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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSday, 24 JANUARY 2013

IN DAVOS, SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES SYRIA, SAHEL AND MEETS WITH WORLD LEADERS

  • This morning, the Secretary-General arrived in Davos, Switzerland, where he is taking part in the World Economic Forum.
  • The Secretary-General delivered a special address - focusing on Syria and the Sahel - to the World Economic Forum this afternoon.
  • On Syria, he said that it will be essential for the Security Council to overcome its deadlock and find the unity that will make meaningful action possible.  And he said that the United Nations is fully committed to helping Mali in its hour of need.  That assistance will necessarily run from security efforts to those in the humanitarian and political areas.
  • The Secretary-General’s first event of the day was a meeting on water resources.
  • He also is meeting with a number of leaders, including a meeting this morning with Ahmet Davutoglu, the Foreign Minister of Turkey. They exchanged views on the crisis in Syria and prospects for a political settlement. The Secretary-General once again expressed his appreciation for Turkey’s generous hosting of Syrian refugees since the start of the crisis.
  • The Secretary-General also met with Otto Pérez Molina, President of Guatemala. They discussed the important efforts being made by Guatemala to fight impunity and insecurity, as well as the renewal of the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

BURUNDI MADE FURTHER PROGRESS TOWARD PEACE AND STABILITY, U.N. ENVOY TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL

  • The Security Council met on Burundi this morning, and heard from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to that country, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga.
  • He said that Burundi has traveled a long path out of the cycle of violence that plagued it for over four decades. Throughout 2012, Burundi has continued to make further progress in consolidating peace and stability.
  • He added that, with the 2015 electoral campaign just two years away, it is now essential that both, government and opposition play their part in ensuring a continuing consensual approach in dealing with the challenges ahead.
  • Earlier, the Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic by one year, and the mandate of the UN Force in Cyprus by six months.
  • This afternoon at 3:00, the Council will have an open briefing and consultations on Darfur.

U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS IN TUZ KHURMATO, IRAQ

  • Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, condemned in the strongest terms today the attack against innocent civilians mourning their beloved in a mosque in Tuz Khurmato, which killed and injured dozens.
  • He said that such attacks aim to heighten tensions in this particularly sensitive region, and he called on all people of Iraq to resist vicious attempts to undermine their drive for peace and stability. He urged all Iraqi leaders to work without delay on defusing such an alarming situation.

 OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. TEAM, INCLUDING HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICERS, IN MALI: Asked about reports of reprisal killings by Malian forces, the Spokesperson said that the first staff of a UN multi-disciplinary team, including human rights officers, has arrived in Mali. He said that the United Nations has said that there should be no impunity for human rights violations and that there needs to be full accountability.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS A PRIORITY FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL: Asked about climate change, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has said that climate change is one of his top priorities. He added that the Secretary-General will hold a conference of leaders on climate change in 2014 to move the process of a new agreement on climate change forward.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS CALLED ON D.P.R.K. NOT TO EXACERBATE TENSIONS: Asked about the comments from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) about a possible future nuclear test, the Spokesperson recalled that, in a recent statement, the Secretary-General urged the DPRK to fully abide by all relevant resolutions. In particular, he called upon the DPRK to refrain from taking any measures that can exacerbate tensions on the peninsula, including any further launches that use ballistic missile technology or a nuclear test.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CEREMONY TO BE HELD FRIDAY: The United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony will take place Friday at 11:00 a.m., in the General Assembly at UN Headquarters. The ceremony, with the theme "Rescue during the Holocaust: The Courage to Care", will include a video message from the Secretary-General, as well as remarks by the President of the General Assembly, and a keynote address delivered by Holocaust survivor Mordecai Paldiel. Ethel Brooks, Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, will speak about the Romani experience during the Holocaust.

****The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Margaret Vogt, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) who briefed by video-link.