HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS U.N. DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO RUSH ASSISTANCE TO THOSE IN NEED IN THE PHILIPPINES
- In remarks to reporters in Latvia on Thursday, the Secretary-General said the world has been following the tragedy and utter devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. He said he was receiving regular updates from his Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, who was in Manila.
- The Secretary-General said he was especially concerned about the tens of thousands of people exposed to the elements. He said the United Nations and the rest of the international community are doing everything possible to rush assistance to those who need it. He said that the people of the Philippines are showing great courage and resilience, but they need our help. They need it now and they need it fast.
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, spoke to reporters in the Philippines on Thursday about the need for a sustained and collective response by the international community to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. She spoke after visiting Tacloban, one of the worst affected areas, on Wednesday and speaking to survivors who were homeless and waiting for relief supplies to reach them. She said that tens of thousands of people are living in the open or sheltering in the remains of their homes and badly damaged public buildings, exposed to rain and wind.
- The latest information received from the Government of the Philippines is that the number of people affected by the typhoon stands at nearly 12 million, of whom 920,000 are displaced. The Government also reports that 4,460 people have died in the disaster.
- Asked about the challenges being encountered on the ground, the Spokesperson said that Valerie Amos was keeping the Secretary-General informed of the difficulties.
- Among them, he said, is that aid delivery has been hampered by logistical challenges. While most airports have now reopened, electricity and power are still to be restored in some areas. Many roads are covered in debris and there are fuel shortages. However, as each hour and day passes, more aid is reaching people affected.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS PRESIDENT, PARLIAMENT SPEAKER IN LATVIA
- The Secretary-General arrived in Latvia on Thursday at the start of a trip that will also take him to Estonia, Lithuania and Poland.
- He has had meetings with the President and the Speaker of Parliament and visited the Freedom Monument in the Latvian capital Riga. The Secretary-General also spoke to reporters.
- On Friday, the Secretary-General will have further meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and attend a conference marking the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Latvia. After that, he will fly to Estonia.
SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS UPDATE ON I.C.C. EFFORTS ON LIBYA; WELCOMES CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES IN D.R. CONGO
- The Security Council, in an open meeting on Thursday morning, received an update from Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, concerning her office’s efforts to work with the Libyan Government in addressing the serious crimes committed in Libya.
- Prior to that meeting, the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which it welcomed the cessation of hostilities between the DRC Government and the M23. The Security Council also called for the swift conclusion and implementation of a final, comprehensive and agreed outcome, in line with the Kampala talks, that provides for the disarmament and demobilization of the M23 and accountability for human rights abusers.
- The Security Council expressed deep concern regarding the sustained regional threat posed by the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and stressed the importance of neutralizing the FDLR and all armed groups.
- Asked about an expected vote in the Security Council on the International Criminal Court’s consideration of the Kenya case, the Spokesperson said that any decision is in the hands of the Security Council members.
HUMANITARIAN APPEAL LAUNCHED IN SOUTH SUDAN
- The Government of South Sudan and humanitarian organizations launched a multi-year humanitarian appeal in Juba on Thursday to help communities affected by hostilities, displacement, natural disasters and poverty in the country.
- The three-year appeal (2014-2016) seeks US$1.1 billion to meet the needs of more than 3 million people.
U.N. ENVOY IN KOSOVO MEETS WITH A RANGE OF POLITICAL LEADERS IN NORTHERN MITROVICA
- The Head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Farid Zarif, met with a range of political leaders in northern Mitrovica on Thursday.
- In his meetings, Mr. Zarif stressed that all sides must respect the rules of peaceful and democratic conduct in the interests of their own community.
- He added that the political leaders he met wanted to know whether they would have a key role in shaping their own destiny. He said that the elections are one important step in achieving this objective.
- Asked about a date for the holding of the Geneva II conference on Syria, the Spokesperson said that no date has been announced. The Secretary-General will announce a date once it is appropriate, and he is working hard to have such a conference take place before the end of this year.
- Asked about any replacement for Saudi Arabia in the Security Council, the Spokesperson said that was a matter for the Member States to decide.
- Asked about the killing of an Israeli soldier, the Spokesperson said that the crime was appalling and that there should be accountability.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson reiterated that the World Health Organization does not recommend screening people who are asymptomatic for cholera.
- Asked about a possible new senior position on partnerships, the Spokesperson said that the General Assembly has not determined whether to create such a post. If and when the General Assembly acts, and only then, will the Secretary-General initiate a process to seek the most qualified candidate.