HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES COUNTRIES TO MEET THEIR OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE TARGETS
- On Monday morning, the Secretary-General spoke at a meeting on Financing for Development, where he encouraged all countries to fulfil their pledges and meet their development assistance targets. He said for many developing countries and the most vulnerable, predictable levels of development assistance remain critical.
- The Secretary-General also emphasized the private sector’s vital role in financing and investing for a more sustainable and prosperous world. He said we must put sustainability at the core of the Financing for Development process.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO PARTICIPATE IN BUDAPEST WATER SUMMIT
- As announced last Friday, the Secretary-General will leave New York later today for Hungary, where he will participate in the Budapest Water Summit. The Summit is organised by the Hungarian Government in cooperation with the UN System and the World Water Council, and it is one of the major events this year concerning water and sanitation.
- The Secretary-General’s remarks to the Summit will be distributed, as will details on his meetings with the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Hungary.
- On Thursday, the Secretary-General will travel to Brunei Darussalam, where he will take part in a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS PRESIDENTS OF D.R.CONGO, RWANDA AND UGANDA
- The 15 members of the Security Council are in Kampala, Uganda, today, as part of their visit to the Great Lakes region of Africa. About now, they are meeting President Yoweri Museveni.
- Earlier on Monday, the delegation of the Security Council was in Rwanda, where they met senior Rwandan Government officials, including President Paul Kagame, in Kigali. The Council members also visited a demobilization centre for ex-combatants and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Site.
- Over the weekend, the delegation was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On Saturday, while in Kinshasa, the delegation met with senior Government officials, including President Joseph Kabila. On Sunday, the delegation travelled to Goma, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They also met civil society representatives, with whom they discussed the topics of sexual violence in conflict and child protection. And they visited a camp for internally displaced people, too.
- The Security Council delegation will arrive later on Monday in Addis Ababa, and that will be the last leg of the visit to the Great Lakes region.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER VOLATILE SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Secretary-General said in a statement on Sunday that he is very concerned about the prevailing situation in the Central African Republic, which remains volatile, unpredictable and lawless.
- He is particularly worried about the increasing number of targeted attacks and retaliations against Muslims and Christians, including the most recent incidents on the Bossangoa-Bossembele axis. He strongly condemns these attacks, which have the potential to further escalate the crisis in the country.
- The Secretary-General is calling on all parties, including ex-Séléka combatants and new self-defense groups, to refrain from acts of violence against civilians and to respect human rights. And he reminds national authorities of their responsibility to bring to justice perpetrators of these massacres and protect all Central Africans from abuses.
IRAQ: U.N. REPRESENTATIVE CALLS ON LEADERS TO ACT ON ENDING VIOLENCE
- In the aftermath of yet another in a series of bloody attacks, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, called on political, religious and civil leaders in the country to work together with the security forces and take joint action to halt the accelerated surge in violence and bloodshed.
- He said that it is their responsibility to ensure pilgrims can practice their religious duties, that schoolchildren can attend their classes, that journalists can exercise their professional duties, and that ordinary citizens can live a normal life, in an environment free of fear and violence.
SYRIA: PROCESS OF DESTROYING CHEMICAL WEAPONS PROGRAMME BEGINS
- The process of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons programme began Sunday. Under the supervision of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), supported by the United Nations, Syrian personnel used cutting torches and angle grinders to destroy or disable a range of items, and these included missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment. The process will continue in the coming days.
- Asked further about the efforts to deal with the Syrian weapons arsenal, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is aware of the work that has been carried out so far. The OPCW and the United Nations joint team has been satisfied with the work that has been carried out thus far and the Secretary-General shares that assessment.
- He noted the need for the work to be carried out quickly and in a rigorous fashion.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s report to the Security Council on the future OPCW-UN presence, the Spokesperson said it was expected to go to the Council later today.
- Asked about the deadlines for the team, the Spokesperson said that they were tight. He noted that the destruction of chemical weapons and related facilities was to be done by the Syrian authorities, as monitored by the OPCW with UN support.
- Asked about prospects for the Geneva II conference on Syria, Nesirky said it will be difficult to get a conference arranged, but the clear intention remains to have such a conference in place for mid-November.
- He noted the concerns expressed by the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, adding that Mr. Brahimi continues to work hard to make the conference happen. He added that the Secretary-General has made clear that all the countries that have influence with the parties in Syria can ensure that all parties can come to the Geneva II conference in good faith.
U.N. MISSION IN MALI CONFIRMS ROCKETS FIRED IN GAO: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, confirms that several rockets were fired this morning in Gao. The Mission is working in Gao with the Malians authorities and Operation Serval to gain more information on these events.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPALLED BY VIOLENCE IN EGYPT: Asked about violence n Egypt, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General was appalled by the violence over the weekend. He noted that, in a statement issued on Friday, the Secretary-General had stressed the importance of peaceful protest, respect for freedom of assembly and commitment to non-violence.