HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2012
IN STRASBOURG, SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE’S WORLD FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY
- The Secretary-General delivered the keynote address at the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, France, today, and he pointed to the challenge for leaders to listen to people. Where governments fail to live up to their obligations under international law, we have to remind them to do so. The Secretary-General said that he has consistently urged leaders to stop flouting human rights and start meeting the legitimate demands of their people.
- Before leaving Strasbourg, the Secretary-General met with Moroccan Prime Minister Abdel-Ilah Benkiran. They discussed the process of political reforms in Morocco and the negotiating process on Western Sahara. He also met with Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Jean-Claude Mignon, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
- The Secretary-General is now in Paris, where he will meet with President Hollande tomorrow.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS SYRIA SITUATION HAS DRAMATICALLY WORSENED, THREATENS REGION
- The Secretary-General, addressing the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, said that the situation in Syria has dramatically worsened and is posing serious risks to the stability of Syria’s neighbours and the entire region. He warned that the escalation of the conflict along the Syrian-Turkish border and the impact of the crisis on Lebanon are extremely dangerous. He expressed concern at the continued flow of arms to both the Syrian Government and opposition forces and urged those countries providing arms to stop doing so.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted that today was the sixth consecutive day of firing across the Syrian-Turkish border. He reiterated the Secretary-General’s call for maximum restraint.
- Asked about displaced people within Syria, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations is working with the Syrian Red Crescent to get access to people and tend to their humanitarian needs.
SHELLING IN SOUTHERN KORDOFAN LANDS NEAR HUMANITARIAN COMPOUND, NO INJURIES
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that up to five mortar rounds are reported to have landed in Kadugli town, in South Kordofan -- some landing near the office of a UNICEF compound.
- There have been no reported injuries of any UN staff. However, as a precautionary measure all staff have been relocated to the base of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) outside Kadugli town.
- Nesirky said that the Abyei Mission has confirmed that all international staff and most of the national staff have moved to the UNISFA logistics base, which is about 5 kms from Kadugli town.
- Flights in and out of Kadugli have been put on hold. UNISFA is assessing the situation and the flights are expected to resume soon.
LEGAL PROCESS IN PLACE IN MALDIVES
- Asked about the reported arrest of the former President of the Maldives, the Spokesperson noted that there is a legal process in place, which would be expected to run its course.