HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2012
ROMANO PRODI OF ITALY NAMED NEW SAHEL ENVOY
- The Secretary-General has appointed Mr. Romano Prodi of Italy as his Special Envoy for the Sahel.
- The Special Envoy will undertake good offices on behalf of the Secretary-General, particularly in support of national, regional and international mediation efforts in the sub-region, and especially regarding cross-border and transnational issues. He will help generate, sustain and coordinate international engagement in support of national efforts of Sahelian countries to address this multifaceted crisis, including with an initial focus on Mali.
- The Secretary-General looks forward to Mr. Prodi’s leadership in shaping and mobilizing an effective United Nations and international response to the complex crisis plaguing the countries and people of this region.
- Asked about Mr. Prodi’s position, the Spokesperson said it is a full-time position at the Under-Secretary-General. He will be based in Italy and have staff to support him. The Special Envoy will report to the Department for Political Affairs.
IN FRANCE, SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN OVER SYRIA SITUATION
- The Secretary-General is wrapping up his visit to France, after meeting with French President François Hollande. He also met with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius last night.
- The Secretary-General and the President discussed Mali and the Sahel, and the Secretary-General pointed to the need to establish a global strategy to deal with the Sahel’s cross-border problems: arms, refugees and terrorism.
- After his meeting with President Hollande, the Secretary-General told reporters that he remains concerned by the situation in Syria, and that the escalation of the conflict along the Turkey-Syria border and the repercussions of the crisis for Lebanon and other neighbouring countries are extremely dangerous.
- Asked about the fighting in Syria, the Secretary-General said that it is unacceptable, adding that he had conveyed a strong message to the Syrian Government that it should immediately declare a unilateral ceasefire. He said that the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, would continue to discuss the matter.
- The Secretary-General also spoke to the Executive Board of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
- He is scheduled to return to New York this evening.
- Asked about reports of arms transfers into Syria, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General has said that the further militarization of the Syrian conflict is unhelpful and detrimental to the search for a peaceful solution. The Secretary-General once more called on all parties to stop sending arms into Syria.
- Asked about tensions at the Syria-Turkey border, Nesirky noted that the Secretary-General has called for maximum restraint.
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF INTERNATIONAL FORCE IN AFGHANISTAN
- This morning the Security Council extended the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and stressed the importance of increasing, in a comprehensive framework, the professionalism and accountability of the Afghan security sector.
- The Council was also briefed by the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Justice Shireen Avis Fisher, as well as the Chief Prosecutor of the Court, Brenda Hollis.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS VIOLENCE PERPETRATED BY ARMED GROUPS IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO
- In a message to a meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Kampala, yesterday, the Secretary-General said he remains deeply concerned at the security and humanitarian conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which continue to deteriorate and pose a threat to stability in the wider Great Lakes region.
- He once again condemned the violence and serious human rights violations committed by the M23 and other armed groups against civilians. He said these need to be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators must be held accountable. All support to the M23 and other armed groups in eastern DRC must cease immediately and permanently.
- He offered his good offices, when and if appropriate, to help find a peaceful solution to the situation in eastern DRC.
ONE OUT OF EIGHT PEOPLE HUNGRY, NEW U.N. REPORT FINDS
- Nearly 870 million people, one out of every eight people, suffered from chronic undernourishment from 2010 to 2012, according to a new United Nations report.
- The vast majority of the hungry live in developing countries, says the report, which was jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
- It also says that the global number of the hungry declined by 132 million between the period from 1990-1992 to 2010-2012.
- This year’s report presents better estimates of chronic undernourishment based on an improved methodology and data for the last two decades.
U.N. FLIGHTS RESUME IN ABYEI
- In response to questions asked on Monday, the Spokesperson said that flights by the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) resumed on Monday.
- Also, he said, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan issued a statement yesterday afternoon, in which he condemned the indiscriminate mortar attacks in the South Kordofan state capital, Kadugli.
- Regarding humanitarian access in Kadugli, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations did not have access to areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). But he said help was being provided to some 120,000 people in Government-held South Kordofan in need, although more access was needed.
U.N. SPOTLIGHTS NEED TO LINK SECURITY, DEVELOPMENT IN AFGHANISTAN: Asked about the Secretary-General’s concerns about Afghanistan in the period after 2014, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Jan Kubis, spoke to the press today about the UN’s work in the country. The Spokesperson noted the need to link security and development; the importance of the electoral process and of an Afghan-led reconciliation process; and the protection of human rights.
U.N. URGES DUE PROCESS IN BAHRAIN TRIALS: Asked about trials in Bahrain, the Spokesperson reiterated the views of the United Nations concerning the need for due process.
INVESTIGATION PHASE WRAPS UP INVOLVING U.N. STAFFER IN WEST BANK: Asked about a tweet made last year in West Bank by a UN staff member, the Spokesperson said that the investigation phase into the matter has been completed. He declined to provide further details while the recommendations would be shared with the concerned staff member.