HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 9 JULY 2012
AT TOKYO CONFERENCE, SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR INVESTMENT IN AFGHANISTAN
- The Secretary-General has arrived back in New York from Tokyo.
- On Sunday, the Secretary-General took part in a major meeting on Afghanistan's future development and held talks with a number of Japanese and other leaders.
- In his remarks to the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, the Secretary-General said that under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai and his Government, real progress had been made on the path to security and broad-based development. But he said these gains remained fragile. He said a failure to invest in governance, justice, human rights, employment and social development could negate the investments and sacrifices that have been made over the past 10 years.
- On the sidelines of the conference, the Secretary-General held bilateral meetings with the President of Afghanistan and the foreign ministers of Germany, Pakistan and Iran.
- The Secretary-General also met separately with the Japanese Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and gave a press conference at the Japan National Press Club.
SYRIA ENVOY MEETS WITH PRESIDENT ASSAD, DISCUSSES MEANS OF ENDING VIOLENCE
- Kofi Annan, the United Nations-League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy for Syria, concluded a visit to Damascus earlier today, saying that he had held a very candid and constructive discussion with President Bashar al-Assad.
- He said that they had discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so, and that they had agreed on an approach which the Joint Special Envoy will share with the armed opposition. Mr. Annan also stressed the importance of moving ahead with a political dialogue, which he said the President accepts.
- Asked about the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), the Spokesperson said that the Mission continues with its liaison work, even though it has suspended its patrols.
- In a recent report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General wrote that the Mission could sustain monitoring of and support for implementation of the six-point plan, including the cessation of armed violence when feasible, and respond flexibly to positive changes on the ground as they occur.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy have said that any further militarization of the conflict in Syria is not desirable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF LIBYA AFTER FIRST ELECTIONS IN NEARLY 50 YEARS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General warmly congratulated the Libyan people on the occasion of the country’s first election in nearly half a century.
- The United Nations looks forward to working with the new leaders of Libya and the youth, women and men who make up its civil society, as they address the challenges of drafting a constitution and building a secure and accountable state. The Secretary-General trusts that they will do so in a spirit of inclusion, justice and reconciliation among all Libyans.
BAN KI-MOON EXPRESSES HOPES FOR SOUTH SUDAN ON FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE
- South Sudan today marked its one year anniversary with a celebration at the John Garang Mausoleum in Juba, which was attended by President Salva Kiir and senior officials from African governments.
- On behalf of the Secretary-General, the UN Special Representative for South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, said that a lot has been achieved since independence, but more needs to be done. The Secretary-General expressed his confidence in the resilience of its people and the wisdom of its leadership, and his hope that South Sudan will overcome any obstacles and succeed in becoming a prosperous nation, based on human rights and the rule of law, and living in harmony with its neighbours near and far.
- The Secretary-General noted that all South Sudanese are worried that relations with Sudan have deteriorated, and that the United Nations is doing its utmost, in partnership with the African Union, to help the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan settle all pending differences peacefully.
- UNMISS, the UN Mission, has had its mandate extended and will continue, with UN agencies, funds and programmes, to support the Government’s efforts to protect its civilians and consolidate peace throughout the country. He said the United Nations is strongly committed to the work of building a thriving and stable South Sudan.
- Also, the World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the people of South Sudan to face the challenge of building a new nation and to overcome food insecurity.
- A joint food security assessment by the World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization found that some 4.7 million people – nearly half the population – will be moderately or severely food insecure in South Sudan this year.
- WFP plans to feed some 2.9 million people this year in South Sudan. About one third of these people will receive food assistance through community projects that include converting unused land into farmland and other activities that help communities improve their food security.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO CONCERNED BY SECURITY SITUATION IN NORTH KIVU
- The UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) is concerned by the security situation in North Kivu, where the M23 group of mutineers have made advances in the past several days and occupied Bunagana and several other towns in North Kivu. The UN Mission has noted reports of M23 pulling out of some of these areas and the Mission is seeking confirmation in this regard.
- The Mission has also received unconfirmed reports of human rights violations and other crimes committed in areas where the M23 are present, including an alleged attack on the prison at Rutshuru, apparently leading to the liberation of detainees.
- The Mission underscored that the M23 leadership and other responsible parties are accountable for human rights violations and other crimes committed in areas where the M23 elements are present.
- Asked about efforts to calm the situation, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission is aware of various contacts, including a ministerial meeting of the International Contact Group on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on 11 July in the margins of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa. We would encourage such initiatives aimed at finding a political solution to the crisis.
- Asked about the protection of civilians in towns taken by M23, the Spokesperson later noted that MONUSCO says that it has provided strategic operational planning and logistical support to the Congolese Armed Forces to help counter the offensive by the M23.
- The Mission’s armed helicopters have been used in terms of civilian protection with the intention of impeding the advance of the M23, in close coordination with the Congolese Armed Forces. The Mission is redeploying its assets to ensure it is present in key forward bases and is working closely with the Congolese Armed Forces regarding the protection of key population centres in North Kivu.
W.I.P.O. CARRIES OUT CAPACITY-BUILDING WORK ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ISSUES
- Asked about the activities of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Spokesperson said that WIPO carries out a wide range of capacity-building programs, approved by its 185 member states, which aim to assist developing countries to use intellectual property for development, and to participate in the global intellectual property system.
- These include programs to assist IP offices in modernizing/automating their information technology systems, so they can process national and international patent and trademark applications more efficiently.
- Standard technical assistance under this program may include needs-assessment, assistance in planning of the modernization of technical infrastructure in IP offices, training for officials, the provision of WIPO’s software for IP office automation, the provision of standard office equipment and other equipment to manage the electronic procedures of IP office functions and services, and follow-up validation.
- As a matter of caution, however, and in light of concerns expressed recently, WIPO will in the future systematically refer relevant cases of technical assistance to countries under a UN sanctions regime to the UN Sanctions Committee.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SUPPORTS RIGHT TO PEACEFUL PROTEST: Asked about protests in Sudan, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General supports the right of all people to engage in peaceful protest.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTRATULATES TIMOR LESTE ON PEACEFUL ELECTIONS: In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General congratulated the people, Government and political parties of Timor-Leste for the peaceful and orderly manner in which parliamentary elections were held on Saturday. The Secretary-General trusts that the same peaceful and democratic spirit which characterized the elections will prevail during the vote counting and subsequent announcement of the election results.