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

3 December 2013

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

3 December 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 Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon.  Welcome to the briefing.

**Security Council

The Security Council, in its first consultations for December, agreed on its programme of work for the month.  Ambassador Gérard Araud of France, the Council President for this month, will talk to you at 12:45 p.m. in this room about the Security Council’s work during December.

The Security Council also received a briefing this morning from Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos about the humanitarian situation in Syria.

You’ll have just heard what she had to say about that briefing at the Security Council stakeout.  She said that she told the Council that there has been modest progress in the granting of visas and the opening of a number of additional humanitarian hubs in Syria.  But, there has not been any progress in humanitarian access to hard-to-reach areas.

**Secretary-General in Peru

The Secretary-General is wrapping up his visit to Peru today and is expected back in New York tonight.

This morning, he visited El Agustino, an area of Lima which is situated next to a major river and has been vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including flooding, soil erosion and landslides.

The Secretary-General spotlighted the important role played by Peru on the question of climate change.  The country will host the twentieth Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change next year.

The Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with former [United Nations] Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, around about this time.

**Democratic Republic of Congo

This morning in Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Mission there, MONUSCO, conducted the inaugural launch of its unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, travelled to Goma for the launch, together with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the country, Martin Kobler. Senior Government officials also attended the launch, including the Minister for Defence.

Speaking to media following the launch, Mr. Ladsous said that this was the first time that the United Nations has deployed such an advanced technological tool in peacekeeping operations.  And he added that the United Nations had entered the twenty-first century from a technological point of view and that peacekeeping operations needed these tools so that the United Nations could do an even better job of fulfilling its mandates, especially protecting civilians.

**World Food Programme — Democratic Republic of Congo

The World Food Programme (WFP) says that it will have to reduce or interrupt some of its activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of the lack of funding.

The World Food Programme — which is funded entirely by voluntary contributions — says it urgently needs $75 million to continue its operations until May of next year.

In North and South Kivu and in Orientale Provinces, some 500,000 food-insecure displaced people will be affected by the funding crisis.  The provision of daily hot meals to thousands of schoolchildren is also in jeopardy, as is life-saving nutritional support to some 180,000 malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers across the country.

In the last six months, funding shortages have already forced the World Food Programme to halve the rations distributed to displaced people in North Kivu Province.

The World Food Programme says that 1 out of 10 children suffers from acute malnutrition and 6.3 million people are facing hunger and need food assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

** Central African Republic

The United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) expressed its deep concern today following incidents in Boali, which is 95 kilometres from Bangui, where at least 12 people were killed and 30 wounded by armed groups.

The UN Mission urges the transition authorities to uphold their duty to protect the population.  It also calls on the transition authorities to bring to justice those responsible for all acts of violence.

**Press Conferences Today and Tomorrow

And as I mentioned, in fact, not long from now, Ambassador Gérard Araud, the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and the President of the Security Council for the month of December, will be here to brief you.

And then, tomorrow, my guest at noon will be the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kyung-wha Kang, who will brief you on her recent visit to South Sudan.

Questions, please?  Yes, Iftikhar?

**Questions and Answers

Question:  On this problem created by China’s declaration of security zone in East Asia, Japan has taken the United Nations route; they have gone to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).  I want… what I am asking is:  Is the Secretary-General also involved in bringing about an end to this crisis?

Spokesperson:  No, not directly. You will have seen that we have had something to say about it.  Essentially, generally speaking, where there are disputes, they need to be dealt in a peaceful way through negotiations and resolved in a diplomatic way.  I don’t have anything further at this point on that topic.  But, obviously, there is quite a bit of attention being focused on that and the Secretary-General is keeping a close eye on it.  Okay?  Yes, Matthew?

Question:  Thanks, thanks a lot.  I wanted to ask about Mali and also about Kenya.  On… on Mali, there was a report put out, I guess it was either over the weekend or on Friday by Amnesty International, naming very specifically child… children that are incarcerated by the Malian Army and authorities and saying they should be released and describing exactly how they were imprisoned.  And I just wondered, given that… that MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) works with the Malian army and… and… and there is a UN presence there, including human rights monitoring, has the UN chimed in on this?  Have they… are they seeking the release of these children detainees of the Malian authorities?

Spokesperson:  I’ll need to check.  I don’t have anything on that, Matthew.  What’s your other question?

Question:  Okay.  Yeah, and I… I think you… you… you… I am… I’m… I’m thinking that you’ve probably seen the story in… in The Star in Kenya; there is a story that says that the son-in-law of the Secretary-General is, was being named the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) Country Representative in Kenya and the… the story at least says that it’s been delayed by Kenyan authorities, either in relation to the ICC (International Criminal Court) deferral issue or seeking some confirmation by the Secretary-General that he will attend a… a ceremony there on 12 December.  So, I wanted to know, one, is it true that the son-in-law is up for this position in Kenya?  And two, what is the Secretariat’s response to the, The Star in Kenya, you know, saying that it is being delayed for these two reasons?

Spokesperson:  Well, I am not going to comment on every single newspaper report that there might be.  What I would say is that, as I understand it, the Resident Coordinator in Kenya will be representing the Secretary-General at that particular event that you referred to.  And with regard to any appointments by UNFPA, I think you know how to reach UNFPA.

Other questions, please?  That doesn’t seem to be the case; thanks very much.  Pardon?

Question:  I have a technical question.

Spokesperson:  One technical question; for which you need a microphone, which is also technical.

Question:  Martin, I wonder, and I really apologize that I am asking you this kind of question.  When that escalator is going to go, since it is out of order — not 20 years, but before the Thanksgiving?  Even a week before Thanksgiving, and I am wondering…

Spokesperson:  It’s a good question; I asked the same question myself this morning.  And I will find an answer for you, I hope.  Right, okay, thank you very much.  Have a good afternoon.  And I do know that Ambassador Araud will be here shortly.  Thank you very much.

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