Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

13 September 2013

Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

13 September 2013
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
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 Farhan Haq, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

**Noon Guest Today

Today I am joined by Ion Botnaru, the Director of the General Assembly and ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council] Affairs Division of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management.  Mr. Botnaru is here to brief you on the upcoming General Assembly session.

Mr. Botnaru, welcome.  Please feel free to begin.

[Press conference by Mr. Botnaru issued separately].

So, I have a few other notes, and then we can take some questions.

** Syria

First of all, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, met in Geneva today jointly with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.  Speaking to reporters afterward, he said the discussions today were useful and emphasized the importance of working to bring about the Geneva II conference successfully. 

In a statement we issued yesterday, the Secretary-General said that he had received a letter from the Government of Syria, informing him that President Bashar al-Assad has signed the legislative decree providing for the accession of Syria to the Chemical Weapons Convention.  In their letter, the Syrian authorities have expressed their commitment to observe the obligations entailed by the Convention even before its entry into force for Syria.

The Secretary-General welcomes this development, noting that, as depository of the Convention, he has long called for universal accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Given recent events, he hopes that the current talks in Geneva will lead to speedy agreement on a way forward, which will be endorsed and assisted by the international community.

**Syria — Humanitarian

Just recently, we have put out a press release from the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos.

It says that towns and cities are increasingly under siege, as the Syria crisis worsens and fighting intensifies.  People are unable to leave sealed-off Government or opposition-held areas, sometimes for months on end, and have run short of water, food, power and medicines.

Valerie Amos is extremely worried by reports that more than half a million people remain trapped in rural Damascus.

Under-Secretary-General Amos reminded the Government and other parties to this conflict, once again, that they have an obligation under international human rights and international humanitarian law to protect civilians and allow neutral, impartial humanitarian organizations safe access to all people in need.

That press release is available in our Office.

**Syrian Refugees

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is seeing a sharp increase in Syrians arriving by boat in southern Italy.  Over the past 40 days, 3,300 Syrians, of whom more than 230 were unaccompanied children, have come ashore, mainly in Sicily.  Some 670 of these arrivals were during the past week.

Most of the arrivals have been families with children.  Several people have needed hospital treatment for dehydration, and there have been instances of people having to be airlifted directly from the boat they were travelling on.

The Refugee Agency estimates that more than 4,600 Syrians have arrived in Italy by sea since the beginning of 2013.  A full two- thirds of these arrivals have been in August.

**Secretary-General’s Remarks

The Secretary-General spoke this morning to the Women’s International Forum, saying that it is time for the parties in Syria to stop fighting and start talking.

In his remarks, he also said that he continues to press for a political solution there.

The Secretary-General also spoke about sustainable development, saying that the international community must accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals as the 2015 deadline draws near.

And the full remarks are available in our Office.

**Child Mortality

The number of child deaths worldwide is down by half since 1990, according to a new report released today by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.

The report says last year that approximately 6.6 million children, or 18,000 children per day, died before reaching their fifth birthday.  This is roughly half the number of under-fives who died in 1990, when more than 12 million children died.

Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF, has welcomed this trend, saying that millions of lives have been saved.  He has called for a greater sense of urgency, as most of these deaths can be prevented by using simple steps that many countries have already put in place.

The report says that about half of under-five deaths occur in only five countries:  China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

The press release with more details is available online and in our Office.

**General Assembly Press Kit

We have available from the Department of Public Information a press kit for the forthcoming General Assembly, which is now available online in all languages.  Some copies of it are available on the table near the door at the back.

The press kit contains a range of materials, including the General Assembly’s provisional agenda and a biography and photo of the President-elect.

This year, for the first time, the Department has produced a paperless press kit as part of its efforts to be environmentally friendly, and as endorsed by the President-elect of the General Assembly

A PaperSmart version of the kit can be viewed and downloaded on mobile devices.

The URL is also printed in cards, which are available in our Office.

**Stakeout Monday

On Monday, the Security Council will be briefed on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and Libya sanctions, followed by consultations.

Following the Council’s briefing, Tarek Mitri, the Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, is expected to address press at the Security Council Stakeout.

**Secretary-General Press Conference

I have a press conference to announce.  The Secretary-General will hold a press conference in this room at noon on Tuesday, 17 September, to discuss the forthcoming sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly.

Before he talks, at 11:20 a.m., Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, the President of the new General Assembly session, will also hold a press conference in this room.

And that’s it from me.  Yes, Matthew?

**Questions and Answers

Question:  Sure, thanks a lot.  Farhan, I… I… in this Women’s International Forum event, um, it was listed in the media guide, and then it was said to be closed, and then someone told me to watch it on EZTV; so I did. And there was a Q and A in which the Secretary-General said the report will be an overwhelming report that will show that chemical weapons were used.  And he said, “I can’t say this publicly”.  And so I… I am trying to, I am sourcing it to say I wasn’t trying to overhear it, but it seemed like a very strange thing to say.  Does he yet have the report, and why would he be telling a large group of people what the report says if he doesn’t have it?

Associate Spokesperson:  No, no, he does not have the report; the report hasn’t been received yet.  We will let you know when we can once the report goes to the Secretary-General.  I believe the Secretary-General was speaking about what his ideas are, but very soon, he will hopefully have the report, and you will also be able to see the report, I think, not much longer.  We don’t have a prediction or an estimation of when that is going to happen, but once the report is ready, it is expected to go the Secretary-General, and then he will present it to Member States and we hope that we will be able to provide it to you in short order.

Correspondent:  But has he been saying these things?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, next questions, yes?

Correspondent:  Can you elaborate a little more; how is he able to make this comment if he hasn’t seen the report or got any indication of what is in it?  And also, he goes on to say that the [Bashar al]-Assad regime is guilty of crimes against humanity; is he referring to the contents of the report or his own separate conclusions from something else?

Associate Spokesperson:  At this stage, as far as we are aware, some of the samples still need to be analysed.  The report is not completed.  So it is not possible for any of us to have seen the report at this present moment.  I know that he has been in touch with different people, including the experts.  I am not privy to the information he has.  I don’t know what the source of it is; but in any case, the report itself will soon be available, in one form or another, and hopefully you will be able to see for yourself what it contains.  Yes?

Correspondent:  Is this some preliminary indication he has received?  Where is he getting this from?

Associate Spokesperson: I am, I don’t have access to all the information necessarily that he has.  But in any case, the report still remains to go to him, and once that happens, like I said, you will have some information as well.

Correspondent:  But the issue of this crimes against humanity, which he also refers to, is that relating to the report, or is that something separate he has information on?

Associate Spokesperson:  Well, the issue of crimes against humanity is a larger issue which remains to be determined.  But you have seen the sort of crimes that have been uncovered, including in the work done by the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Commission of Inquiry.  And if you look at that you will see reports of widespread massacres, and this has been a concern for some time now.  Yes, Eva?

Question:  A follow-up on the report on Syria.  You just said that the Secretary-General plans to have a press conference Tuesday; it was, it was said, not officially from the UN, but the report was going to be released on Monday to the Secretary-General.  That’s why you have the press conference on Tuesday?  Do you expect on Monday to have the report, the Secretary-General?

Associate Spokesperson:  No.  No, this press conference, like we said, is the press conference he does traditionally every year before the start of a new session of the General Assembly.  And so, he will again have one of those.  He may show up to the press at other times in the week.  We will let you know if he has any other press events scheduled as they arise.  But in any case, as of right now, we… we still don’t have a day for when the report will be presented.  Yes?

Question:  I have a second question, brief, brief, just, on the same issue, um, on the same issue; yesterday, [Bashar] Ja’afari, the Syrian ambassador to the UN, was asking, they want to get the final report, not only on the situation in Damascus but also on the other sites.  They say that the rebels use chemical weapons.  Then you are going to expect a time frame, sorry, about like, when the UN inspectors are going to go back to Syria?

Associate Spokesperson:  We don’t have a time frame for precisely when they go back, but yes, it is their intention to continue with their work and then to have a final report down the line.  This report, as you know, just concerns the 21 August incident, given its priority.  After that, they do intend to go on with further investigative work and then have a final report.  So that will be taken care of in due course, yes.  Yes, in the back, yes?

Question:  Is it, Farhan, is the Secretary-General aware of, if so, what is his position, that his former rapporteur for human rights, Asma Jahangir, is demanding the Pakistan Government to open an investigation into alleged reports of Pakistan military involvement in assassination and the military’s involvement in extrajudicial killings, as the Washington Post has now reported?

Associate Spokesperson:  We don’t have any comment on that, no.  Jonathan?

Question:  Farhan, yesterday the Syrian Ambassador said that by submitting that letter that he submitted yesterday — is it to the Secretary-General — that the Syrian Government is now a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Is this true?  And can you please explain to us the legalese of what is going on and a time frame for the process of joining and becoming a member of that Convention?

Associate Spokesperson:  That doesn’t happen immediately, no.  What is happening, the process has begun.  You have seen the statement that we put out about it.  At this stage, what the UN is doing is that we are in contact with the Government of Syria to obtain any further information that would be needed so that we can complete the process of depositing the instrument of accession.  Once that happens, it would take another 30 days to enter into force.  Like I just said, the Syrian Government has already made clear that, even before that, it will abide by the terms of the Convention.  Yes, Talal?

Question:  Sorry, just a follow up on Jonathan’s question.  In the case of Iraq in 2009, you are right, they gave them 30 days after they signed to join.  It took 30 days.  Is this gonna be the case with Syria?  Iraq also obtained the ratification of their parliament.  Is Syria, is required also to obtain the ratification of their parliament?

Associate Spokesperson:  This is not a ratification of the relevant treaty; this is, they are depositing an instrument of accession.  There is some additional information that is needed, but it is a different process.  It doesn’t necessarily need a parliamentary action.

Question:  If… if… if I may follow up?  There are certain countries, and I am sure you know, Angola, South Sudan, North Korea, Israel, Burma, Syria and Egypt are not members.  Although Israel and Burma have signed, but they have not ratified and hence are not considered to be members of the treaty.  Why is this different in the case of Syria?

Associate Spokesperson:  For any treaty, there is a difference in signing it, which implies an intention to ratify it, and ratification.  In this case, a deposit of instrument of accession is… has the same status as ratification.  Acceding to a treaty is the same as ratifying it in terms of the commitments of membership.  And as for the States that you mentioned, like I said, the Secretary-General has long called for universal accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Yes, in the back, Haider?

Question:  Just related to Jonathan’s question, um, and Talal just mentioned those seven countries.  My question is if there are any thoughts of the mind of Secretary-General about the push for getting the Middle East region into nuclear-weapons-free-zone or free from weapons of mass destruction?

Associate Spokesperson:  Well, the Secretary-General has encouraged all nations to abandon weapons of mass destruction and has encouraged efforts to that end.  Yes, Masood?

Question:  I’d like to know Farhan, in view of what the President [Vladimir] Putin of Russia said yesterday, that it, in that Russia believes that it was the rebels who used gas, I mean, will the… the inspectors be also looking into that aspect?  There is also a follow-up to what Eva was asking:  will there be any investigation into that aspect of whole thing?

Associate Spokesperson:  Well, for that, like I said, hopefully before too long we can be able to see for ourselves what the report contains and we will see what the facts themselves show.

Question:  Yes, I… I… I… Farhan, just a minute…  I just want to point out one thing, that yesterday while Mr. Ja’afari, the Syrian Ambassador, was giving a brief… I mean, stakeout, every time he’d speak there was freeze on this UN webcast.  And it has happened to him again and again.  It has happened to him earlier in the General Assembly when he complained about it.  Is there any particular reason why this happens to him?  No, but could you have somebody look into this?

Associate Spokesperson:  No, no.  This happens to us all, and we have received explanations from DPI about the technical problems with the new system that has been put it.  They are trying to work out the bugs.  But it happens.  It may be happening to this briefing as we speak; I have no way of knowing.  Evelyn?

Question:  Just a brief question:  On the Valerie Amos statement, what is rural Damascus?   Damascus is a city.  Do you have any more detail?

Associate Spokesperson:  Well, there is further detail in the press release.  I can read out one bit of it, which says, this is in her words: We are hearing very disturbing reports from the town of Moadamyieh, for example, just a few kilometres from the capital.  It is reported that the town has been besieged for the last 10 months, suffering daily shelling and armed clashes between Government and opposition groups.  UN humanitarian agencies have not been able to deliver supplies for nearly a year, despite repeated attempts, due to security constraints.  Most of the 70,000 population of the area has fled, but some 12,000 people remain trapped, unable to get enough food for their families.  There are cases of severe malnutrition among children, as well as the spread of skin and respiratory diseases.

And like I said, there is more detail in the press release.  Pam?

Question:  A follow up on the Q and A with the Secretary-General today at the women’s forum.  It is not, you gi… you sent around a transcript to put online the transcript of his talks there, but the Q and A is not on it.

Associate Spokesperson:  Yeah, I believe we put out the remarks.  I don’t believe the Q and A has been transcribed, no.

Question:  Will you be doing it?

Associate Spokesperson:  I am not aware that we will.  Yes, please, Nizar?

Question:  Regarding this, the comments that came today from Secretary-General on the report before it comes out, when the Russians presented their report, 80-page report on Khan al-Asal attacks, chemical attacks, the Secretary-General refrained from making any comment.  So far, we haven’t heard one single comment from him about what really happened, that report included.  And then he comes out today and pre-judges what the chemical report coming is going to have.  And he also predicts that the regime is responsible for it.  How can you, I mean, explain this?  This is quite strange and really prejudices the outcome of the investigation, doesn’t it?

Associate Spokesperson:  No, not in the least.  We will look at what the report says and we will see, and report will, in turn, be presented to the Member States accordingly.  We will judge based on what that says.

Question:  He has already judged it!  He has already judged it today!  He already made a statement judging the outcome of the report!

Associate Spokesperson:  The report hasn’t been turned in.  We will see what it has to say and that, and that should be able to answer the questions.

Question:  We know the report hasn’t come out.  But he has already issued a statement that the regime is responsible.  He already said it; he can’t take that… [inaudible]

Question:  Did he say it is the friends from UK, since we were asking this way, that’s what I wanna know?

Associate Spokesperson:  He has had a number of contacts over the days.  We haven’t been providing details of all the various diplomatic contacts, but his diplomatic work keeps going.  But as far as that goes, yes, he may have made an off- the- cuff remark about this, but the fact remains, that he is willing to see what the report says.  And once that happens, we will evaluate accordingly.  And that report still has to come and we will evaluate it at that point.  Erol?

Question:  Yeah, Farhan, sorry, why… why did he give it…?

Associate Spokesperson:  Erol has been waiting for a while.  Erol has been waiting for a while; you will have your chance after him.

Question:  Thank you very much.  Farhan, I just wanted to know, what is the position of Secretary-General on… on how the UN inspectors’ report will or not influence the high- level diplomacy between US and the Russia Federation, knowing that they are actually not care about the findings of UN?

Associate Spokesperson:  As far as that goes, as you are aware, Lakhdar Brahimi has met with both the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State today.  So, he has been participating in the dialogue with both of them, both together and different capacities individually.  So he is continuing with his diplomatic efforts.  And there is every possibility that they will also meet here in New York later this month. 

Question:  That’s not my question, with all due respect.  I said, what would be the impact of that report, knowing that both United States and Russia they say oppositely, United States is saying we know that it was Assad; President Putin is saying it was not Assad.  So, it seems that they really don’t care about the report.

Associate Spokesperson:  I think the impact of the report will be clear in not that many more days from now, once the report actually goes out.  Nizar?

Question:  Farhan, regarding Khan al-Asal issue, of course that was the first incident which was everybody agreed about that there was a chemical report, eh, attack, and people were killed there.  The Russians have provided this report and the United Nations have just ignored totally.  It has not even been distributed.  Another thing, you just, another thing, you mentioned al-Moadamyieh today being under siege for almost a year.  Nebul al-Zahra, close to Aleppo, have been under siege by Al-Nusra, Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization, for over 14 or 16 months.  And they are there, eh, face dire conditions there; much worse than Al Moadamyieh.  Why was there no statement at all?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, Nizar, Nizar; you are editorializing now.  What I said at the start was that Valerie Amos had made clear her concerns about people who were trapped, both behind lines in Government-held zones and in opposition-held zones.  In both cases, people have been prevented from getting access to humanitarian aid and it is all equally a concern to her.  Iftikhar?

Correspondent:  But, but my case, Nebul al-Zahra is a very, very tragic situation…

Associate Spokesperson:  Yeah, that is not actually a question.  Iftikhar?

Question:  A different subject, you see.  You know, Kashmir, Indian-controlled Kashmir has been in turmoil.  There has been killing by Indian security forces, clashes, arrests and now curfew.  Any comments by the Secretary-General?

Associate Spokesperson:  There is no comment at present on this.  You are aware of his long-standing concerns about this.  Yes, in the back?  Put on your microphone, yeah.  Please use the microphone.  If that’s not working, try the next one.

Question:  If accession is equivalent to ratification, what are the considerations, the additional considerations that need to be addressed before the deposit process is completed?

Associate Spokesperson:  We are just trying to get additional information, in line with the sort of information that normally occurs when an instrument of accession is deposited.  It is just a standard procedure that we follow.

Question:  Such as?

Associate Spokesperson:  I am not going to get into the legal niceties of it; it is just a standard procedure that there is, sometimes, there is the need for some further information and we are trying to get that right now.  Dulcie?

Question:  Yeah, so, you are saying that the Syrian parliament does not have to ratify this treaty?

Associate Spokesperson:  Ratification is a different procedure.  This was, what they have tried to do is deposit an instrument of accession.  Ratification isn’t needed for that.

Question:  But I thought you said it was the same status of ratification?

Associate Spokesperson:  It has the same effect in terms of joining on to the treaty.  Both of them have the same effect, but they are two different pathways to it.

Question:  I have another question.  Has the United States made any of its investigations into chemical weapons use in Syria available to the UN?

Associate Spokesperson:  We had, of course, encouraged all parties to make available any useful information to the investigation team.  We will see what they have in terms of the information that is reflected in their report.  Matthew?

Question:  Sure, thanks a lot, Farhan, I… given the questions raised by, I heard the, said, it’s defi… it definitely sounded like reaching a conclusion on the report that you are saying he doesn’t have yet.  I would like, is there some way to get a statement from your Office about, I know you keep saying it is diplomatic work continues, who he spoke to on and to which countries he was, he gave a similar… it will be an overwhelming report that will show x presentation, because this, you had Laurent Fabius speak, you’ve had UK officials speak to the Times of London, basically it’s, it appears, and this is why I am asking if you disagree with it; it appears that Ban Ki-moon has given his pre-judgement of the report to countries that… that… Western countries that would like to see a Chapter VII resolution on Syria, and… and… and is that not the case?  What did he say to them?  And what do you say to that?

Associate Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, he has an open mind about what exactly he will receive.  And he expects to receive it soon.  He has had discussions with a number of experts.  He has his own opinions about things, but certainly he is waiting to hear what his experts have to say.  And that is what is relevant.  And no, we are not going to share all the many, many calls that he has had and the many discussions.  He’s certainly been talking about a range of things, but his priority throughout it all has been to revitalize the diplomatic process for Syria.  Yes?  Yes, you?

Question:  Thank you, Farhan.  Can you please repeat once again, so, what steps are needed by the Syrian Government to… for the treaty to come in force in Syria?

Associate Spokesperson:  Right now, like I said, we are just in dialogue with them.  We have requested some additional information, and we are awaiting that.  Hopefully, we can then complete the process of depositing the instrument of accession.  After that there would be a 30-day period before the treaty would enter into force.  Yes?

Question:  Farhan, yeah, what I was saying is the Secretary-General’s statement, saying that he believes that it was done by the Syrians, makes, changes the whole spectrum.  I mean, the talks between John Kerry and Lavrov were gonna be impacted by it, because he has already made it, made up his mind that this was done by the Syrian Government; not by the rebels as the Russians are saying.

Associate Spokesperson:  Again, and I know this is getting a bit repetitive; it bears repeating, though, he has not made up his mind on a report that he has not yet received.  Once he receives it, he will evaluate it properly and with the fairness that it deserves.  Sangwon?

Question:  My understanding of the procedures for, to sign on to the Chemical Weapons Convention, is that once you submit the instrument of accession, that’s when the clock begins for the 30 days; from that point on which it will go into effect.

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes.

Question:  Now, but earlier you said that the Syrian Government only submitted a letter showing intent of accession; whereas a press statement from the Syrian Mission said they have submitted the instrument of accession.  So, my question is, what exactly, what kind of information is the UN seeking from the Syrian Government?  Does it have to do with detailing what kind of stockpiles they may have or things like that, which should only be required once the Convention is…

Associate Spokesperson:  No, not those technical things.  Just, there are certain legal procedures that every instrument of accession needs, and it is just to make sure that what they have deposited is in line with the standard language by which countries deposit instruments of accession.  That’s what it is.  Further information on chemical weapons stockpiles and so forth are further down the line, once that deposit has been completed.  We are not at that stage yet. Yes?

Question:  Farhan, since there is a disconnect in understanding between the Syrian Government and the United Nations on… on how a Member, how membership takes place, will the UN make an announcement once they are officially members?

Associate Spokesperson:  I think we could probably provide you with a notification that that’s happened, if you are interested in that.  But we have already given to the Syrian Mission to the United Nations the information about what else is needed.  It’s a straightforward technical procedure and hopefully can be accomplished fairly quickly and easily.  And… yes?

Question:  Just one quick thing:  Can you give us a clarification of how this process will go with, with the report?  Ban receives the report; who reviews it with Ban?  Then what happens?

Associate Spokesperson:  I don’t think I can give you any details at this stage.  We will probably try and send a note around to all of you once we can say what the procedures will be.  But we certainly do expect that you will have your fair share of information as soon as we can possibly put it out.  Yes?

Question:  Just a clarification; on that point, are you confirming Monday?

Associate Spokesperson:  No.

Question:  Okay.  And on the, uh, on the comments by the Secretary-General this morning at the women’s cou… which, which we saw on UNTV, it is not up.  Is there a reason?

Associate Spokesperson:  It’s not?  If you’ve seen it on UNTV, it must be up, right?

Question:  No, no, I mean on the web, on the webcast.  It’s not posted.  Will it be posted, or will it be delayed because of the comment?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yeah, yeah, everything is available that way eventually.  For example, this briefing is recorded right now, and you can see it now.  But then it takes another couple of hours before it is put on the webcast.  That’s a technical process.  It should be available…

Question:  But, okay, then just on the substance of the comments; on what basis did the Secretary-General say Assad was responsible?  We are all asking the same question!

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, and like I said, he has had his own discussions.  He certainly has his own, the information that he has gleaned from his many, many discussions.  But at the same time, he is still waiting for the report from the experts and he will evaluate it fairly once he gets it.  Yes?

Question:  Yeah, sure, just… just on this, so we have any misunderstanding in the afternoon.  Well, actually it wasn’t on the four quad UNTV; it was on the… the channel called Conference Room 2.  So, I guess my question to you is whether events that are not shown on the UNTV, if you look at it on the Internet, but are filmed and shown under a conference setting in the… in the new EZ TV, whether those video footages become available and whether we can have them.

Associate Spokesperson:  That’s a bit technical for me.  I think you will be able to see in the coming hours whether it is possible.  But there is quite a lot of video footage on the webcast, including from conference rooms.  Haider?

Question:  Farhan, what… what exactly did he say?  The SG, which is being disputed among colleagues?

Associate Spokesperson:  I think your colleagues have already told you what he said. Yes?

Question:  AP has just passed on the wires that — I’ll quote this:  “Chief UN chemical weapons inspector says Syria report is done.  Won’t discuss its conclusions.” Does that mean that the Secretary-General already has the report?  Or is he gonna get it this weekend?

Associate Spokesperson:  He does not have it right now.  Yes?

Question:  One non-Syria question?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, one non-Syria question, fine.

Question:  Yeah, I wanted to ask you, it’s… it’s something that Under-Secretary-General [Hervé] Ladsous said yesterday about the… the drone or drones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  He seemed to be saying that its procurement, the fact that they wont be operational until December has to do with, you know, the… the rules of the UN in procurement, but it seemed like the winner was discl… was announced and disclosed on 1 August.  So, I… I guess I just wanna understand it; does that mean, it seems like when you announce the winner, that’s no longer a question of reviewing thousand-page bids, as he was describing.  What exactly after announcing the winner, what… what further is there to do about procurement?  What explains this… this delay until December?

Associate Spokesperson:  No, I think Under-Secretary-General Ladsous spoke about this yesterday, and I have nothing to add to what he said.  What he said stands.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.