|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. Welcome to the briefing.
I have a statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Syria-Turkey tensions.
The Secretary-General is alarmed by escalating tensions along the Syrian-Turkish border.
The Secretary-General has repeatedly made clear his concern about the spillover of the Syrian crisis into neighbouring countries, as occurred yesterday with Turkey.
As the situation inside Syria deteriorates yet further — including the atrocious terrorist bombings in Aleppo this week which killed dozens of people, including civilians — the risks of regional conflict and the threat to international peace and security are also increasing.
The Joint Special Representative for Syria of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, has been in communication with officials from Turkey and Syria in order to encourage an easing of tensions.
The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to abandon the use of violence, exercise maximum restraint and exert all efforts to move towards a political solution.
This morning, the Security Council met in closed consultations to discuss the situation in Sudan and South Sudan. And this afternoon, the Council will meet in closed consultations to discuss the situation in Mali.
A little earlier, we issued a statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Mozambique.
The Secretary-General warmly congratulates the Government and people of Mozambique as they mark 20 years of peace today. He reiterates the United Nations' commitment to continue working with Mozambique as it consolidates democracy and strives to achieve social inclusion, women's empowerment and sustainable development. He recalls the role played by the now-concluded United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ), which helped to implement the 1992 General Peace Agreement and lay the foundation for a durable peace.
The Secretary-General will depart New York this weekend for Strasbourg, in France. On Monday, 8 October, he will attend the opening session of the World Forum for Democracy, hosted by the Council of Europe. And then he will go to Paris, where he will meet with President François Hollande, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. The Secretary-General will return to New York on Tuesday, 9 October.
That’s what I have. Questions, please? Yes, please?
**Questions and Answers
Question: Martin, there are reports that there was a Syrian apology to the Turkey attack through a mediation through the UN, could you give us clarification, please?
Spokesperson: Well, simply, I would repeat what I just said in the statement, that Lakhdar Brahimi has been in communication with officials from Turkey and Syria in order to encourage an easing of tensions.
Question: Was there an apology?
Spokesperson: As I say, he has been in communication with officials from Turkey and Syria. And also, I would refer you to what the Syrian authorities may have to say on the matter. After all, they would be able to speak for themselves. Other questions, please? Matthew?
Question: Sure, I want to put the… a couple of things, one is the… the Amnesty International has come out with this report about South Sudan’s army’s actions in Jonglei State, alleging widespread human rights abuses and torture, and saying specifically that people should be held account… you know, that there should be an accountability mechanism, and saying that the U… you know, calling on the UN, I guess, to do more, and I wanted to know, what… did the UNMISS that is there… I understand that they called for, you know, calm and other things, but what steps are they taking as a peacekeeping mission to ensure that there is actually accountability for what is taking place, and what is the percentage of Jonglei State that they can actually cover in terms of protecting civilians?
Spokesperson: Well, let me just say that the Mission has noted the concerns and recommendations documented by Amnesty International in the report that you just referred to. On various occasions, the Mission has expressed concerns over the recent increase in serious human rights violations allegedly committed by some undisciplined elements within the South Sudanese army (SPLA) in Pibor County, and has called on all South Sudanese institutions and actors engaged in stabilizing Jonglei State to take immediate action to safeguard recent gains in the peace process, stem human rights violations in Pibor County and hold perpetrators to account — which gets to the point you were raising, perhaps in a little long-winded way, but there you are.
UNMISS, the Mission in South Soudan is committed to working with all partners, Government and international, to support the implementation of the resolutions agreed during the May 2012 All Jonglei Peace Conference in order to bring stability and lasting peace to Jonglei and South Sudan. So other questions, please? Yes, please?
Question: Although there were photos taken with the UN Secretary-General and both the President… the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo on 23 September during this year’s session of the GA, did the Secretary-General have any formal meetings with the Kosovo authorities, considering that over 90 UN Member States have recognized the independence of Kosovo?
Spokesperson: The Secretary-General had a meeting with a representative of the Kosovo authorities, and we issued a readout on it, and I would refer you to that. Thank you.
Question: I want to ask you something about Cambodia. [inaudible], the President [sic] there, has… has in the very recent comments harshly criticized the… the… the… this Surya Subedi, who is doing a human rights visit there, but also went back and criticized this human rights office in the country, saying that they are merely long-term tourists and he can refuse to work with them at any time. If you don’t work appropriately, I will not meet with you, he said. And I know that the Secretary-General has previously had some back-and-forth with Cambodia about this human rights office, and that the replacement of the chief of it, but where is that… is there any response from this… from the… from… from the UN to this seeming re… either reigniting or re-dismissal of the human rights component?
Spokesperson: Well, we are obviously aware of the same report that you have just read out, and if I have anything further on that, I will let you know. But suffice it to say, the Secretary-General has full confidence in the work of our colleagues who are dealing with human rights in Cambodia.
Okay, thanks very much. Have a good afternoon.
* *** *For information media • not an official record