|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.
Today my guest is Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He is here to brief you on his Office’s World Drug Report. [Press conference by Mr. Fedotov issued separately.]
**General Assembly Debate
The Secretary-General told the General Assembly’s thematic debate on drugs and crime today that drugs and crime threatened one of our most important goals: to ensure sustainable development around the world. We have the Secretary-General’s speech in my Office and online.
The Security Council has been holding consultations this morning on the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). The Deputy Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Nasser al-Kidwa, briefed Council members by videoconference from Geneva about the recent efforts by Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan and his team. Then, this afternoon at 3, the Security Council will hold consultations on the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
Twenty-five thousand vulnerable Malians displaced by conflict in the north of the country are to receive support from the United Nations. The aid — including essential non-food relief items, transport assistance, family reunification, and medical assistance — is intended for the most vulnerable people, including women, unaccompanied children, the old and those living with disabilities.
The projects, implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in close cooperation with the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and other humanitarian partners, will mainly target conflict-affected internally displaced people from Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, will witness the signing of an agreement tomorrow in Myanmar to release children from the country’s Armed Forces. The new action plan sets out concrete and time-bound activities to ensure the separation of children from the Armed Forces and to prevent further recruitment. While in Myanmar, Ms. Coomaraswamy will meet with President Thein Sein, Government ministers, UN agencies, civil society and the diplomatic community.
Ian Martin, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, spoke at an event today celebrating women’s participation in the Libyan National Congress. He said that the new Libya provides a new opportunity for Libyan women to articulate their political, economic and social aspirations. And he commended civil society for its practical efforts to support women to register to vote, to educate women and men about voting, and to help women candidates. We have Mr. Martin’s remarks in my office.
**Press Conference Today
Today at 3 p.m., United Nations and African Union envoys, along with non-governmental organization representatives and activists from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will be here to brief you on the situation on the ground and the potential impact of a new United Nations Strategy on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Participants will include Abou Moussa, the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and Francisco Madeira, the African Union Special Envoy on the LRA.
** Afghanistan Trust Fund
I was asked yesterday about the views of the UN Mission in Afghanistan about a UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] project there. As I’ve already said, this is primarily a question for UNDP, but Special Representative Jan Kubiš is closely following developments and has already raised his points and concerns with the UNDP leadership in New York, as well as in Kabul.
I have a couple of more items, and I’m happy to take any other questions you might have. So questions, please. Yes?
**Questions and Answers
Question: Special Envoy Mr. Kofi Annan announced that they are going to build a contact group for transition, political transition in Syria, and invite Iran for this mission. What’s the United Nations’ position on this?
Spokesperson: Well, I think you’ve heard that stated on a number of occasions, including yesterday. As, I think, we’ve also said, this is a topic that’s under active discussion. It’s still under discussion. The date, the location and the participants, this is something that’s still in play. And if and when there is a concrete announcement to make, then we make it. But that’s not just yet. Okay? Yes? And then coming to you, Matthew. Yes?
Question: Did you have any further statement on Paraguay?
Spokesperson: Short answer: Not yet. But, I’m hoping that I will have something. Yes?
Question: [inaudible] about a report of the Secretary-General, or involving the Secretary-General. First is it, is this a, the report of the Secretary-General on Eritrea, that was actually, dated 8 June, that was put on the Security Council’s website. It was available there, on that, I heard, starting around 15 June, there were some concerns raised by other neighbours of Eritrea about the report. And this morning I learned and confirmed that the report’s gone from the website. Still listed there, but the link is now dead. And the document is not available. And I wondered, can you explain what happened to the report? And what’s, is it being changed? At whose behest? Why did they, why was it taken offline so unceremoniously?
Spokesperson: Thanks for the question. But Matthew, I don’t have anything on that at the moment. But I’m hoping to have something a little bit later.
Question: The other one is… I was trying to ask this yesterday. There was a case of a… that I’ve asked you about, before the beginning, 380 Madison Avenue, which resulted in an arrest of a UN official in charge of emergency preparedness. I’ve been, I’ve seen a letter that was written to the complainant. So, that was… She was told that, basically, some merit was found and some discipline was meted out. She asked for a copy of the fact-finding report… and what discipline was meted out. She has been told by the OHRM [Office of Human Resources Management] that the Organization has a policy against describing discipline on particular staff members and, under some, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon superseding a previous order. Fact-finding reports are no longer available. So, I wanted to know how is this can… in terms of zero-tolerance, it seems like under the previous executive, uh, uh, administrative instructions of the previous Secretary-General, such reports were available. Now they are not. And also, how is this not describing discipline consistent with, for example, peacekeeping missions saying that peacekeepers charged with sexual abuse have been sent home, and may or may not be disciplined. How can this be different? In New York, how can there be even less transparency than in, for example, Haiti?
Spokesperson: I think we’ve said quite clearly that there was a disciplinary proceeding and there was an outcome. But that outcome is confidential. And on the matter of arrest you referred to, I’ve also said here that this is something for the New York Police Department to comment on, not for us.
Question: How about the report’s idea under… Is it true that under the previous administrative instructions under the previous Secretary-General, fact-finding reports were available?
Spokesperson: You’ve mentioned that already. I’ve heard what you said. I’ve given you an answer. That’s what I have to say on the matter. Are there any other questions? If not, thanks very much. Have a good afternoon. Thank you very much.
* *** *