HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
MONDAY, 7 JANUARY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL DISAPPOINTED THAT NO SOLUTION TO PEOPLE’S SUFFERING GIVEN IN SYRIAN LEADER’S SPEECH
- In a statement, the Secretary-General said that what the Syrian people desperately need at this time are real solutions to the crisis that is tearing their nation apart. In this regard, the Secretary-General was disappointed that the speech by President Bashar al Assad on 6 January does not contribute to a solution that could end the terrible suffering of the Syrian people. The speech rejected the most important element of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, namely a political transition and the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers that would include representatives of all Syrians.
- The United Nations remains committed to do its utmost, in cooperation with other partners, to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people inside and outside Syria. The United Nations will also continue to help the people of Syria fulfill their legitimate aspirations for peace, dignity, freedom, justice and democracy in a united and sovereign Syria.
- The Secretary-General reaffirms his long-held view that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. The Secretary-General and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi have worked and continue to work towards a political solution to the conflict through a political transition that includes the establishment of a transitional Government and the holding of free and fair elections under the auspices of the United Nations.
- Now more than ever, it is critically urgent that the international community comes together to assist the Syrian people build, as early as possible in 2013, a new and democratic Syria - one where the rights of all groups and minorities are properly protected.
- Asked about Syria, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General continues to be concerned about the spill-over effects of the Syrian conflict on neighbouring states. He went on to say that what are needed are real solutions with fair and free elections in Syria preceded by the establishment of a transitional government. There needs to be a new and democratic Syria as soon as possible, and one where the rights of all groups and minorities are protected. Nesirky underscored that any transition must be Syrian led and Syrian owned. He reported that Joint Special Representative Brahimi is finalising arrangements for a meeting with the United States and Russia and a visit to New York. He concluded saying that further militarisation of the situation is undesirable.
SYRIA ENVOY HOLDS MEETINGS WITH TOP OFFICIALS OF EGYPT, QATAR AND IRAN
- On the activities of the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesperson said that Mr. Brahimi met yesterday in Cairo with the President of the Syrian National Coalition, Moaz Khattib, as well as with the Vice Presidents, Riad Seif and George Sabra.
- Today, the Joint Special Representative will be meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar.
- Tomorrow evening, Mr. Brahimi will meet the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Akbar Salehi.
U.N. CONFIRMS ARREST OF NEPALESE OFFICER SERVING IN SUDAN
- Asked about the Nepalese Officer serving with the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) arrested recently in the United Kingdom on human rights charges, the Spokesperson said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations can confirm that that Colonel Kumar Lama, who was arrested by British police on 4 January, was serving as an Expert on Mission in UNMISS. He said experts on Mission are individual military or police experts put forward for UN peacekeeping duties by their government and the onus is on the contributing Member State to ensure these experts have no relevant convictions or judicial or other disciplinary procedures pending, or pending allegations of serious human rights violations. Nesirky added that DPKO is following up this matter with the Government of Nepal. To strengthen existing procedures, the Secretariat has in the past year finalised a detailed policy for vetting UN personnel. This policy has recently been approved by the Secretary-General, and the UN is rolling out implementation in the coming months.
CASUALTIES REPORTED IN FIGHTING IN NORTH DARFUR
- Asked about reports of violence in Darfur, the Spokesperson said that the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) received reports of fighting between Beni Hussein and Aula Daja nomadic tribes that took place on 5 and 6 January in Jabel Amer area, North Darfur. He noted that a number of casualties were reported as a result of fighting over gold mining revenues. Some of the injured persons are receiving medical treatment at UNAMID hospital in Kabkabiya, as well as in Saraf Umra hospitals. Nesirky said efforts are being made to reduce tensions there.
BAN URGES CONTINUED CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE FOR CHINA IN REGIONAL, GLOBAL BODIES
- Asked about the role of regional organisations and China's role in regional and global organisations, the Spokesperson said China is a very important player in many regional and global organisations, and the Secretary-General encourages China to continue playing the constructive role it has played to date. He said the role of regional organisations is important since very often the topics they handle can be dealt with more effectively there than in global forums.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY’S FUNDING SHORTFALL: Asked about funding shortfalls faced by the Palestinian Authority, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General is concerned about this, and has urged in the past those countries that have supported the Palestinian Authority to continue doing so.
U.N. MISSION SEEKING INFORMATION ON KASHMIR INCIDENT: Asked about a reported incident in Kashmir, the Spokesperson said that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is aware of the media reports on this and is liaising with the Pakistani Army and local authorities in the concerned area (Rawalakot) to obtain further information.
JOURNALISTS MUST BE ABLE TO WORK WITHOUT INTIMIDATION: Asked about the recent arrest of two journalists in South Sudan, the Spokesperson said that journalists must be allowed to carry out their work free of intimidation.