HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
WEDNESDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL DEPLORES D.P.R.K. ROCKET LAUNCH, IN TOUCH WITH GOVERNMENTS CONCERNED
- In a statement issued last night, the Secretary-General deplored the rocket launch announced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It is all the more regrettable because it defies the unified and strong call from the international community. It is a clear violation of Security Council resolution 1874 (2009), in which the Council demanded that the DPRK not conduct any launch using ballistic missile technology.
- The Secretary-General has been urging the leadership in Pyongyang not to carry out such a launch and instead to build confidence with its neighbours while taking steps to improve the lives of its people.
- The Secretary-General is concerned about the negative consequences that this provocative act may have on peace and stability in the region.
- The Secretary-General is in close touch with the governments concerned. He takes this opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to working for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
- The Security Council began consultations on the DPRK this morning. Council members received a briefing on the latest developments from Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun.
MALI: SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR CESSATION OF MILITARY INTERFERENCE
- In a statement yesterday afternoon, saying that the Secretary-General is troubled by the circumstances leading to the resignation of Mali's Prime Minister, Mr. Cheick Modibo Diarra. The Secretary-General calls again for a cessation of military interference in politics and urges the Malian leadership to resolve any issues through peaceful means.
- These latest developments underscore the importance of sustained national and international efforts to address the political crisis in Bamako. The Secretary-General stressed the urgency of moving forward with the National Dialogue in Mali in order to define a consensual roadmap for the transition that includes the holding of elections and leads to the full restoration of constitutional order and territorial integrity.
- The Secretary-General stands ready to use his good offices and relevant United Nations presences on the ground to continue to support Mali in addressing the crisis.
- In a separate statement, the members of the Security Council condemned the arrest of Prime Minister Diarra, by members of the Malian Armed Forces, which led to the resignation of the Prime Minister and the dismissal of the Government of Mali. They expressed their readiness to consider appropriate measures, including targeted sanctions, against those who prevent the restoration of the constitutional order and take actions that undermine stability in Mali.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS OBLIGATION TO HELP SYRIA BUILD A DEMOCRATIC FUTURE
- In a message for the fourth meeting of the Group of the Friends of the Syrian People, held in Marrakech today, the Secretary-General says that the situation in Syria has become more militarized, with continued large-scale human rights violations. He urged the international community to exert immediate and sustained pressure on all parties to respect international humanitarian and human rights law.
- The Secretary-General said that above all, the international community needs to unite to support a negotiated end to the crisis. Building a free and democratic Syria will require negotiations and genuine political dialogue.
- He added that the formation of a new coalition of the opposition was an important step in the right direction. He also said that the solution to the crisis must be led and owned by Syrians working together in a spirit of inclusive dialogue and mutual understanding
- The Secretary-General said the international community had an obligation to help Syrians build a democratic future. But we can only succeed if all sides engage positively, with the support of the international community, in particular the Security Council.
- Asked about the stated US support for an opposition group in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the recognition of groups in this fashion is a matter for Member States. He noted that Deputy Joint Special Representative al-Kidwa participated in today’s talks in Marrakesh, Morocco.
U.N. AGENCIES STRIVE TO ASSIST SYRIANS DESPITE LACK OF FUND, FUEL SHORTAGES
- The UN refugee Agency, UNHCR, warns that the number of Syrian refugees registered in neighbouring countries – which now stands at more than half a million – could increase to 700,000 by the end of the year.
- Inside the country, the agency reports about 250,000 internally displaced people in Homs urgently need winter supplies and access to basic health services. The agency delivered urgent winter aid including quilts, sleeping mats, blankets, mattresses and sanitary supplies to thousands of displaced people in Homs over the last two weeks.
- Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) says that food insecurity is on the rise in Syria and that the distribution of its monthly food rations have been affected by lack of funds. In November, the World Food Programme dispatched food rations for more than 1.3 million people in all governorates, and they hope to reach 1.5 million people in December.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) adds that nationwide electricity cuts and fuel shortages have affected people’s access to cooking, heating and telecommunications. The delivery of humanitarian aid has also been affected as fuel shortages have caused delays to aid convoys.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DENOUNCES VIOLENCE AGAINST LGBT, DEMANDS TRUE EQUALITY
- In an event against homophobia here at United Nations headquarters yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General said that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else.
- He again denounced violence against LGBT people and demanded action for true equality. He said that he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.
- He said that the United Nations should lead by example and that he recently reiterated to all senior managers that discrimination against staff on the basis of sexual orientation will not be tolerated.
U.N. CENTRE FOR PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY IN CENTRAL ASIA MARKS FIFTH ANNIVERSARY
- Marking the fifth anniversary of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, stressed the key role of regional cooperation in promoting stability.
- He delivered a message on behalf of the Secretary-General yesterday in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, where the Regional Centre is based.
- Mr. Felt noted that prevention – one of the priorities of the Secretary-General’s five-year action agenda – can advance security and stability, save lives and promote sustainable development.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON LIBERIA, RWANDA TRIBUNAL, PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS: This afternoon, starting at 3:00, the Security Council has scheduled three formal meetings. First, the Council will hear about the work of its sanctions committee regarding Liberia. Then it will hold a meeting on the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. And it will then hold an open meeting on UN peacekeeping operations.
NEW SECRETARY-GENERAL INITIATIVE TO ELIMINATE CHOLERA IN HAITI: Asked about cholera in Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the main focus of the funding being sought by the United Nations for Haiti’s cholera efforts will be to invest in clean drinking water and sanitation systems. The funding will also be used to ensure vaccines are targeted at Haitians living in high-risk areas, such as densely populated urban neighbourhoods and rural districts isolated from health-care services.