13 October 2010
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

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

Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


Good afternoon everybody.


**Guests


Apologies for being a little late.  I am expecting my guests at the briefing shortly.  As I mentioned yesterday, we will have Under-Secretary-General Cheick Sidi Diarra with us.  He is the Special Adviser on Africa and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.  And he will be joined by Alpha Oumar Konaré, the former President of Mali, and James Wolfensohn, the former President of the World Bank.


**Security Council


The Secretary-General addressed a Security Council meeting on peacebuilding, this morning, and he told the Council that it is essential for us to develop the peacebuilding architecture and promote greater coherence within the United Nations system. 


He said that success at peacebuilding requires patient, long-term commitments and the involvement of a wide range of actors, working together.  The Secretary-General added that we are making progress — in Burundi, Haiti, Nepal, Sierra Leone and elsewhere.  But he reminded Council members that for people who have suffered through conflict, progress can’t come fast enough.


He emphasized four areas for improvement:  to get the right people in the right place at the right time; to have predictable financing; to forge more effective partnerships; and to put women at the heart of peacebuilding.  And we have his remarks available.


And also today, the Security Council voted unanimously to extend by a year its authorization for the work of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.


** Sudan Referenda Panel


The Secretary-General’s Panel on the Referenda in Sudan met with Salva Kiir, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan and the First Vice-President of Sudan, as they continued their first visit to the country.


The panel had a 90-minute discussion with Mr. Kiir in Juba, looking at matters ranging from how to make the referenda process as free and fair as possible to security arrangements during the campaign.  They also discussed how to deal with the key post-referenda challenges.


The panel’s chair, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, later told reporters that he believes a credible result can still be achieved by the scheduled vote date of 9 January next year.


** Darfur


The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has a newly arrived Acting Deputy Joint Special Representative, Margaret Carey.  And yesterday she met with leaders from the Kalma internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Nyala, South Darfur.


The leaders laid out their most pressing needs in terms of security, food, health care and education.  The Acting Deputy Joint Special Representative expressed the Mission’s keenness to help peacefully resolve any outstanding matters.


Ms. Carey also met with the State’s Deputy Wali, or Governor, to discuss ways in which their mutual support can help enhance security and achieve stability in the region.


**Deputy Secretary-General


The Deputy Secretary-General [Asha-Rose Migiro] will depart New York today for Nairobi.  At the invitation of the Chairperson of the African Union, Ms. Migiro will give a keynote address at the African Union’s launch of the “African Women’s Decade” on Friday, along with the President of Kenya and other African Union Heads of State and Ministers.


The African Women’s Decade is intended to reinvigorate efforts to accelerate implementation of agreed global and regional commitments.  And those efforts should include grassroots participation.


The Deputy Secretary-General will also hold bilateral meetings with officials from the African Union and the Kenyan Government, as well as with senior UN officials based in Nairobi.  She will return to New York on 17 October.


**Secretary-General’s Appointment


The Secretary-General has appointed Major General Muhammad Khalid of Pakistan as the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).  Major General Khalid will replace Lieutenant General Sikander Afzal, also of Pakistan, whose tour of duty ends on 28 November this year.  We have more information on Major General Khalid available in my Office.


**Guest Tomorrow


Tomorrow at the Noon Briefing, my guest will be Angela Kane, the Under-Secretary-General for Management.


And then also tomorrow, Margot Wallström, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, will speak at the Security Council stakeout following the Security Council meeting in the morning.


So, as we await our guests, I am happy to take some questions.  Mr. Abbadi and then Erol.


**Questions and Answers


Question:  Thank you, Martin.  Regarding the referendum on Sudan on 9 January, there are some who think that it may lead to possible violence in the event that the outcome of the referendum would lead to the division of the country.  What preventive measures is the Secretary-General envisaging to prevent such outbreak of violence?


Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, there is the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  Parties to that Agreement and a number of other world leaders met here in New York on the margins of the General Assembly, as you know at the end of last month, and the communiqué that came out of that mini-summit was really quite clear in ensuring that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is adhered to, and that means that the outcome needs to be respected.  We obviously have UN personnel on the ground who are monitoring in the run-up to the referenda, and also helping to ensure that things run smoothly along with the authorities there.  I wouldn’t want to prejudge an outcome, but it’s clear that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is about ensuring peace.  Erol.


Question:  Thank you, Martin.  Regarding yesterday’s selection of the new Security Council members, I wonder beside the initial reaction of the Secretary-General to that election, would he and how he would see this as probably serving more to the idea having, first of all Germany and India in the Security Council now, having also Brazil and this year Japan who is leaving obviously, serving more the idea of the reforming Security Council in the sense of the original proposal of the G-4 initiative and group.


Spokesperson:  Well, there are two things here.  The Secretary-General looks forward to working with the newly-elected Members when they join the Security Council.  That’s the first thing.  The second thing is, of course, that Security Council reform is a matter for the Member States.  The form that it takes, the participation, how a reformed Security Council would look, that much is clear.  It’s for Member States to decide.  The Secretary-General has made clear that he agrees that there does need to be Security Council reform; that the world has moved on.  But it’s for Member States to decide what form that takes and which countries are in the Security Council, and so on.  So, a two-part answer.  I see that our… Yes.


Question:  If I may just follow up on that.


Spokesperson:  Yes.


Question:  Since yesterday he discussed that issue with the ambassadors of the Member States, for example, the Ambassador of India, and they are now very much with the hope that their proposal, their vision of the new Security Council will take an impetus with this.  So, I am just asking whether the Secretary-General, without pointing that what countries are, is sharing that view of the impetus; your impetus of the, with this election.


Spokesperson:  The Secretary-General has repeatedly said that he is encouraged that now there is more active discussion; and not just discussion, but work on moving towards a reform of the Security Council to meet the needs of the world today and to meet the needs of the Member States as they decide.  But it’s not for him to comment on the outcome.  But certainly, he is encouraged that there is great momentum in the discussion.  I see that our guests have arrived.  And so, I am going to move chairs and invite, if I may, Under-Secretary-General Cheick Sidi Diarra to join me along with Alpha Oumar Konaré, the former President of Mali; and James Wolfensohn, the former President of the World Bank, if I may.  Thank you very much.


[Press Conference by Under-Secretary-General Diarra, former Malian President Konaré, and former World Bank President Wolfensohn issued separately.]


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For information media • not an official record