23 November 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 Farhan Haq, Acting Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


Good afternoon.


**Guest Today


Are we set?  Hello, can you hear us, Mr. Mulet, Mr. Fisher?


Edmond Mulet, Special Representative for the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti:  Yes, Farhan.


Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  Okay, great.  So, some reporters are just filing in; there was a previous briefing that is exiting right now.  But I think we are ready to start.  If you can, please take your seats promptly, ladies and gentlemen.


We’re very pleased to have with us today, joining by video teleconference, Edmond Mulet, the Special Representative for the Secretary-General, and Nigel Fisher, the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).  Gentlemen, you can feel free to begin whenever you are ready.


[Press conference by Mr. Mulet and Mr. Fisher issued separately.]


**Press Conference Today


Thanks very much, Mr. Mulet.  Thank you, all.  And that wraps it up for now.  We’re about to have a briefing in just the next few minutes with Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director for UN Women, concerning the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  They are about to come in right now.


**Statement on Korean Peninsula


I’d like to also refer your attention over to the statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the Korean Peninsula that we put out earlier this morning.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13271)


**Secretary-General’s Astana Trip


We’ll also put out an announcement letting you know that this weekend the Secretary-General will travel to Kazakhstan to address the opening of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Astana.


And that’s it from me.


**Questions and Answers


Question:  Is there any reaction to what happened, the fighting between North and South Korea?


Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  Yes, yes, we put out a statement on this.  I can read out the statement for you just briefly, but Ms. Bachelet has been waiting and she is about to come in.


I’ll just let you know, what we said is:  The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula caused by today’s artillery attack by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the Yeonpyeong Island.  The attack was one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War.


The Secretary-General condemns the attack and calls for immediate restraint.  The Secretary-General regrets the loss of life and expresses sympathy to the victims and their families.


The Secretary-General insists that any differences should be resolved by peaceful means and dialogue.


The Secretary-General has conveyed his utmost concern to the President of the Security Council.


That’s available in our Office.


Question:  What about the news that the settlers have evicted the Palestinian families, to…?


Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  Mr. [B. Lynn] Pascoe just briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, and I’d refer you to his briefing.  Last question and we’re about to go to Ms. Bachelet.


Question:  Sure.  I wanted to know if the UN can confirm that JEM [Justice and Equality Movement] rebels in Darfur are saying that there has been a week of bombing campaigns by the Government in North Darfur, and I am just… There have been a number of questions that have built up for UNAMID [African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur] to either confirm or deny, and Mr. Ban’s speech said that somehow Darfur is now so peaceful.  Is UNAMID actually tracking… does it have any capacity or will to report on bombing by the Government in Darfur?


Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  UNAMID has not confirmed this attack.  Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari has actually been visiting North Darfur, and we have some information available on that, but there is no confirmation of these particular reported attacks. 


And with that, I have to clear the room for our next guest.  Thanks very much.


[Press conference by Ms. Bachelet issued separately.]


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For information media • not an official record