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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 SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 

WEDNESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2013

 

MALI: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST DEADLY ATTACK ON U.N. MISSION

  • The Secretary-General condemns today’s suicide attack by unknown assailants on a checkpoint of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in Tessalit. A number of Chadian peacekeepers have been killed and injured. It appears there have also been a number of civilian casualties.
  • The Secretary-General offers his condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers and wishes a swift recovery to those wounded.
  • This attack will not deter the determination of the United Nations to support the restoration of security, stability and sustainable peace in Mali.

BAN KI-MOON COMMITTED TO RESOLVING SITUATION OF FORMER RESIDENTS OF IRAQ CAMP, TRUST FUND LAUNCHED

  • The Secretary-General is committed to resolving the situation faced by the former residents of Camp New Iraq (Ashraf) – now residents of Camp Hurriya (Liberty) – in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian standards. 
  • He has taken note of the letters and other expressions of concern over their well-being and safety, from parliamentarians, political figures, civil society groups, and private individuals.
  • Energies should be focused urgently now on the relocation of the residents of Camp Hurriya to safe and secure locations outside of Iraq. This is the only durable and sustainable solution.  While the Secretary-General welcomes the generous offers by Member States that have enabled 240 out of the 3,174 individuals to settle outside of the country, it is essential to pick up the pace of the relocation.  The Secretary-General calls on other Member States to follow suit and to offer residents the opportunity for safe relocation.
  • In this connection, the United Nations is launching a Trust Fund initiative to cover costs relating to the relocation process.  The Secretary-General appeals to Member States to contribute to this Fund.
  • The Secretary-General reiterates the continued responsibility of the Government of Iraq to ensure the safety and security of the residents during their stay in Camp Hurriya.

BRIEFING SECURITY COUNCIL, SENIOR U.N. OFFICIALS VOICE CONCERN OVER DARFUR SECURITY SITUATION

The Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, and the Joint Special Representative of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, briefed the Security Council this morning.

Mr. Chambas said the security situation in Darfur and threats to the Mission and humanitarian personnel continue to be a serious concern. He added that the situation was further complicated by the inter-tribal conflicts that plague the region and have led to a large number of civilian casualties and mass displacement. He said the Mission was working closely with regional, state and local authorities, towards renewed attempts to bring about reconciliation between the conflicting tribal groups.

Mr. Ladsous said that in addition to presenting safety and security challenges for UNAMID and aid personnel, the intensification of conflict has increased the need for protection and humanitarian assistance among the civilian population. He also stressed the need for support for the peace process and efforts to strengthen the rule of law and human rights.

Mr. Ladsous said that, as requested by the Security Council, a review of the Mission has begun with a view toward ensuring that the Mission has the resources, configuration and procedures needed to address these challenges more effectively.

IN DENMARK, SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS NEED FOR CLEAN, EFFICIENT ENERGY

The Secretary-General is on his way back from Denmark, where he spoke today at the launch of the Sustainable Energy for All Energy Efficiency Hub at the UN City in Copenhagen.

He said that access by all to clean, efficient energy will be critical in promoting sustainable development while, at the same time, reducing emissions. The Secretary-General expects the hub, supported by the UN Environment Programme, to stand at the center of efforts to double the global rate of energy efficiency over the next 17 years.

He told reporters earlier in the day that more should be done to unlock the barriers to climate finance that exist across the global economy. He also said that the commitment made by Member States to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 must be implemented.

He also spoke at a Copenhagen Climate Finance Meeting, where he said that the longer we wait, the greater the costs - to communities, businesses, economies and to the planet.

The Secretary-General also talked to Danish University students before heading back to New York, and he encouraged them to look at the harsh realities of our world and help others. The Secretary-General will return to New York today.

SYRIA: 18 SITES NOW VISITED BY CHEMICAL WEAPONS MISSION

The Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations dealing with Syria’s chemical weapons programme reports that it has now visited 18 of the sites disclosed by Syria.

The team adds that Syria’s work to render critical equipment inoperable has begun at nearly all those sites.

Asked about Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi’s movements, the Spokesperson said he is visiting the region as he makes preparations to hold an International Conference on Syria next month.

DISCUSSIONS UNDER WAY ON U.N. TRUST FUND FOR SYRIA JOINT MISSION

In response to a question on the UN trust fund that is being set up to help finance the joint mission in Syria, the Spokesperson said that there are discussions with a number of donors but no contributions have been received so far.

At this stage, planning is in full swing for the joint mission.

Costs are going to be met in the first instance from the regular UN budget and, as necessary, from the trust fund. So this is still a work in progress.

The donation of armoured vehicles has nothing to do with the trust fund.

In addition to the 10 armoured vehicles donated by the United States, the European Union is providing 10 and the United Kingdom is providing two.

Canada flew the 10 US armoured vehicles to Lebanon.

Sweden has put a transport aircraft at the disposal of the Mission for two months.

U.N. AGENCIES, PARTNERS TAKING STOCK OF HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO

The Emergency Directors of eight UN agencies and non-governmental organizations are in Goma taking stock of the humanitarian crisis that has displaced more than one million people in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Yesterday, they visited Bulengo, a site hosting more than 55.000 internally displaced people. The delegation also met with North Kivu authorities.

Today, the Emergency Directors went to the town of Kibirizi, western Rutshuru, where they saw the distribution of relief items for more than 2,000 displaced people.

On behalf of the delegation, John Ging, the Director of operations of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the visit was a sign of solidarity with the people of North Kivu and a testament to the commitment to deliver humanitarian assistance to those most in need.

Asked about a World Food Programme (WFP) announcement that it would scale back activities in the DRC because of a lack of funds, the Spokesperson said that the purpose of the trip by the United Nations and NGOs is to raise the spotlight on humanitarian needs and the funding shortfall.

COMMITTEE MONITORING IMPLEMENTATION OF BAKASSI PENINSULA AGREEMENT HOLDS FINAL MEETING

The Follow-Up Committee established to monitor the implementation of the agreement on the Bakassi Peninsula held its final meeting in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday.

The three heads of delegations to the Committee adopted and signed a joint statement in which the delegations of Cameroon and Nigeria confirm that the special transitional regime for a period of five years ended on 14 August of this year and that as of this date, Cameroon has full sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula.

The Chair of the Committee, Said Djinnit, who is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, praised both parties for their commitment that led to the conclusion of the process of implementing the agreement. He stressed that this process is a good example of preventive diplomacy.

TUBERCULOSIS NUMBERS FALL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION REPORTS

In a new report published today, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the number of people ill with tuberculosis fell last year to 8.6 million, with deaths also decreasing to 1.3 million.

The new data confirm that the world is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of reversing tuberculosis incidence, along with the target of a 50% reduction in the mortality rate by 2015, compared with 1990.

However, WHO says that gains in tuberculosis control are at risk because of drug resistance and because 3 million patients are hard to reach through health systems. Insufficient resources for tuberculosis are at the heart of both of those challenges.