|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.
Just about now, the Secretary-General is attending a reception at Buckingham Palace in London before going to the Olympic Games opening ceremony.
Earlier, the Secretary-General took part in an event with the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to highlight the Olympic Truce.
The Secretary-General also held talks with Mr. Hague and with the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg.
You will have seen the Secretary-General has spoken about his meeting in London with the Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, and that he has also made some comments about developments related to Syria. We'll bring you the transcript of his remarks as soon as we can. The Secretary-General will be returning to New York tomorrow.
** Syria Human Rights
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay on Friday expressed deep alarm at the increased threat to civilians in Syria as the conflict and violence escalates across many towns and villages, as well as the country's two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.
Ms. Pillay urged the Government and the armed opposition to protect civilians and abide by their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, or face the consequences.
The United Nations human rights chief expressed particular concern about the likelihood of an imminent major confrontation in Syria's second largest city, Aleppo.
More information is available on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ website.
**Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Myanmar
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has delivered aid to over 30,000 people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The people were displaced by recent inter-communal clashes.
An estimated 80,000 people are displaced in and around the towns of Sittwe and Maungdaw, according to United Nations and non-governmental organization assessments. Most of them are living in camps with smaller numbers staying with host families in surrounding villages. There are more details online.
**South Sudan Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
More than $20 million has been provided for life-saving aid to refugees who have recently fled to South Sudan from conflict in Sudan.
In a press release today, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, said nearly 170,000 people have fled conflict and hunger.
The money from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will support emergency projects to help an estimated 65,000 people, including 13,000 children under the age of five.
On Monday at 12:40, the Secretary-General will address the press at the second floor of the North Lawn Building. He will brief on his recent overseas trips. We will not be having a noon briefing that day.
**Questions and Answers
Question: Sure. I wanted to ask you. Sorry, maybe you addressed it. It’s obviously this very extensively reported quote by Robert Mood, saying that any Government that uses heavy weapons against its people will fall, and I just… I wanted to know… I’m sure that you’ve seen it… one, is this something… does the Secretary-General share that view? Two, what is Mr. Mood’s current status with the United Nations system? Is he paid by the United Nations? Did he stop getting paid when he left Syria? That’s a separate question.
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, on question two, I’ll have to fine out. I’m not sure, but General Mood is no longer the head of the Mission, so I believe that he’s speaking in a private capacity.
Question: No, sure, but I think the second one is, obviously, you’re not private if you are still paid by the United Nations…
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, as I said, we’ll find out.
[The Deputy Spokesperson later added that General Mood’s contract ended 25 July 2012, so he was indeed speaking in a private capacity.]
Question: Okay. And could I also… is Mr. Guéhenno going to be replaced, given that it was said that he would step down from this deputy position of… Deputy of Joint Special Envoy… is that going to be filled or not filled?
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, we’ll have to see, Matthew. I don’t have any information on that right now, that Mr. Guéhenno… I don’t know exactly when he’s leaving, but we will take a decision when the time comes.
Question: I have a… I don’t want to…
Deputy Spokesperson: No, no.
Question: Okay. Sure. These are kind of… since… I guess it’s a Friday, these are kind of, like, management questions, but a lot of people I have spoken to are wondering why the replacement for Mr. Shaaban Shaaban, the top of… the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management was an acting appointment, even though it was said for six months that Shaaban Shaaban was leaving. Is that… is that… what’s the process to actually finally fill that post? And why wasn’t it done in the six months that it was known that it would be vacant?
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, again, I will have to find out. I don’t have that information with me.
Question: Do you have an update on M23 in the Congo? Is that something that you might have?
Deputy Spokesperson: No, we gave the latest update we had yesterday.
Question: Okay. And nothing in the last 24 hours?
Deputy Spokesperson: The last 24 hours, we’ve had nothing to the best of my knowledge, no. Okay. Sir?
Question: Do you know many people were killed in Myanmar? Any estimate?
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Myanmar issued a statement yesterday. And we have… issued… we have sent it to the media. That’s where we are at right now. As I said, the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council will be visiting Myanmar from the 30th of July to the 4th of August. He will have a press conference on the 4th of August to state his findings and we’re going to wait until then to find out. Okay, thank you very much. Have a good weekend and a very happy Olympiad.
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