HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
FRIDAY, 11 JANUARY 2013
JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRAHIMI DISCUSSES SITUATION IN SYRIA WITH U.S. AND RUSSIAN SENIOR OFFICIALS
- The Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, met in Geneva on Friday with the United States Deputy Secretary of State and the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister.
- Mr. Brahimi spoke to reporters after that meeting.
- He said that during their talks, they all stressed the need for a speedy end to the bloodshed, to the destruction and all forms of violence in Syria.
- He said they also underscored the necessity to reach a political solution based on the Geneva Communiqué of the 30th of June last year.
- Mr. Brahimi said he would continue to engage all Syrian parties as well as other stakeholders in the region and internationally, and that he plans to brief the Security Council later this month.
- Asked about the Syrian Foreign Minister’s comments accusing Mr. Brahimi of bias, the Spokesperson noted that Mr. Brahimi noted on Friday to reporters that the Syrian Government had expressed a point of view but also said they are ready to continue cooperating with him.
- The Secretary-General is aware of the Syrian Government’s statement and Mr. Brahimi’s response, and he continues to support the work of the Joint Special Representative.
SEVERE WINTER CONDITIONS ACROSS SYRIA BRING NEW DIFFICULTIES FOR REFUGEES, SAYS U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that the severe winter conditions across Syria and the surrounding region have brought new difficulties for refugees and other displaced people. At the same time, there has been no let-up in the number of people fleeing Syria into neighbouring countries. As of Thursday, more than 600,000 people were either registered as refugees or being assisted as such.
- In Jordan, the first week of the year has seen a surge in new arrivals with an average of more than 1,100 Syrians crossing the border every day. For people arriving at the border, the Refugee Agency managed on Thursday to send 1,000 blankets and 500 mattresses, along with emergency clothing. The World Food Programme (WFP) also sent 3,000 meals.
- At Za’atari camp, which saw flooding earlier this week, is expected to be dry soon after the Refugee Agency elevated the ground level with gravel and improved drainage. The agency is also distributing five blankets and winter clothing to each new refugee, as well as blankets and mattresses for those whose belongings were affected.
- In Lebanon, the UN Refugee Agency has also increased distribution of blankets, heaters, fuel vouchers, winter clothing, and plastic sheeting. Six thousand 700 families have had their homes weather-proofed, and renovation help has been provided to 5,300 others.
- The Refugee Agency also says that all camps in Turkey were affected by the harsh winter conditions of the past week. The Turkish authorities have done significant work in reinforcing camps against the winter conditions and the UN Refugee Agency has also provided family tents for 83,500 people and blankets and kitchen sets for more than 100,000 people.
- The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, will be in Turkey from the 13 -15 January to visit WFP’s food assistance operation for Syrian refugees and to hold meetings with senior government officials in Ankara and Istanbul.
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR WEST AFRICA IN MALI EARLY NEXT WEEK
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit, will be in the Malian capital, Bamako, early next week, as part of efforts to speed up implementation of the Security Council resolution 2085, including consultations on the political track, which remains essential for addressing the crisis in Mali.
- Mr. Djinnit will also be traveling to other capitals in the sub-region.
- In a press statement issued on Thursday, the members of the Security Council expressed their grave concern over the reported military movements and attacks by terrorist and extremist groups in the north of Mali, in particular their capture of the city of Konna, near Mopti.
- The members of the Council called for a rapid deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).
They also called for the immediate issuance of an agreed political roadmap, which includes serious negotiations with non-extremist Malians in the north and presses for the full restoration of democratic governance.
SECURITY COUNCIL INFORMED OF AGREEMENTS SIGNED BY PARTIES ON CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Security Council heard an update on Thursday on the situation in the Central African Republic by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the country, Margaret Vogt.
- Speaking from Libreville by videconference, Ms. Vogt noted the gains by rebel factions in the Central African Republic since December, and efforts by African and other forces to protect the capital, Bangui, in recent days.
- She also discussed the diplomatic efforts led by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) that began in recent days in Libreville, which her UN team has helped to support.
- Ms. Vogt said that, just today, three agreements had been signed by the parties in Libreville: a declaration of principles to resolve the political and security crisis; a cease-fire agreement; and a political agreement. Under those agreements, President Bozizé would remain in power and a Prime Minister from the opposition would be appointed, with legislative elections to be organized within 12 months.
- Zainab Hawa Bangura, the Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict, also briefed the Council.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED OVER LIVING CONDITIONS OF DISPLACED CIVILIANS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The UN Refugee Agency said on Friday it is seeking immediate and unconditional access to tens of thousands of refugees and civilians displaced by the recent fighting in the north and east of the country.
- The Agency believes that these civilians face deteriorating living conditions and that they need urgent and potentially life-saving help.
- The Central African Republic hosts some 17,000 refugees and 2,500 asylum-seekers. The Refugee Agency calls on all sides to respect the human rights of all civilians and to allow humanitarian access to them. It said that it is particularly worried about some 2,000 Sudanese refugees in the Bambari camp, in the central part of the country – an area under rebel control, and that it is trying to re-establish contact with this refugee population.
- The Refugee Agency said that the looting of several World Food Programme warehouses could cause serious delays to food distribution to refugees. UN agencies are looking for a quick solution for resuming food aid.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE EXPRESSES DISMAY AT EXECUTION OF SRI LANKAN WOMAN IN SAUDI ARABIA
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed its deep dismay on Friday about the execution of a young Sri Lankan woman in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
The Office said that it is deeply troubled by reports of irregularities in her detention and trial.
UNDER SECRETARY-GENERAL LADSOUS IN HAITI TO MARK THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF 2010 EARTHQUAKE
Saturday marks the third anniversary of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, who is in Port-au-Prince, was due to attend a ceremony scheduled to take place at the Mission’s headquarters early on Friday afternoon.
- He was due to deliver a message on behalf of the Secretary-General.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS THE WORLD BANK IN WASHINGTON D.C.
- The Deputy Secretary-General visited the World Bank in Washington, D.C. on Friday, and he met with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, with whom he discussed the opportunity to revitalize the relationship and cooperation between the United Nations and the World Bank.
- They also discussed the commitment by their respective organizations to boost joint efforts on the Millennium Development Goals and the foundation for the Post-2015 process, and how to work jointly to accelerate progress on the Goal concerning sanitation, which is the one that is lagging behind the most.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW ACTING HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY AND SECURITY: The Secretary-General has appointed Kevin Kennedy of the United States as Acting Head of the Department of Safety and Security. Mr. Kennedy will replace Gregory Starr who announced his intention to leave the position of Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security due to personal and family reasons.
USE OF UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES BY U.N. WILL BE DONE ONLY IN COOPERATION WITH D.R. CONGO AUTHORITIES: Asked about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, the Spokesperson reiterated that, as a matter of policy UN Peacekeeping assets and resources are used in line with Security Council mandates, force requirements and guidelines.
Ultimately, he said, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles will be done only in full cooperation with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also to introduce them we would need the support of member states to equip the mission.
Nesirky said that unmanned aerial vehicles, unarmed, are one tool we are considering in order to protect civilians better and to monitor the movements of armed groups.
Any use of such vehicles would depend on the relevant mandate provided by the Security Council.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
12 – 18 JANUARY 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 12 January
At 11:00 a.m., at Park East Synagogue, there will be the Annual Commemoration Service of the UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Sunday, 13 January
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 14 January
At 3:00 p.m., in Conference Room 4 of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a briefing to Member States and Permanent Observers on “UNDG consultations on the post-2015 development agenda”. It will be co-organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).
In Geneva, the 6th session of the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice will begin. It will end on 18 January.
In Geneva, the 62nd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child will begin. It will end on 1 February.
Tuesday, 15 January
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference to launch the Second Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases published by the World Health Organization (WHO). Speakers will include Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, Assistant Director-General of WHO.
Wednesday, 16 January
This morning, there will a meeting of troop-contributing countries on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
At 11:00 a.m., in Conference Room 5 (NLB), there will be a briefing to Member States and Permanent Observers on “Activities of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT)/Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Office”.
In Geneva, there will be a briefing on Syrian refugees in Turkey by Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, upon her return from the Turkish border.
In Geneva, there will a press conference to present the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013 published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Embargoed 17 January 2013 at 6:00 a.m. ECT Geneva Time). Speakers will include Alfredo Calcagno, Head of the Macroeconomic and Development Policies Branch in the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Robert C. Shelburne, Senior Economic Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
Thursday, 17 January
This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on Cyprus. In the afternoon, the Council will hear a briefing on the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), followed by consultations on the same topic.
Friday, 18 January
There are no major events scheduled for today.