|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
Following is a near verbatim transcript of toady’s noon briefing by Marie Okabe, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
The Security Council, as you all know, this morning discussed in its closed consultations the letters it received yesterday from the Permanent Missions of Japan and the United States, which requested a meeting following the launch of missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Council heard a briefing earlier this morning concerning the latest report by Yuli Vorontsov, the Secretary-General’s High-Level Representative dealing with the return of Kuwaiti property from Iraq.
And Ambassador de La Sablière is scheduled to brief you in this room on the Security Council’s work over the coming month, shortly after this briefing. And we will announce to you when he is headed this way.
**Secretary-General in Côte d’Ivoire
The Secretary-General today is in Yamassoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, where he is convening a mini-summit to discuss the implementation of the road map for that country. He met earlier today with South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is attending that mini-summit, and, after that, he met with Côte d’Ivoire’s President, Laurent Gbagbo.
We expect the Secretary-General to hold a press briefing within the next hour or so. And we’ll try to provide you with a transcript of that later today.
Yesterday, the Secretary-General became the first non-Liberian to address a joint session of the Liberian legislature in Monrovia. In his remarks, the Secretary-General congratulated the Liberian people on their successful implementation of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He urged the Government to consolidate its authority throughout the country, and work to meet conditions that will allow sanctions to be lifted.
Early that afternoon, the Secretary-General, accompanied by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, inaugurated the new headquarters of the UN Mission in Liberia. He told the assembled crowd that the building was a powerful symbol of Liberia’s rebirth. And we have a transcript of his press encounter in Monrovia from yesterday.
And turning to Timor-Leste, the two top UN officials in that country today met with leaders of all registered political parties there, as part of their efforts to help resolve the current crisis.
The meeting, which took place in the headquarters of the UN Office, was hosted by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Ian Martin, and attended by the UN Special Representative, Sukehiro Hasegawa, as well as the leaders of the ruling Fretilin party at the ministerial level and the heads of all the opposition parties.
On Tuesday, Martin and Hasegawa met with a large group of civic groups, non-governmental organizations, international agencies and local journalists, and both have kept in close contact with the Government leadership, taking part in almost daily meetings with top ministers.
And on the humanitarian front, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that the flash appeal for Timor-Leste has received contributions or pledges of $15.3 million, or 78 per cent, of the requested $19.6 million.
**Human Rights Council
And turning to Geneva, the Human Rights Council is holding a special session in Geneva on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, at the request of 21 Council members. The request was presented last Friday by Tunisia, which currently heads the Arab Group.
The Council is expected to take action tomorrow on a draft resolution tabled by the Arab Group and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
And finally, on Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said today that he was appalled by the explosions that took place in Kabul today and yesterday. It is an outrage that anyone should attempt to inflict new pain and loss upon the Afghan people, when their wounds are still not healed. And we have copies of his statement upstairs.
And that’s all I have for you. We will have the Security Council President for the month of July in just a few minutes.
Any questions for me?
**Questions and Answers
Question: I’ll take advantage of the fact that there are so few people here today to ask you a question. I know that you cannot answer it, but just to put a question in the hopper. I just looked up, several days ago, the Charter of the United Nations, Section 23. It says here clearly that the General Assembly shall elect 10 other members of the United Nations to be non-permanent members of the Security Council, with due regard being especially paid in the first instance to the contribution of members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security, and to the other purposes of the Organization. Now, my question is, what does the word contribution mean here? Germany and Japan have the highest contribution to the United Nations system, except the United States, when it comes to money. They are also a part of peace missions. Japan has made it a point lately to be part of many missions. Does this not throw a little bit of a shadow of illegality on this composition of the Security Council today? This is a question to which I would really like to have an answer.
Deputy Spokesman: I think you probably need to go talk to a legal expert on the interpretation of the United Nations Charter on that.
Question: All I’m trying to do now is put it in the hopper. And I’m honestly trying to take advantage of the fact that, today, I’m not interfering with other questions that other journalists would have on the immediacy of what happened yesterday.
Deputy Spokesman: OK. Thank you.
Question: It’s about the historic accord between Nigeria and Cameroon. Last week, it was announced that the follow-up committee would be meeting this week in Geneva. Do you know specifically when they’re going to meet? And two, do you have the names of the individuals who are going to be on that committee?
Deputy Spokesman: We announced the names. I believe it was last week, there was a Security Council document, in which we named the make-up of that committee. But let me go upstairs and dig that out for you. And I’ll find out if there is a meeting taking place in Geneva and the details of that.
[The Deputy Spokesman later informed the correspondent that a meeting was planned for next week.]
So, if that’s it for me, then have a good afternoon, and we’ll see you back here when the Security Council President is back.
* *** *For information media • not an official record