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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 MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

WEDNESDAY, 9 JANUARY 2013

JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR RUSSIA TO HOLD NEW MEETING WITH RUSSIA, UNITED STATES ON FRIDAY

  • The Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will meet at the UN Headquarters in Geneva on Friday with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and United States Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
  • The meeting is aimed at furthering their discussions to arrive at a political solution to the crisis in Syria.
  • Further details on media arrangements will be provided in Geneva closer to the time.
  • Asked about the meeting on Friday, the Spokesperson said that Mr. Brahimi had been in touch with the Secretary-General on his recent contacts, adding that he has the full support of the Secretary-General.
  • He said that an important series of discussions has been going on, adding that Mr. Brahimi has also met in Cairo in recent days with a range of officials from other countries.
  • Asked about the potential use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had repeatedly called on the Syrian Government not to use such weapons and to keep any chemical weapons stockpiles safe and secure. He has been in touch with the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on the matter.
  • Asked about conditions of Syrian refugees in camps run by the UN Refugee Agency, Nesirky emphasized the integrity of the Agency and its staff as they go about their work trying to provide assistance to the large number of people in need. He noted the rough conditions on the ground following a severe winter storm and the efforts by humanitarian workers to deal with those conditions.
  • He noted that there would be a donor conference at the end of the month to look at the bigger picture concerning the humanitarian situation in Syria and the wider region.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS WITH JAPAN’S NEW PRIME MINISTER, TALKS ABOUT COUNTRY’S ROLE AND D.P.R.K.

  • The Secretary-General spoke by telephone on Tuesday night with H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.
  • The Secretary-General congratulated the Prime Minister of Japan for his appointment. He expressed his support to the Prime Minister’s intention to strengthen Japan’s economy and reconstruction after the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
  • The Secretary-General stressed the importance of Japan’s role in Northeast Asia, and commended Japan’s efforts regarding nuclear disarmament.
  • He expressed his concern for North Korea’s use of nuclear weapons, and also referred to his preoccupation with the humanitarian situation in that country, and to the need to resolve the issue of abductions.
  • The Prime Minister of Japan concurred with the Secretary-General in the importance of the issues raised by him and expressed his determination to strengthen the relationships between Japan and the UN, and between Japan and its neighbouring countries. He agreed on the need for resolute Security Council action on the use of nuclear weapons by North Korea. The Prime Minister also expressed his willingness to work in the improvement of the human rights situation in North Korea and in resolving the issue of abductions.
  • The Prime Minister referred to Japan’s strong support to the United Nations and commended the Secretary-General’s work in the management of the UN and his efforts to improve the situation in Syria.

HEAD OF DARFUR MISSION CONCERNED OVER FIGHTING, DISPLACEMENTS IN CENTRAL DARFUR

  • The Acting Joint Special Representative of the African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Aichatou Mindaoudou, visited Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur State, on Tuesday.
  • She held talks with the Wali – the Governor -- of Central Darfur, who informed her that armed groups had taken control of the towns of Golo and Rockero in west Jebel Marra and that approximately 850 families had been displaced.
  • The acting chief of the Mission expressed serious concerns over the ongoing fighting in west Jebel Marra -- which endangers the safety of the civilian population in the area. She assured the Governor of the Mission’s continued assistance in facilitating humanitarian assistance to all those in need.
  • She also stressed that all parties involved in the conflict should respect their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

D.R.CONGO: UNITED NATIONS IS CONSIDERING WAYS TO STRENGHTEN ABILITY OF MISSION TO PROTECT CIVILIANS

  • Asked about a request by the Secretary-General concerning aerial resources, the Spokesperson confirmed a letter from the Secretary-General to the Security Council President on 27 December, saying that the letter is on the broader issue of additional resources to strengthen the capacities of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to carry out its mandate. In the letter there is also mention of unmanned aerial vehicles, but only as part of other requested resources.
  • Nesirky added, on the issue of such unmanned aerial vehicles, that the United Nations is considering a range of ways to strengthen the capabilities of MONUSCO to protect civilians from the threat of armed groups in the vast area of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), unarmed, are one tool we are considering in order to protect civilians better and to monitor the movements of armed groups.
  • If and when we were to use UAV on trial basis in DRC, the Spokesperson said, the usual procedures and consultations with legislative bodies would be respected.
  • As a matter of policy, UN Peacekeeping assets and resources are used in line with Security Council mandates, force requirements and guidelines.
  • Ultimately the use of UAVs would be done only in full cooperation with the DRC Government. Also, to introduce them, Nesirky added, the United Nations would need the support of Member States to equip the mission.

U.N. MONITORS URGE PAKISTAN AND INDIA TO DE-ESCALATE TENSIONS THROUGH DIALOGUE

  • Asked about recent reported incidents in Kashmir, the Spokesperson said that, regarding the 6 January alleged incident, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, or UNMOGIP, has received an official complaint from the Pakistan Army and will conduct an investigation as soon as possible in accordance with its mandate.
  • On the 8 January alleged incident, no official complaint has been received either from the Pakistan Army or Indian Army.
  • Nesirky said that UNMOGIP is aware that the Pakistan Army and Indian Army are in contact via the Hotline and urges both sides to respect the cease-fire and de-escalate tensions through dialogue.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET WITH COORDINATOR FOR D.P.R.K. PANEL OF EXPERTS: In response to a question, the Spokesperson confirmed that the Secretary-General will meet in the afternoon with Martin Uden, the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1874 (2009). 

AT LEAST 52 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE ARE DOMESTIC WORKERS: The International Labour Organization (ILO) says that at least 52 million people around the world – mainly women -are employed as domestic workers in the first research of its kind released today. The International Labour Organization says that it is likely that the figures contained in the report underestimate the true numbers of domestic workers worldwide, which may in reality be tens of millions more.