HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 28 OCTOBER 2013
[The noon briefing was replaced on Monday, 28 October, by a press event to announce the designation of Lang Lang as a UN Messenger of Peace. Highlights of developments throughout the UN system for Monday are posted below.]
SECRETARY-GENERAL’S REMARKS ON THE DESIGNATION OF LANG LANG AS A MESSENGER OF PEACE
- Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the media.
- This is a very special day for the United Nations. I am very grateful and impressed by such a big turnout of journalists today. When I had a press conference, not as many journalists have participated. But we have Lang Lang today and this hall is full. Thank you very much for your participation.
- Lang Lang is one of the most exciting and accomplished musicians of our time.
- He has performed for world leaders and worked with some of the greatest orchestras and maestros. We all saw him play at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
- But he has also used his art and ability to inspire audiences to improve the lives of children everywhere around the world.
- For the past 10 years, Lang Lang has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
- We are thrilled that he has agreed to expand his work as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
- Messengers of Peace play a vital role in sharing what the United Nations does and why it matters.
- Lang Lang will work with us on one of my biggest priorities, global education.
- My Global Education First Initiative focuses on three goals: first, getting every child in the world in school -- we still have 57 million school-aged children out of school; we have to get them in school --improving the quality of learning; and also fostering global citizenship.
- Lang Lang is a true global citizen.
- I understand that he first became interested in the piano in a most unusual way – as a three-year old watching Tom and Jerry cartoons!
- You’ve come a long way!
- Music has the power to open hearts and minds.
- Through his playful spirit and profound talent, Lang Lang connects people, not only through his music, but also through his passion to build a better world through education.
- I know Lang Lang’s message will strike a chord from symphony halls to school halls.
- It is with great pleasure and pride that I designate Lang Lang as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
- Lang Lang, congratulations and great work for peace in the world.
VERIFICATION ACTIVITIES COMPLETED AT 21 CHEMICAL WEAPONS RELATED SITES IN SYRIA
- The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that, as of Monday, its inspectors in the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria completed verification activities at 21 of the 23 chemical weapons related sites declared by Syria.
- The two remaining sites have not been visited due to security reasons. Efforts by the Joint Mission to ensure the conditions necessary for safe access to those sites will continue.
- It added that Syria submitted a formal declaration of its chemical weapons programme three days ahead of the 27 October deadline, together with a general plan of destruction, for consideration by the OPCW Executive Council.
- Separately, the Special Coordinator for the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, Sigrid Kaag, will be travelling to The Hague from Cyprus to brief the OPCW's Executive Council later this week. Next week, she will brief the Security Council before returning to the region.
- Also on Syria, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, arrived in Damascus on Monday. He expects to meet with President Bashar al-Assad and other Government officials, members of the opposition and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
D.R.CONGO: NORTH KIVU REMAINS TENSE, U.N. MISSION DEPLOYED IN KIWANJA
- The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) reports that the situation in North Kivu remains very tense, although the fighting between the M23 and the Congolese has ceased. As of this morning, there was no fighting in the Kiwanja-Rutshuru area.
- The Mission adds that, on Sunday, the Congolese army took full control of the towns of Kiwanja and Rutshuru. MONUSCO deployed troops in the city of Kiwanja to protect civilians and repulsed an attack by the M23 against Governor’s Hill, above the Kiwanja Camp for internally displaced persons.
- Also on Sunday, a Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed by fire from the M23 when protecting civilians on the Kiwanja-Rutshuru axis. The Secretary-General condemned the killing in the strongest terms. He said the United Nations remains committed to taking all necessary actions in line with Security Council resolution 2098 (2013) to protect civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Early this morning, the Congolese army continued clearing operations east and south-east of the Kiwanja-Rutshuru axis, as well as towards M23 pockets at the border. The Congolese army now has control of the main commercial axes in the north and south: Mabenga-Kiwanja-Rutshuru-Burai Junction-Rubare-Kalengera-Katale (north) and Goma-Munigi-Kibumba-Rugari-Rumangabo (south).
- The Mission remains on high alert. Peacekeepers are patrolling the areas and the Mission is conducting aerial reconnaissance flights in an effort to protect civilians.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the country, Martin Kobler, who was in Goma over the weekend, will brief the Security Council via videoconference this afternoon on the latest developments.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICE CONCERNED ABOUT SECURITY SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that humanitarian organizations are concerned about the security situation in northern Central African Republic, where thousands of people have been displaced due to renewed fighting between armed groups.
- Up to 5,000 people are reported to be displaced in Bouar.
- Humanitarian organizations launched a measles vaccination campaign earlier this month in response to an outbreak which has affected an estimated 600 people. The first phase of the campaign, which aims to reach 550,000 children under five, covers four regions, including the capital, Bangui.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. MISSION CONDEMNS ATTACK
· The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned an attack on Sunday in Andar district, in the southeastern province of Ghazni, where an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated, killing 19 civilians, including 16 women and children, who were traveling on a minibus.
· The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, said that the incident highlights the increasing toll that such devices are taking on civilians in the country. He added that indiscriminate use of these weapons must stop.
· The mission said that IEDs kill and injure more Afghan civilians than any other tactic in the country’s armed conflict. Between 1 January and 27 October of this year, IEDs killed 828 civilians and wounded 1,627 others, accounting for more than one-third of all civilians in the conflict so far this year.
SECRETARY-GENERAL AFFIRMS COOPERATION BETWEEN U.N., ISLAMIC CONFERENCE
- The Secretary-General spoke at a meeting of the Security Council today concerning cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
- The Secretary-General said that he was honoured to be the first United Nations Secretary-General to visit the headquarters of the OIC, one year ago. He said that the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are working closely on issues ranging from conflict prevention and resolution to counter-terrorism, and from human rights and humanitarian affairs to intercultural dialogue and sustainable development.
- Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, also spoke at the Council meeting.