HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 5 NOVEMBER 2013
WHILE IN MALI, SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION
- The Secretary-General was in Timbuktu, in Mali, on Tuesday. He met there with community and religious leaders, as well as local authorities. He also visited the Djingareyber Mosque and the Ahmed Bab Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research.
- While in Timbuktu, he made a call for peace and reconciliation. He said that, for centuries, the treasures of the city have symbolized the richness of Mali’s cultures and communities and that he hoped they would be an inspiration to tackle deep-rooted challenges and forge the peace that all Malians need and deserve.
- Earlier in the morning in Bamako, the Secretary-General addressed the Ministerial Meeting on the Sahel. He said that his joint visit to the Sahel with the leaders of the African Union, the World Bank, the European Union and the African Development Bank was a symbol of their commitment to the region. He added that the joint delegation was there to express its solidarity through words and to show it through action.
- The Secretary-General also underlined the leadership of the Governments of the Sahel in solving the region's problems. He said the Sahel could and would go forward but that it can only do so united.
SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS CONSULTATIONS ON SYRIA
- The Security Council held consultations on Syria on Tuesday morning. Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations, provided an update to Council members on the Mission’s work.
- Asked about the final report by Professor Åke Sellström’s team, the Spokesperson said that Prof. Sellström is currently working on the final, report in coordination with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and World Health Organization (WHO) experts that were part of the UN Mission.
- He said that a number of samples are still being analysed by the designated laboratories and the results are expected to be provided to the UN Mission this week.
- The final report is expected to be finalised in early December, further to the evaluation of all information gathered by the UN Mission.
- Asked about the funding for the Joint Mission, Haq said that, as Sigrid Kaag had noted, the Mission believed it had sufficient funds for its activities through the end of this year.
SYRIA: JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE MEETS WITH DELEGATES FROM RUSSIA AND U.S. IN GENEVA
- The Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, and Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met on Tuesday in Geneva with Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov and United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.
- They then held another meeting in the afternoon with the five Permanent Members of the Security Council.
- At the initiative of the United States and the Russian Federation, a meeting was then convened of the five Permanent Members of the Security and Syria's neighbouring countries of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as the United Nations and the League of Arab States.
- Asked when the Geneva II conference might take place, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General would convene the conference and would announce a date for the conference when appropriate.
U.N. WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF M23 TO END ITS REBELLION IN D.R. CONGO
- The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, and his Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Martin Kobler, together with the Envoys of the African Union, the European Union, and the United States welcomed the announcement of the M23 to end its rebellion and the commitment of the Government of the DRC to end combat and complete steps agreed to as part of the Kampala Dialogue.
- In a joint statement, the Envoys urged both parties to conclude the political process by signing a principled agreement that ensures the timely disarmament and demobilization of the M23 and accountability for perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- The Envoys added that this is only one step towards addressing the persistent conflict and instability in the DRC, and in ensuring an end to all illegitimate armed actors in the country, including the FDLR.
- And in response to earlier questions, the Spokesperson said he could confirm that the UN Mission, MONUSCO, used artillery and attack helicopter strikes on Monday to support the Congolese Armed Forces in neutralizing M23 weapons firing on civilians in the area of Bunagana and Chengerero.
U.N. ENCOURAGED BY CONSTRUCTIVE SPIRIT OF PEACE TALKS IN MYANMAR
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, took part as an observer in peace talks between the Government and ethnic armed organizations on Monday and Tuesday in Kachin.
- Mr. Nambiar said that this was the first meeting between the Government and these organizations in decades, and represents a significant move forward in the national reconciliation process.
- Both sides agreed to pave the way for a political dialogue by undertaking a nationwide ceasefire, among other actions.
- Mr. Nambiar said that he was encouraged by the constructive spirit that characterized the deliberations and by the fact that so many groups have been able to come together on a common platform for their dialogue with the Government.
- He reiterated that he believes that a peaceful solution to the conflicts in Myanmar is a critical priority for the future of the country and its people. The United Nations will continue to assist and support the people of Myanmar as the country continues on its path towards peace and democracy.
U.N. SENIOR OFFICIAL TO VISIT MALDIVES PRIOR TO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
- Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will begin a two-day mission to the Maldives on Wednesday, where he will meet with key political actors and Government officials prior to the presidential election scheduled for 9 November.
- He will stress the importance of holding the elections as planned and ensuring a constitutional path forward, encouraging Maldivian political leaders and Government officials to fulfill their responsibilities towards the democratic process.
- The visit coincides with that of the Special Envoy of the Commonwealth Secretary-General for the Maldives, Sir Don McKinnon. It reflects the very close coordination between the United Nations and the Commonwealth on the situation in the Maldives.
U.N. ENVIRONMENT AGENCY SAYS IN NEW REPORT THAT DELAYED ACTIONS MEAN MORE CLIMATE IMPACTS
- In the lead up to the United Nations summit on climate change in Warsaw, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a new report on emissions on Tuesday.
- “The Emissions Gap Report 2013” finds that failure to tackle excessive greenhouse-gas output will exacerbate challenges to mitigate the impact of climate change after 2020.
- The UN Environment Programme Executive Director, Achim Steiner, has said that delayed actions mean more climate impacts and continued use of carbon-intensive infrastructure.
- He also said that this would slow down the introduction of climate-friendly technologies and narrow the developmental choices that would place the global community on the path to a green future.
NEW ACTING HEAD OF THE U.N. OFFICE IN GENEVA APPOINTED
- The Secretary-General announced the appointment of Michael Møller of Denmark as Acting Head of the UN Office in Geneva.
- Mr. Møller will replace Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Tokayev’s outstanding contribution and commitment in spearheading the Organization’s work.
- Mr. Møller brings to the position a wealth of experience, having served for more than 30 years as an international civil servant in the United Nations.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS THAT ALL DETAINED IN EGYPT MUST BE TREATED HUMANELY
- Asked on Monday about the trial of Mohamed Morsy, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General reiterates that all who are detained must be treated humanely and afforded all judicial guarantees under domestic and international law.
- He calls upon the Interim Government to ensure fair trials based on credible investigations.