HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
THURSDAY, 3 JANUARY 2013
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON PROGRAMME OF WORK, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- This morning the Security Council met in consultations to discuss its programme of work for January.
- The Council will meet again this afternoon to consult on the situation in the Central African Republic.
EASING OF RESTRICTIONS ON GOODS TO GAZA A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT – U.N.
- Asked about the easing of restrictions by Israel on the flow of goods to Gaza, the Spokesperson said that this is something the Secretary-General has called for for a long time, and is a welcome development. This is part of a bigger picture as a result of the cease-fire arrangements that also seek to have guarantees in place for greater security arrangements to ensure that illicit weapons do not enter Gaza.
U.N.-CHAIRED CONFERENCE AIMS TO BOOST SUPPORT FOR SYRIANS IN NEED
- Asked about the forthcoming donors' conference in Kuwait City at the end of the month, the Spokesperson said details are still being worked out by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The United Nations made an appeal on 19 December for funding to address the hardships facing Syrians both inside Syria and seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. This appeal remains underfunded. The Secretary-General sees the Kuwait meeting as an additional fresh push to encourage donor countries to dig even deeper given the continued flow of people within and out of Syria, and in view of the harsh winter conditions.
MEMBER STATES MUST ENSURE DRONE USAGE IN LINE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW
- Asked about drone attacks in various parts of the globe, the Spokesperson drew journalists' attention to the Secretary-General's report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict issued in May 2012. He noted the language on drones is very specific, and calls on Member States to ensure drone usage complies with international law.
NO AGREEMENT BETWEEN U.N. AND REBEL GROUP IN D.R. CONGO
- Asked about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the UN mission there, MONUSCO, deals with the Congolese government under the status of forces agreement, but there is no such arrangement with the M23. A ceasefire is always useful since it implies an absence of violence.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETING WITH ARGENTINE REPRESENTATIVE
- Asked about a letter from the Argentine President to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Spokesperson said that the Argentine Permanent Representative was scheduled to meet with the Deputy Secretary-General on the matter, and that the Deputy Secretary-General was likely to inform her that the Secretary-General's good offices remain available if both states request it.
SYRIA ENVOY HOPES TO MEET WITH U.S., RUSSIA
- Asked about Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi's plans, the Spokesperson said the Mr. Brahimi remains interested in holding a further meeting with the United States and Russia on Syria this month, and in coming to New York.
MYANMAR: U.N. URGES HALT TO ACTIONS ENDANGERING CIVILIANS
- Asked about violence in Kachin in Myanmar, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Myanmar is in close contact with the authorities there. The statement issued yesterday made clear that the Secretary-General calls upon Myanmar authorities to desist from any action that could endanger the lives of civilians in the area. He has urged all sides to work towards political reconciliation to build the basis for a fair and equitable outcome for all. The Spokesperson said that statement applied as much today as it did when issued yesterday.