|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 Eduardo del Buey, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the briefing.
Today my guest is Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. He is here to brief you on the results of the Global Compact Annual Implementation Survey. Mr. Kell will make a short presentation, take questions and answers, and then I will continue on with the briefing, which will take only one or two questions today, because at 12:30, the President of the Security Council is giving his press conference here on the work plan for the month of June. Mr. Kell, the floor is yours.
[Press conference by Mr. Kell is issued separately.]
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We have a little bit of time before the President of the Security Council comes in to give his press conference. So I will begin.
The Secretary-General will be returning to New York from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia overnight. Earlier today, he met the Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, and visited the Islamic Development Bank. We have issued readouts on the meetings today with the King and other senior officials.
On Sunday, the Secretary-General opened an advisory board meeting of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre with the Saudi Foreign Minister. In his remarks at the meeting, the Secretary-General said that the Centre was a key tool for the international community to achieve better coordination and effective action in fighting terrorism.
Following his meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister, the Secretary-General spoke to the press yesterday. In his remarks, he once more called upon the Government of Syria to uphold its responsibilities and abide by the Annan plan. And he urged all members of the international community to use their considerable influence for a peaceful solution. We have the transcript of that press encounter on the web, as well as readouts of the Secretary-General’s other meetings in Jeddah.
**International Atomic Energy Agency
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today that the Agency will meet with Iranian officials this Friday, 8 June, in Vienna. Director General Yukiya Amano also invited Iran to sign and implement the Structure Approach document agreed between the IAEA and Iran last month as soon as possible. He said that the country is not providing the cooperation needed to enable the Agency to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is for peaceful activities.
On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Mr. Amano said that there is no immediate prospect of an Agency mission taking place there. He said that the IAEA’s knowledge of the current status of the country’s nuclear programme is limited, and reiterated his call on the DPRK to fully comply with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, to come into full compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and to cooperate promptly and fully with the Agency.
Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, condemned in the strongest terms the heinous attacks in central Baghdad today, which have reportedly resulted in dozens of deaths and injured many more. He said that “these atrocious crimes against the Iraqi people need to stop and the perpetrators should be brought to justice”. And he once more called for all Iraqis to remain steadfast in the face of violence. We have a press release with more details in our office.
The Security Council adopted its programme of work for June in consultations this morning. The President of the Security Council for June, Ambassador Li Baodong of China, will talk to you in this room at 12:30 p.m. immediately after this briefing on the Council’s work over the coming month.
And as I said at the beginning, because the Secretary-General is arriving in New York from Saudi Arabia later than previously expected, we will reschedule his press conference on Rio+20, which we said would take place tomorrow. Instead, his press conference on Rio+20 will take place in this room on Wednesday at noon. Because of that press conference, there will be no noon briefing Wednesday at noon.
Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., there will be a press conference by the non-governmental organization Women Together. This press conference is sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Spain.
And then at 1 p.m., International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will hold a press conference on Darfur.
And as I said before, following this briefing at 12:30 p.m. today, the President of the Security Council for June, Ambassador Li Baodong, will be here to brief you on the Council’s programme of work for the month.
We have time for two questions. Masood?
**Questions and Answers
Question: Well, I have a couple of questions. One question is that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Asma Jehangir, was threatened today by this Al-Qaida terrorist group, perhaps to be killed. It’s the same group which murdered… assassinated Benazir Bhutto. Does Secretary-General… I don’t know whether he already knows about it or is not aware of it, that that threat is very much there and it is all over Pakistani press for now. Does he have any reaction to this?
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, I am sorry; I didn’t quite hear the question, the mike… the loudspeaker system didn’t get it.
Question: Yeah, it’s about the threat that has been issued by a terrorist group, mostly suspected Al-Qaida terrorist group, to Asma Jehangir, Pakistan’s special… United Nations Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial killings that she will be assassinated, that they’ll kill her. Does the Secretary-General have any information about that, any reaction to that?
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, I have nothing for you on this specific case; but as you know, any threat of that nature goes against all international law and goes against all the expectations of the Secretary-General for people to carry out their work in peaceful and non-violent manners.
Question: When you do have something, will somebody get back to me on this threat?
Deputy Spokesperson: We’ll have to check and see, yes.
Deputy Spokesperson: Okay, up there? Yes? I’m sorry we are very pressed for time.
Question: Since NPT is binding, and has its own rules and regulations, why Iran is pushed… pushed to sign another agreement?
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, apparently, from what I read in the statement they had agreed to sign this agreement last month, and what the Director General of the IAEA is calling on the Iranians to do is basically to meet with their responsibility and to sign it. The Secretary-General and the international community have been calling on Iran to show that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only, and so far, as the Head of the IAEA himself has said, the Iranians have not yet satisfied the concerns of the international community. Matthew, last question?
Question: Yeah, a newspaper question. One is, the Washington Post has said that a… scientists now believe the cholera was introduced to Haiti by Nepalese troops, so I wanted to know what the UN response is. There is also an article in the Sunday Observer of Sri Lanka which says, based on an UNCA [United Nations Correspondents Association] investigation of Inner City Press, it can be barred from the UN grounds; and I wanted to know, is it true? I was just denied a request for reaccreditation upstairs. What is the relationship between this UNCA inquiry now reported in the Sri Lankan press and giving rise to many threats and the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, please?
Deputy Spokesperson: Matthew, I am not going to get into whatever problems you have with UNCA, that’s something that you have to do…
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, I am not going to comment on articles that we haven’t seen, and I am not going to comment on…
Question: Well, they have it upstairs; I will send it to you.
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, that’s fine, Matthew, we’re not going to comment.
Question: Okay. What about the Washington Post, what about Haiti… cholera in Haiti, is there any response…?
Deputy Spokesperson: As Martin has said repeatedly, that issue is under study here, the claims that have been brought up against the United Nations, and those claims are being studied. When we have something, we will get it to you.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Stay tuned for the President of the Security Council.
* *** *