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

4 May 2015

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 Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

Happy Monday, if there is such a thing, good afternoon. 

**Secretary-General’s Travels

The Secretary-General will travel to Moscow, the Russian Federation, for the celebration of Victory Day on 9 May.  The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, will be accompanying the Secretary-General. 

On his way to Moscow, the Secretary-General will stop on 7 May in Gdansk, Poland, to attend the commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War there.  He will also meet with President Bronisław Komorowski and other senior officials present at the commemoration.  The Secretary-General will also be in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 8 May, where he will meet with President Petro Poroshenko and other Ukrainian Government officials.  While in Russia, he will meet with President Vladimir Putin, as well as a number of heads of delegations also attending the commemoration.  We expect the Secretary-General back on 10 May in New York.

**Regional Organizations

Meanwhile, back here, this morning, he addressed the General Assembly high-level debate on strengthening cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations this morning.  He called for further solidarity in advancing common values, stressing that developing common strategies and joint programmes have enhanced the ability to serve the world’s people. 

He added that working together to promote conflict prevention and mediation has increased our powers of persuasion to press parties to make peace. It has also reinforced collective efforts to defend human rights and uphold the values of the UN Charter.  And as you may recall, the Secretary-General held a retreat with the heads of 18 regional and other organizations over the weekend in New York.  His full remarks are in our office. 

**Security Council

The Security Council met this morning on its programme of work for May. The Council President, the Permanent Representative of Lithuania, will talk to you in this room about the programme of work at 12:30, in about 23 minutes.  The members of the Council also received an update this morning on the situation in Yarmouk from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.  They also heard from Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of Affairs in Syria for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees [in the Near East] (UNRWA). 

Mr. Kingsley-Nyinah highlighted UNRWA’s work in the past three weeks in broadening its humanitarian response, and the coming together of United Nations humanitarian agencies to serve displaced Palestine refugees and Syrians in the area south-east of Yarmouk.  Since 13 April, when it first gained access to Yalda, Babila and Beit Sahem with the facilitation of Syrian authorities, UNRWA has delivered over 5,000 family parcels of food, and over 13,000 packets of fresh bread.  We have established and stocked field kitchens where some 600 meals are prepared each day.  To help alleviate a situation where there have been no functioning clinics or hospitals for at least the past two years, medical and dental teams treated some 2,500 people so far. 

Members of the Council also heard from Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria.  Mr. de Mistura, as you’re aware, will speak to the press in Geneva, and that will, I assume, be webcast as usual.  Tomorrow is the day that he expects the start of his separate meetings with various parties to consult on the current crisis in Syria and the road ahead. 

**Yemen

Meanwhile, on the conflict in Yemen, insecurity and shortage of fuel continue to hinder the delivery of urgently needed assistance to displaced families and other vulnerable, conflict-affected communities.  The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that insecurity and lack of fuel have limited access to and delivery of services.  Partners report difficulty providing medical services as a result of the current security situation and continued airstrikes targeting Haradh, Sa’ada and Sana’a.  Food partners have also reported they have had to suspend assistance in Haradh district and Al Hudaydah also because of a lack of fuel. 

Casualties and the number of displaced continue to rise.  In Aden, where violence has continued, local authorities report that 98 per cent of Khormaksar district’s 62,000 residents had fled and that the remaining families are trapped and awaiting secure conditions to leave.  Meanwhile in Aden, local sources report continued widespread violence.  A two-hour truce proposed by the Southern Resistance Movement has not been observed, according to OCHA’s partners.  The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen is strongly urging the coalition to stop targeting Sana'a airport and to preserve this important lifeline so that humanitarians can reach all those affected by the armed conflict currently ongoing in Yemen. 

**Nepal

From Nepal, the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, has just concluded her visit to earthquake-affected regions of Nepal.  During her three-day visit, Ms. Cousin visited the Gorkha district and witnessed first-hand the extent of the earthquake’s destruction. She saw the achievements and challenges of the complex relief operation.  She said that her organization and its partners are committed to working more efficiently and expeditiously, especially before the monsoon seasons starts.  WFP has, so far, dispatched food for 250,000 people in some of the hardest-hit areas and more assistance is expected in the coming days. 

Also on Nepal, UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with Government authorities to vaccinate more than half a million children against measles.  The agencies warn that the lack of shelter and sanitation remain huge risk factors for the disease.  OCHA also says families are urgently in need of food, medicine, tarpaulins and shelter repair tools as they continue to stay in the open. Landslides have challenged transportation of relief items to some areas. Many affected villages are without road access at all. 

**Central African Republic

In the Central African Republic, the Bangui Forum opened earlier this morning.  This forum brings together national authorities, political parties, armed groups, civil society, including youth and women’s groups, as well as religious leaders, to discuss and determine the future of the country.  The Bangui Forum is a vital starting point for a longer term reconciliation process that prepares the ground for the planned constitutional referendum, as well as legislative and presidential elections. 

The forum will also chart the way forward for the disarmament of armed groups, reconciliation, justice, governance, the reconstitution of the security forces, as well as the economic recovery.  The UN Mission in the country, MINUSCA, is working closely with the authorities to support this critical process. 

**South Sudan

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed today South Sudan’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The Convention is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty.  It was adopted more than 25 years ago and the rights it sets out include children’s right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated against, and to have their views heard.  The Committee repeated its call for universal ratification of the treaty.  As you may know, the United States and Somalia are the only two remaining countries that have not yet fully ratified this treaty. 

**Guatemala

From Guatemala, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, arrives in the country today for the Latin American and the Caribbean regional consultation of the World Humanitarian Summit, and the seventh Regional Meeting on International Humanitarian Assistance Mechanisms.  That’s a key element of the region’s contribution to the Secretary-General’s global action agenda to reduce suffering from conflicts and disasters.  During her visit, she is expected to meet Government officials, representatives of regional bodies and humanitarian partners to discuss ways of strengthening capacities to meet humanitarian challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

**Forests

The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, spoke at the opening of the eleventh session of the UN Forum on Forests earlier today.  He said that over the next two weeks, Member States have a formidable task of creating a strengthened International Arrangement on Forests.  He urged them to balance an ambitious vision with practical structure, design and function.  In shaping the agreement beyond 2015, it will be important to define ways in which the future arrangement will advance forest-related sustainable development goals. 

**Dag Hammarskjöld

The Independent Panel of Experts appointed by the Secretary-General to assess new information related to the death of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld arrived in Zambia over the weekend.  As you know, the panel has been tasked to examine and assess the probative value of new information related to the death of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarksjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him.   

The three members of the Panel will meet with witnesses to the final stages of the flight that crashed over Ndola on the night of 17-18 September 1961.  They will report back to the Secretary-General before the end of June.  The Secretary-General will update the General Assembly during the seventieth session and the General Assembly will then determine what, if any, further action will be taken. 

**Road Safety

Almost lastly, this is UN Global Road Safety week is starting today.  Tomorrow in New York, the newly-appointed Special Envoy on Road Safety, Jean Todt, will join the Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake and other prominent guests for an event and a street dance performance by 200 children from New York City schools, at the Flatiron Pedestrian Plaza, on 23rd and Broadway.  The initiative is part of “#SaveKidsLives”, a worldwide campaign for road safety for children, as each day, more than 500 children and adolescents under the age of 19 lose their lives on roads worldwide. 

**Appointment

Today, the Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Robert Piper of Australia as the new Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, at the level of Assistant Secretary-General.  Mr. Piper will also serve as UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Mr. Piper will succeed James Rawley of the United States to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his distinguished service and in particular for his dedicated contribution to Gaza’s reconstruction efforts.  Mr. Piper, whom you all know very well, brings over 25 years of humanitarian and development experience with the United Nations.

**Honour Roll

Lastly, we say thank you very much to Khartoum, as Sudan has become the eighty-fourth Member State to pay its regular budget dues on time and in full.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  By the end of the year, you’ll get the rest?

Spokesman:  Inshallah!  Mr. Klein and then Nizar.

Question:  Yes.  Last week, the Ukrainian foreign minister was here and he said that the Secretary‑General's visit to Moscow on 9 May would send the wrong message because, in his view, he said that Russia violated the UN Charter and key cornerstone principles.  So, in light of the Secretary‑General's decision to go ahead and visit, have there been discussions with Ukrainian officials who may have urged him not to, and how does he respond to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister's comment?

Spokesman:  The Secretary‑General will go… as I just announced going on a trip that will take him, yes, to Moscow, will also take him to Kyiv and to Poland.  The reason for his visit to Moscow is to take part in the commemoration of the end of [the Second World War].  I think, as you know, there was a humongous loss of life in the Soviet Union in the fight against Nazi Germany.  That's why the Secretary‑General is there, to take part in that commemoration.  He was also take part in events in Gdansk that will also mark the end of [the Second World War] and in the mean… in the middle stop with… stop in Kyiv to meet with Mr. Poroshenko.  Yes, Nizar?

Question:  My question, Stéphane, is regarding Yemen.  Today, of course, there were new videos showing that the Sana’a airport was targeted, civilian aircrafts were burnt on the tarmac there.  In Sa’ada, there are victims which are arriving in hospital like charcoal, totally incinerated by the munitions used, of course, there were videos by our reporter in Sa’ada showing that some munition might be prohibited but has been used there.  Beside cluster bombs there are other munitions, it seems.  So, what is the position…?

Spokesman:  Sure.  Nizar, we're very much aware of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.  We keep flagging it every day, as I did just now.  The Secretary‑General's call for a halt to the violence, halt to the stance in order to get the humanitarian aid that we need inside; I think that we've seen the pictures of the devastation.  We've also repeatedly called on the coalition to avoid… not to hit any civilians or civilian infrastructures.  We've seen the reports of the use of cluster bombs that came up over the weekend.  Obviously, we need… that information needs to be confirmed, but, that being said, as far as the Secretary‑General, his… has in the past and will continue to call for a ban on the use of cluster bombs, which are, by very definition, inherently indiscriminate, and also cause very much a long‑term risk to population.  We've seen the damage caused by cluster bombs all over the world that remain active for years and often unfortunately very tempting for children to play with, which can cause great harm and violence.  I will come… I will come back to you.

Question:  What about aircraft targeting civilian targets?

Spokesman:  I think I just answered that question.  Mr. Lee and then we'll go to the far left.

Question:  Great.  I want to ask about Central African Republic and also Burundi.  On Burundi, I want to know if you have any statement on the violence in the capital in which at least two people have been killed today protesting the third-term run of the President?

Spokesman:  Sure, we continue to follow the events in Burundi with great concern and deplore the loss of lives and injuries as well as the destruction of property that we've seen.  We reiterate our calls to all the parties to reject violence, exercise maximum restraint, and avoid using inflammatory language, as well as to take the necessary appeasement measures to create conditions for dialogue.  In this regard, the UN mission on the ground, MENUB, has been encouraging all stakeholders to seize the opportunities of the dialogue that is organized by the Ministry of Interior with the support of the UN on 5 and 6 May.  That is tomorrow and Wednesday.  And we trust that stakeholders will see and build on this dialogue as an opportunity to defuse tensions and seek common grounds for creating conditions for the holding of peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections in Burundi.

Question:  Thanks.  On Central African Republic, I wanted to ask… there were a number of questions that remain kind of unanswered as of late last week.  Over the weekend, the defence minister of France, Yves le Drian, has urged the soldiers accused of raping soldiers in [Central African Republic] to give themselves up.  So, one question is:  Does the UN have any evidence that the soldiers who are accused and depicted in the report have ever been repatriated or are they still remaining in [Central African Republic] being supported by UN forces?  And the other, which was more fundamental, is did the UN in fact ever give this report to the Central African Republic authorities whose children were abused, and if not, why not?  A number of UN permanent representatives have asked what's up with that.

Spokesman:  On your first part, we do hope that anyone who engaged in the atrocious activities involving children in the [Central African Republic] face justice and are prosecuted.  We do hope that people do come forward, in that sense, and that justice is served for the children who were victimized.  As I think we've repeatedly said, these soldiers were not in… under any United Nations command.  The UN… they were under the command and control of their country.  The UN has no operational link to these soldiers, and we can't… I can't answer your question.  On the second question you raised, the… how the report was handled is currently the subject… within the High Commissioner for Human Rights is currently the subject of an internal OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] investigation, so I have no information to share.

Question:  Wasn't it formally given… it was leaked to, but also formally given to France.  It doesn't require an investigation to say did they formally give it to the host country, the Central African Republic, about…?

Spokesman:  As I said, I'm only aware what I'm aware of, which is that it was officially given to the French authorities.  Let's go to the far left or the extreme left.

Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  On Yarmouk, do we have an estimate of how many people are still there?

Spokesman:  That's a very legitimate question, one that I asked UNRWA just before coming to the briefing.  I have not yet gotten an answer.  So we will see if we can…

Question:  So we don't need… we don't know how many rations you need to send everyone, or who is trying to block the humanitarian aid…?

Spokesman:  No.  The food that was distributed was distributed to areas where people who had been residing in Yarmouk, both Palestinians and Syrian civilians, had fled to, so the… I will give you the full text of what I read so it's clear.  This was not food that was distributed within Yarmouk.  So, the access still remains blocked.

Question:  On Yemen, we know the resolution 2216 (2015) has given the Secretary‑General the authority to declare, in coordination with authorities in Yemen, humanitarian pauses.  Is there any work on this specific issue with the…?

Spokesman:  This is something we would like to see, but I think it's clear that it's those who control the weapons that can actually enact a pause in the violence.  The Secretary‑General's new Special Adviser on Yemen is doing a first round of consultations and our focus will be, of course… our focus will be to find a political solution for the violence to stop.

Correspondent:  [Inaudible].

Spokesman:  No, no.  Hold… hold on one second.  Yes, ma'am.  We'll go to the first round of people.

Correspondent:  Yes.  My question is about Ban Ki‑moon received a request from Korean survivors of the Hiroshima bombing and to meet with them because they were sent back to Korea after the war and they didn't… haven't gotten the kinds of support that people in Japan have gotten even though…

Spokesman:  Okay.

Correspondent:  But also the other question…

Spokesman:  What's your question?

Correspondent:  …is about what is his response to the request…

Spokesman:  I will see if that request has come through.

Correspondent:  And the other is Angela Kane was… they asked for a meeting with Angela Kane and they didn't get any response…

Spokesman:  I will… that’s the first I’ve heard of it.  Yes?  We'll go around.

Question:  Thank you so much.  I have one question about Iraq and another one about Syria.  The first one is the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan, [Massoud] Barazni, is now in [Washington], D.C., and he's reportedly going to talk with President [Barack] Obama about the independence of the Kurdish region.  And there have been talks, a lot about this UN projects in Iraq about separation between Iraq.  We never heard the formal attitude… position of the United Nations about this, in particular, and about other demands of directly arming Kurds and other parties in Iraq.  That's my first.  And the second is about Syria, the Geneva talks.  Are the Kurdish parties invited for this?

Spokesman:  On your second part, Mr. de Mistura will speak to the press tomorrow.  I'm a mere Spokesman.  He is a man of substance.  I will let him answer all those questions, since we only have a day to wait.  On your second part, obviously, the UN [Assistance] Mission in Iraq works very closely and encourages all the parties within Iraq to find a solution to the tensions that exist between different parties within the country.

Question:  What about the Independence Project?

Spokesman:  That's what I have to say.  Erol?

Question:  Thank you, Mr. Dujarric.  Two quick things.  Number one, since next week on 12 May we are going to have the regular six months report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, given by the High Representative.  Did the Secretary‑General came out with his own, and what is the highlight of it, if you may?  And, number two, given the fact that the press freedoms has said rapidly deteriorating worldwide and the Secretary‑General either on his own or on our call condemns all those issues, what was the last one that he in particular really wanted to pay more attention because of graveness or so, can you give us some examples?

Spokesman:  I think the Secretary‑General's position on press freedom, it can be found in his message.  I don't want to rank what is… which is the worst situation is an issue that often comes up in his bilateral meetings, depending obviously on who he's speaking to.  Young lady?  Sorry.  I'll see what I can get on you for that.

Question:  Thank you.  India has written to the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee on the release of Pakistani prisoner Zaki Rehman Lakhvi, expressing concern about his release.  And also, since he's a listed terrorist, he can neither receive nor give funds, but the bail money that's posted for him is in clear violations of the Committee’s provisions.  What are the [Secretary-General’s] thoughts on this?

Spokesman:  I think that's an issue for the Committee to deal with and I would suggest you address yourself to the chair of that Committee.  Mr. Abdel Hamid?

Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  On 29 April, the US Congress voted to adjust a law which called the “trade priorities and accountability”, making it illegal to classify the Israel settlement as illegal.  In another way, they are protecting not only Israel but the settlements.  Now, isn't it the moral responsibility for the Secretary‑General, who is the custodian of the UN resolution, to voice concern about this kind of resolution?  And if the answer is this is an internal issue, I would remind you that, about six weeks ago, you read a statement by the Secretary‑General voicing concern when Fatah Central Council recommended to end the security cooperation with Israel and…

Spokesman:  Abdel Hamid, thank you for reminding me of what I've said in the past.  The United Nations' position on the illegality of settlements is clear and has been unchanged.  I have not seen the report that you mentioned.  I don't know if it was passed into law or whatever.  I will check, and I will get back to you.  Let's go to still the first round.  I'm not sure we'll have time for second round.  Yes, sir?

Question:  I want to ask about two reports from last week.  In Syria, the Observatory for Human Rights said coalition craft bombing near Aleppo killed 52 civilians.  I wanted to know if the UN has heard about that.  And there's also reports in Iraq of… in Iraq of hundreds of Yezidis being killed near Mosul.  I want to know if either of those reports have been corroborated, been looked into?

Spokesman:  I will check.  I have not heard but I will be happy to check for you.  [He later added that the UN and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq are seriously concerned about information which recently appeared also in the media regarding the possible execution of dozens if not hundreds of captured Yazidis by Da’esh elements.  We closely monitor the situation, but we are unable so far to verify or to confirm these reports through our own channels.  We will vigorously continue with these efforts.]

Question:  As you already know, there's a big fight of Ethiopians against racism and discrimination that they are facing in Tel Aviv.  Is there any comment by the Secretary-General on this?

Spokesman:  The fight against racism and discrimination is a universal one.  And we've seen… I think we've… we've seen the pictures coming out of Tel Aviv.  I also know, from the reports that we’ve seen, that the Government has taken steps to address it and has met with various parties. Obviously, people have a right to demonstrate peacefully, and we encourage the Israeli authorities to deal with the issue.  Evelyn?  You’ve been very patient.

Question:  Thank you, Steph.  Two quick questions.  There’s a report that the UN has asked the Khartoum Government to help in mediation in Libya.  Is that true?  And also, do you know if UNICEF or anyone else in the UN has treated or tried to treat the child victims of the paedophiles in the Central African Republic, since they seem to have been identified?

Spokesman:  I don’t know on the second part of your question.  On the first part, that’s I question I asked myself this morning and I have not yet got an answer.  Sangwon?

Question:  Stéphane, is the [Secretary-General] going to meet with Kim Yong Nam, President of the North Korean People’s Assembly, while he is in Moscow?  And if so, when was the last time that he met Kim?

Spokesman:  The bilateral meetings that will take place around the visit to Moscow are still being worked on.  I think once we can confirm those bilaterals, we will issue readouts.  This might be my “get out of jail free” card.  It’s not.  Olga?

Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  I have two questions.  The first, Farhan told us last week that the new Special Envoy on Yemen, [Ismail] Ould [Cheikh] Ahmed, was here in New York and then he was supposed to visit some capitals.  What’s next?  Will he organize some conference on Yemen here in New York or in Geneva?  And second, my second question is just a remark:  Colleagues who are watching the briefing on Webcast, there is no sound of the briefing on the Webcast.

Spokesman:  They can’t hear you or they can’t hear me?

Question:  They can’t hear nothing.

Spokesman:  My colleague here, Tom, is picking up the phone and is going to make some calls.  So, if you have a briefing and nobody hears you, do you have a briefing?  I guess that's the question, right?  Your first part was…

Question:  Further steps of Ould Ahmed?

Spokesman:  Yes.  He is, indeed, in New York.  He will be soon travelling to the region.  His itinerary and exact dates and meetings are still being… are still being worked on.  Mr. Lee.  We'll go to the second round.

Question:  Again, two quick questions.  One is on Sudan.  I'm sure you've seen this report that the Government has begun a legal case against what it says peacekeepers that killed civilians there.  And they're asking the UN to lift immunity.  So, I wanted to know, one, is the UN going to consider that?  And, two, can you explain why in a case of Mali where civilians, where the UN didn’t know if civilians were killed and investigated it with an outside panel, why in the case of Sudan, they just want to know why the UN didn't conduct an outside review.  Is there such a review taking place and will you remove immunity?

 

Spokesman:  The mission, UNAMID [United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur], is aware… I've seen the media reports of the issue you've raised in relation to the attacks on peacekeepers.  The mission has not received any such notifications by the Sudanese authorities.  The mission stands by its account of the events in which six peacekeepers wounded and four attackers were killed when UNAMID troops returned firing in self‑defence, as communicated in previous statements including by the UN… by the Secretary‑General and the African Union.  An internal UNAMID investigation into the incidents is ongoing.

Question:  And the other is a press access question.  On de Mistura, I saw the note to correspondents in which it was said during the five to six weeks’ talks in Geneva, there will be no interviews, stakeouts or photo sprays.  And I wanted to know, one, could you explain why?  And two, if one of his interlocutors, particularly a Member State, wants to do a stakeout in the Geneva UN, can’t they?  How can you say in advance there won't be any?

Spokesman:  This is what's being planned on our end.  People are free to speak as they wish.  Nizar and then Erol?

Correspondent:  I have three very quick questions.

Spokesman:  I'll make you a deal.  You choose one now and I’ll answer it.  If you choose three.  I won't answer any of them.  We're very short on time.  Choose your best.

Correspondent:  I…

Spokesman:  No, choose one.

Question:  There are reports talking about the last few days, even a week or so, Turkey has been allowing enthuse of fighters with… thousands of fighters with heavy weapons and even vehicles to cross to the border and attack in Syria.  How concerned is the United Nations about a possible cross‑border conflict in that region?

Spokesman:  I have not seen those reports.  I will ask and check.  Erol?

Question:  Thanks.  I don’t want to sound like a broken record, I'm talking about myself, but when you mention bilateral concerns that are expressed by Secretary‑General and representatives, you can mention which of those Governments, if any of the Balkan States are among those that Secretary‑General expressed his concern on the freedom of the press?

Spokesman:  I don't think the Secretary‑General has had, if you'll… any recent bilaterals with Balkan embassies, but I will check, and I will come back to you.  Go?  And then we'll take just one more.

Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  Do you have any comment on what happened yesterday in Texas regarding this attack, but also on this event of making cartoons of Prophet Muhammad?  Thank you.

Spokesman:  We're just looking at the reports this morning.  Obviously, it's a tragic… it's a tragic loss of life.  Any such killings in the way we've seen it is to be condemned without question.  We're taking a look at what happened in the investigation.

Question:  I think the victims, I mean, the one who were shot were the attackers.

Spokesman:  And we'll… we're taking a look at what actually… we're taking a look at the reports.  Yes.  Yes?  [The Spokesman later expressed relief that, according to the latest reports, no civilians were killed in the attack.  He condemned the attack and hoped that the one person who was wounded would recover swiftly.]

Question:  Thank you, Stéphane; on Bangladesh, on Friday, the Secretary‑General called Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Press Secretary of the Prime Minister said that the Secretary‑General expressed his satisfaction on all activities, including the recently held city poll elections, but after this election we have seen these statements and the concern of the United Nations and all the Western world.  So, what exactly Secretary‑General told Bangladesh Prime Minister?

Spokesman:  You know, we do not have a readout to share.  I think the Secretary‑General… you could… you could say the Secretary‑General, I think, expressed his opinion in the way we've been expressing it here, which is to call to find a political way forward between all the parties in Bangladesh.  All right.  Last question and then I really need to leave the podium to the Security Council President.

Question:  Have you or are you going to release the list of the invitees to the Syria talks in Geneva?

Spokesman:  I will let Mr. de Mistura share that information as he sees fit.  Thank you.  See you tomorrow.

For information media. Not an official record.