|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. Welcome to the briefing.
First of all, I’d like to welcome to the briefing a group of German journalists who are here today.
Secondly, we issued a statement yesterday on reported clashes in the Golan. And in that statement, we said that the Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the potential for escalation. And he calls for the utmost restraint and urges Syria and Israel to uphold the Disengagement Agreement, respect their mutual obligations, and halt firing of any kind across the ceasefire line. And that statement is available online.
The African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur, UNAMID, is gravely concerned by the escalating violence in North Darfur. The mission says that fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and an armed group on Friday near Shangil Tobaya, in North Darfur, is part of a larger pattern of conflict in the area in recent months. The mission urges all side to cease hostilities immediately, respect international human rights and humanitarian law, and engage fully in the peaceful settlement of the Darfur conflict.
The Security Council will hold an open meeting at 3 p.m. this afternoon, to receive a briefing from the Council mission that visited Timor-Leste earlier this month.
After that, the Council will hold consultations to receive further information on Timor-Leste by the head of the United Nations Integrated Mission there (UNMIT), Finn Reske-Nielsen. In his latest report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General said that the UN Mission will proceed with its phased drawdown until the completion of its mandate on 31 December.
** Western Sahara
And we have a statement from the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, following his meeting today in Madrid with the Foreign Minister of Spain.
In the statement, the Personal Envoy said that the conflict over the final status of Western Sahara has gone for far too long. He said that it would be a serious miscalculation to believe that the status quo can last, since it is now threatened by the rise of extremist, terrorist, and criminal elements in the Sahel region.
Mr. Ross said the conflict can be resolved if there is a will to engage in real dialogue and compromise to find a solution that is honourable for all. He urged the parties to move swiftly into serious negotiations and he asked key members of the international community to use their influence to encourage the parties to do so.
After Madrid, Mr. Ross plans to visit the capitals of the other members of the Group of Friends, as well as others, for consultations in the near future. He will fly to Paris tomorrow and will visit Washington, London and Moscow soon.
We have the full statement available in my office.
In Geneva today, the UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Catherine Bragg, launched an emergency revision of the Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal for Haiti in response to the devastation caused by Storm Sandy.
An additional $39 million is required to address rising food insecurity and provide shelter, health services and clean drinking water for more than a million people. The revision brings the overall appeal for Haiti to $151 million this year. Ms. Bragg said that we need to continue to support Haiti through these disasters, which can easily set back development efforts.
**Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
For the second year in a row, there has been an increase in staple food production in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, according to an assessment by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The two agencies said, however, that this should not mask the struggle with undernutrition and a lack of vital protein and fat in the diet, especially for an estimated 2.8 million vulnerable people.
** Sri Lanka
And finally, the Secretary-General will receive the report of his Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka later this week. When he has received it and read it, it will be made public.
Okay, questions, please? Any questions? Okay, that’s it. Thank you very much. Have a good afternoon.
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