HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, OCTOBER 2012
KILLINGS, DESTRUCTION TOP SECRETARY-GENERAL’S MEETING WITH SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
- The Secretary-General met on Monday with Mr. Walid Al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic.
- The Secretary-General raised in the strongest terms the continued killings, massive destruction, human rights abuses, and aerial and artillery attacks committed by the Government. He stressed that it was the Syrian people who were being killed everyday, and appealed to the Government of Syria to show compassion to its own people.
- The Secretary-General noted that reduction of violence could prepare the Government for a political process. He expressed deep frustration that, after 19 months of repression and fighting, the situation was still getting worse.
- The Secretary-General and Foreign Minister discussed the growing humanitarian crisis inside Syria, and which was spilling over into neighbouring countries to an alarming degree.
- Asked about Egyptian proposals concerning how to address the crisis in Syria, the Spokesperson said that, during the past week, the Secretary-General spoke with many leaders, including the President of Egypt, and discussed the situation in Syria with them. He heard suggestions on the way forward from a number of countries. All such initiatives need to be coordinated carefully with the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, who also met with a large number of leaders over the past week.
- Asked when the Secretary-General last spoke to President Bashar al-Asssad, the Spokesperson said that was a long time ago, but he added that, in addition to meeting with the Foreign Minister on Monday, the Secretary-General met with Syria’s Prime Minister in Iran last month.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS SMALL STATES’ ROLE IN PROMOTING GLOBAL PEACE
- The Secretary-General spoke on Monday morning at the opening session of the conference of the Forum on Small States, which is marking its 20th anniversary.
- He noted that the premise for the Forum stems from the understanding that there are experiences and perspectives shared by the world’s smaller nations, which make up more than half of United Nations membership, and that there are benefits in working collectively at the United Nations.
- The Secretary-General said that despite their size, small states can meaningfully contribute to global peace and development.
BAN KI-MOON TO URGE REMAINING STATES TO JOIN CHEMICAL WEAPONS PACT
- On Monday afternoon, the Secretary-General will address a high-level meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), on the fifteenth anniversary of the Convention that the Organization was set up to implement.
- The Chemical Weapons Convention now has 188 States Parties, and three-quarters of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been eliminated. The Secretary-General will say that this is a remarkable achievement, and he will urge the eight States that are not yet Party to the Convention to join without delay.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY FACING UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS LEVEL
- The head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Antonio Guterres, said on Monday that the Agency was facing a level of refugee crises unmatched in its recent history, with simultaneous new emergencies in Syria, Mali, Sudan and South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- In a speech to the opening of the annual meeting of Refugee Agency's Executive Committee, Mr. Guterres said that in 2011 more than 800,000 people crossed borders in search of refuge and that this was higher than at any time in the last decade. He added that so far this year, more than 700,000 people have fled from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Sudan and Syria.
- Mr. Guterres said that the capacity of the Agency to help the world's forcibly displaced was being “radically tested” by this acceleration in new crises.
RECOGNITION A MATTER FOR MEMBER STATES: Asked about Guinea-Bissau and its status at the UN, the Spokesperson said that the question of recognition of authorities is a matter for Member States. He added that the UN’s position on Guinea-Bissau is based on Security Council resolution 2048.
CYPRIOT COMMUNITIES COULD BENEFIT FROM NATURAL RESOURCES: Asked about natural resources in Cyprus, the Spokesperson re-affirmed that an agreement between the parties on the island could help the communities benefit from the use of natural resources there.