HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 8 MAY 2012
KOFI ANNAN BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN SYRIA
- Kofi Annan, the U.N.-League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy for Syria, briefed the Security Council on Tuesday morning, by videoconference from Geneva, about the latest developments in that country.
- The Joint Special Envoy talked to reporters afterwards. The press stakeout was broadcasted live by UN Webcast.
- Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, also provided an update to the Council about the deployment of the UN Stabilization Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).
SECRETARY-GENERAL RECEIVED DISTINGUISHED INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARD
- The Secretary-General has returned to New York on Tuesday morning, following a day-long trip to Washington, D.C.
- On Monday evening in Washington, the Secretary-General attended a dinner celebrating the Atlantic Council's 50th anniversary, where he received the Distinguished International Leadership Award.
- In his acceptance remarks, he issued a call for collective global leadership to see us through the challenges of what he calls "The Great Transition." And he said that few events in modern memory have been more inspiring — or more challenging — than the Arab Spring, adding that we must help these nations in transition.
- The Secretary-General said that we cannot predict how the situation in Syria will end, but we do know there can be no compromise on fundamental principles of justice and human rights, in Syria or elsewhere. No amount of force can squash people’s aspirations to live in dignity and decency.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s remarks on collective leadership, the Spokesperson said that such leadership comes from the international community in general. He noted, with respect to Syria, that there has been more unity in the Security Council in recent weeks, which the Secretary-General has welcomed.
U.N. SENIOR OFFICAL CALLS FOR CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO THE AFGHAN PEOPLE
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, has begun a trip to Afghanistan, where she called upon donors and humanitarian agencies to give continued support to the Afghan people.
- She met with Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili, and emphasized the UN’s support for the people of Afghanistan during the current transition period and beyond.
- She noted that there are still 5 million Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries and a significant number of people who are internally displaced.
U.N. AGENCY SAYS 7 PEOPLE DIED TRYING TO REACH EUROPE FROM NORTH AFRICA
- At least seven migrants have died as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.
- Exhausted survivors from a boat carrying 90 Somali refugees that landed on one of Malta’s most popular beaches this weekend told UNHCR that five men and two women aboard perished during the week-long voyage.
- This is the fourth-such boat to have arrived in Malta this year, bringing a total of some 210 people. A further 45 boats have arrived in Italy, of which 26 originated from Libya.
- The latest deaths bring the number of reported or confirmed dead among people attempting to reach Europe from Libya to 81 this year - or two people every three days on average.
UNHCR reiterates its call to ship masters in the Mediterranean for
heightened vigilance and continued adherence to the longstanding
maritime obligation of aiding those in distress.
- The Spokesperson added, in response to questions, that UNHCR was making a general request to all ship masters and not pointing the finger at specific countries.
U.N. LAUNCHES NEW INITIATIVE TO END NEW HIV INFECTIONS AMONG CHILDREN BY 2015
- The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) today launched a new campaign, "Believe it. Do it.", aimed at bringing attention and action to the global goal of ending new HIV infections among children by 2015 and ensuring mothers living with HIV remain healthy.
- According to UNAIDS, each year, about 400,000 children become newly infected with HIV and as many as 42,000 women living with HIV die from complications relating to HIV and pregnancy.
- UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassadors Naomi Watts and Annie Lennox are among the personalities adding their voices and commitment to “Believe it. Do it.” In addition, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Whoopi Goldberg joined Blair Underwood, Denis O’Hare, Alexandra Wentworth, George Stephanopoulos and Sujean Rim to create a public service announcement for the campaign with the message “I believe children everywhere can be born free from HIV—Believe it. Do it.”
U.N. CLARIFIES MISSION’S ROLE IN HAITIAN POLICE OPERATIONS AGAINST ILLEGAL WEAPONS
In response to a question about a Haitian police operation against illegal weapons and the UN Mission’s role, the Spokesperson said that the operation is directed by the Government of Haiti and led by the Haitian National Police (HNP). Its purpose is to detect illegal weapons and disarm the persons carrying them.
It was launched because the number of weapons in circulation has increased lately.
- The UN Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, is supporting the Haitian National Police in this operation.
- This is in line with its mandate which includes assisting efforts by the Haitian authorities to establish the rule of law and provide for the stability and security of the country.
U.N. SAYS SUDAN GOVERNMENT REQUESTS MISSION FLIGHTS BE ROUTED THROUGH KHARTOUM
- Asked about reports on restrictions on flights into Sudan, the Spokesperson said that the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) confirmed that, as of last Wednesday, the Government of Sudan has requested that all of the Mission's flights between El Fasher in North Darfur and Entebbe in Uganda be routed through Khartoum.
- Until then, UNAMID had regular direct flights between El Fasher and Entebbe four days a week.
- Nesirky said that no reason has been given to the Mission by the Government of Sudan.
- He added that it would take some time for flights to resume to and from Entebbe, as the Mission works out the details on the ground.
- Entebbe hosts the UN Regional Service Centre to which peacekeeping missions in the region have been moving their administrative support staff.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES HOLLANDE FOR WINNING FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: In response to questions on the Sunday Presidential election in France, the Secretary-General congratulates Mr. François Hollande for his victory in the second round of the French presidential election, which took place on 6 May. The Secretary-General wishes Mr. Hollande every success and looks forward to working together with him on a variety of issues of interest to France and the United Nations. A letter will be addressed to the President-elect shortly, congratulating him on his victory and wishing him success in the implementation of his mandate. The Secretary-General has greatly appreciated the excellent cooperation he has enjoyed these past five years with President Sarkozy.
UNDP TO LAUNCH AFRICA HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT: On Wednesday, at One United Nations Plaza here in New York, United Nations Development Programme Policy Advisor, Sebastian Levine, will brief the press on the forthcoming launch of the UNDP Africa Human Development Report 2012 - “Towards a Food Secure Future”. The Report looks at the paradox of why hunger continues to be so prevalent on the continent and puts forward a series of policy recommendations across the development agenda.
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