:  This is the statement that I have on this issue.


Question: Could you ask for clarification on that statement?  And whether the Secretary-General still owns that car, a question we’ve been asking for a long time.  And what’s happened to the tax discount?  Has the UN or anybody else refunded the $14,000 tax discount?


Deputy Spokesman:  I have nothing further.


Question:  It was reported that the Secretary-General will go to travel to Asia next month, to China, South Korea and Japan.  Can you confirm the report?  And if he goes there, what’s his purpose?  We’ve heard him talk about the Security Council before with the Chinese and with the Japanese and South Koreans.


Deputy Spokesman:  We have nothing to announce in terms of his travel plans for December.  As usual, we will let the correspondents know from seven to 10 days before he plans, for your planning purposes, on any agenda that we have in advance.  But no, I have nothing to confirm on that.


Question:  Can you find out for us what the staff rules are for senior UN staff members to serve on the board of outside profit-making companies?


Deputy Spokesman:  Ok.  [She later told reporters the UN’s new disclosure policy requires senior staff to explicitly state any board membership which could be a potential conflict to a UN engagement.  Once established, the ethics office will develop more explicit guidance on when resignation from boards is advised prior to taking up UN duties.]


Question:  Do you have any comments on the Karachi bombing from the Secretary General?


Deputy Spokesman:  No I don’t, but let me look into that for you.


**Secretary-General – Rafah Border Crossing


Before we begin our background briefing I just was given one statement and it’s attributable to the Spokesman on the opening of the Rafah border crossing.


“The Secretary-General welcomes today's agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza-Egypt border crossing.  He sees this development as a positive step towards building confidence between the two parties.


“The Secretary-General believes that the opening of the Rafah crossing will contribute to improving the Palestinians' freedom of movement and economic activity.


“The Secretary-General expresses his appreciation to the Quartet's Middle East Envoy James Wolfensohn and to the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, for their efforts in brokering the deal, and he thanks the European Union for its proposed technical assistance in its implementation.”


Spokesperson for General Assembly President


At yesterday’s plenary meeting of the Assembly, three resolutions were adopted on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance:  on the Indian Ocean tsunami, the South Asian earthquake, and the Chernobyl disaster.  Additional resolutions on this subject, including the question of improving the current Central Emergency Revolving Fund, are still in consultations, and are expected to be acted on in plenary sometime in December.  


On implementation of the World Summit outcome, Assembly President Jan Eliasson has sent a follow-up letter to all Member States announcing that the co-chairs for the consultations on development and ECOSOC reform, will be Ambassador Cheick Sidi Diarra of Mali and Ambassador Johan C. Verbeke of Belgium.  Also, the co-chairs for the consultations on management reform will be Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan and Ambassador Allan Rock of Canada.  Initial consultations are expected to be held in the next two weeks.


The President will give a press briefing on these new steps in the Summit follow-up process, as well as a status report on the progress thus far, this Thursday at 11:00 a.m., here in Room 226.


One new development, to give you a heads-up:  as urged by world leaders in the Summit outcome document, tomorrow the Sixth Committee is expected to adopt a draft resolution agreeing on an optional protocol to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel and inviting States to become parties to it.  The optional protocol recognizes that United Nations operations to deliver humanitarian, political or development assistance in peacebuilding or emergency humanitarian assistance, which entail particular risks for UN and associated personnel, require the extension of the scope of legal protection under the Convention to such personnel.  That Sixth Committee meeting will take place at noon tomorrow.


In the Third Committee, a number of draft resolutions are being acted on this week.  The drafts on the human rights situations in particular countries are expected to be acted upon this Thursday or Friday; we are still getting details on that.


Questions and Answers


Question:  I missed the other co-chair on the management reform, Munir Akram and?


GA Spokesperson:  Allan Rock of Canada


Question:  And what are the details on the meetings? (inaudible)


GA Spokesperson:  They’ll hold initial consultations before the end of the month.


Question:  So, there hasn’t been meetings on management reform yet?


GA Spokesperson:  Not in the full group.


Question:  So what’s the full group?


GA Spokesperson:  Well, these will be informal consultations of the plenary, just [as in the case of] the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council.


Question:  So anyone in the UN can come to these meetings?  Before that they were having small group consultations?


GA Spokesperson:  Just bilateral consultations.


Question:  Has the President concluded these consultations on the matters pertaining to the procedure in the Security Council and can that draft resolution be made available to journalists?


GA Spokesperson:  The President is not working on those consultations.  There are co-sponsors for that draft resolution, which is not officially submitted yet, and you would have to ask co-sponsors what the status of that resolution is.  It’s a completely Member State-driven process.


Question: The President will not be involved?  When will he be?


GA Spokesperson: He has not been...  Things are not really at that stage yet.


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For information media • not an official record