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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 FARHAN HAQ,
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

FRIday, 25 JANUARY 2013

SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES GREEN GROWTH FINANCING AND EDUCATION SESSIONS AT WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

  • The Secretary-General today is wrapping up his visit to Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum. He started his day with a discussion on the theme, "A New Vision for Agriculture: Accelerating Impact."
  • The Secretary-General met with Najib Mikati, Prime Minister of Lebanon. They discussed the regional situation, particularly the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon. The Secretary-General recognized Lebanon’s generous assistance to refugees from Syria and reiterated the UN’s commitment to mobilize support for such efforts.
  • He attended a World Economic Forum session on financing green growth and a discussion on post-2015.
  • The Secretary-General then took part in a plenary session on global education, moderated by his Special Envoy, Gordon Brown.
  • On Saturday, he will travel to Addis Ababa for the next leg of his trip.
  • Asked about reported comments from Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu criticising UN efforts in Syria, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General met in Davos on Thursday with Mr. Davutoglu, and that they had exchanged views on the crisis in Syria and prospects for a political settlement.
  • The Secretary-General had also met with Mr. Davutoglu last month when he had visited Turkey, and they constructive discussions on Syria then.

ON SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF REVOLUTION, SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES UNITED NATIONS’ SUPPORT TO EGYPTIAN PEOPLE

  • As Egyptians mark the second anniversary of their revolution, the Secretary-General extends to them his warmest wishes and reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support the Egyptian people and government in their efforts to build a more inclusive and democratic future. 
  • Even as Egyptians engage vigorously in debate, the Secretary-General encourages them to remain committed to universal principles of: peaceful dialogue and non-violence, inclusiveness, respect for human rights and the independence of institutions, and democratic processes which are accommodating of the diversity of viewpoints. He underscores the importance of the active participation of women in decision-making. 
  • The Secretary-General believes these are the foundations that can provide the stable, hopeful and dignified future for which the Egyptian people struggled so courageously in their revolution.

WEST AFRICA ENVOY CALLS ON ALL MALIAN PARTIES TO RESPECT HUMANITARIAN LAW, HUMAN RIGHTS

  • Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, briefed the Security Council this morning on recent challenges in the region, specifically in Mali and the Sahel.
  • He said that, as hostilities are carried out in Mali, he calls on all the parties and forces to ensure full compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights norms.
  • Mr. Djinnit welcomed the commitment that Security Council members have consistently expressed in their support for the military and political tracks to proceed hand in hand. He said we must ensure that the political process is not neglected and that efforts to consolidate and strengthen the transition process in Mali continue.
  • He added that the situation in Mali is an example of the fragility and vulnerability that prevails in the whole Sahel region.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS SYRIANS ARRIVING IN RECORD NUMBERS IN JORDAN

  • The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that Jordan has experienced a record number of refugees crossing, with over 30,000 arriving in Za' atri camp since the beginning of the year.
  • On Thursday, over 4,400 Syrian refugees arrived in Za' atri camp. A further 2000 arrived during the night.
  • UNHCR is working with the Government of Jordan and partners to prepare a second major camp close to Za’atri, which will be known as Halabat camp. The Agency hopes to open the camp by the end of the month.
  • In the meantime, the agency is increasing its number of staff at Za'atri to respond to the new arrivals and the growing needs of the refugees in the camp. 
  • Tens of thousands of tents are also being delivered by truck to the warehouses in Za’atri.

UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES TO BE USED ON CASE-BY-CASE BASIS IN D.R.CONGO

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted that the Security Council has approved the trial use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) on a case-by-case basis by the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). 
  • He added that UN Peacekeeping assets and resources are used in line with Security Council mandates, force requirements and guidelines.
  • Asked about procurement, Haq said that, in this particular case, a procurement procedure has been launched.
  • Asked about consent from nations, he said that formal written consent has been received from the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to deploy these assets. Neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region have also been notified.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS EXPRESSED CONCERN OVER USE OF DRONES FOR TARGETTED ATTACKS

  • Asked about a report by the independent rapporteur who deals with the promotion of human rights while countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson, the Spokesperson noted that Mr. Emmerson is due to present his report to the sixty-eighth GA session later this year.
  • For his part, the Spokesperson said, the Secretary-General has expressed concern by the use of armed drones for targeted attacks, as it raises questions about compliance with the fundamental principle of distinction between combatants and non-combatants.
  • Drone attacks also reportedly have caused substantial numbers of civilian casualties, raising questions about the ability to ensure full compliance with the principle of proportionality.
  • Haq added that the Secretary-General has urged relevant Member States to be transparent about the circumstances in which drones are used and the means by which they ensure that attacks involving drones comply with international law.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CELEBRATES UNSUNG HEROES IN HOLOCAUST COMMEMORATION

  • There was a ceremony to mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust today, and the Secretary-General delivered a video message to the ceremony, saying that we celebrate those who had the courage to care.
  • He said that some people were able to escape the slaughter of the Holocaust because a few brave souls risked their lives and their families to rescue Jews and other victims of persecution from almost certain death. This year’s observance is meant to give those unsung heroes the regard they deserve.
  • The Secretary-General said that we should be inspired by those who had the courage to care – the ordinary people who took extraordinary steps to defend human dignity. Their example is as relevant today as ever.
  • In a world where extremist acts of violence and hatred capture the headlines on an almost daily basis, we must remain ever vigilant. Let us all have the courage to care, he said, so we can build a safer, better world today.

SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMITTED TO WORKING WITH STAFF, MEMBER STATES TO CARRY OUT U.N. WORK

  • Asked about reports that New York’s UN staff union had passed a vote of no confidence on Thursday, the Spokesperson said he had not seen the resolution and as such could not comment on it. 
  • He reiterated the commitment of the Secretary-General to working with staff and Member States to address concerns, strengthen the organization and carry out the UN’s work at a time of global financial pressure. 

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
26 JANUARY- 1 FEBRUARY 2013

(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)

Saturday, 26 January

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Sunday, 27 January

The Secretary-General will attend the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union., in Addis Ababa.

Monday, 28 January

At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Mr. John Ging, Operations Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, will be guest at the Noon Briefing. He will brief on the situation in Syria.

Tuesday, 29 January

This morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing on United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). It will hold consultations on the same subject as well as on United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA). In the afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on Syria.

Wednesday, 30 January

The Secretary-General will be in Kuwait City where he will chair the high-level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria.

This morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing and hold consultations on the Rule of Law.

At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Ms. Ann-Marie Orler, United Nations Police Adviser, will be guest at the Noon Briefing.

Thursday, 31 January

At 12:30 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by H.E. Mr. Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan and President of the Security Council for the month of January.

Friday, 1 February

From 11:00 to 13:00, in Conference Room 2 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on “Hate speech and incitement to genocide” (co-organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the Office of the Special Reporter on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Permanent Mission of Norway)

The Republic of Korea will assume the Presidency of the Security Council, replacing Pakistan.