Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

THURSDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2012

SECRETARY-GENERAL WARNS OF ESCALATING VIOLENCE IN SYRIA

  • Asked about Syria, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had a message to the meeting on Syria in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Wednesday, attended by Deputy Joint Special Representative for Syria Nasser al-Kidwa.
  • In that message, the Secretary-General noted that violence has escalated, claiming the lives of thousands of civilians. He said that the international community needs to unite to support a negotiated end to the crisis.  A military solution will not bring an end to violence in Syria. 
  • The Spokesperson, in response to questions, expressed concerns about violence escalating in a number of ways in Syria.
  • He said that the escalation of violence and the type of weapons used in this conflict will only bring more fear and destruction and increase the suffering of the population.
  • Meanwhile, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said today that Syrians will be at risk of being killed and maimed as a result of explosive remnants of war (ERW) left behind in the wake of the conflict in Syria.
  • The intensity and length of the conflict has involved the use of a broad range of weapons which will result in a devastating level of deadly explosives littering residential areas in cities and towns throughout Syria long after the conflict ceases.
  • The Mine Action Service is urgently seeking funding to deliver risk awareness on these dangers to Syrian refugees and internally displaced people, as well as funding to pre-position clearance teams and equipment to enable rapid deployment when the situation allows.

SRI LANKA: U.N. STARTS PROCESS OF SETTING UP WORKING GROUP TO CONSIDER RECOMMENDATIONS OF INTERNAL REVIEW PANEL

  • The Deputy Secretary-General sent a letter to relevant heads of UN departments, offices, funds and programmes this week asking them to nominate representatives to participate in a working group to give careful consideration to the recommendations set out in the Internal Review Panel report on United Nations Actions in Sri Lanka.
  • Earlier, the Secretary-General had asked the Deputy Secretary-General to convene this working group and report to him.
  • The working group is expected to complete its deliberations some time in the second quarter of next year with options for action and implementation.
  • These will be reviewed by the Deputy Secretary-General after discussions with relevant heads of the UN system before the findings are presented to the Secretary-General.

I.C.C. PROSECUTOR BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON DARFUR INVESTIGATIONS

  • The Security Council received a briefing this morning from the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on her office’s investigations concerning Darfur.
  • She told Council members that good progress has been made towards the start of the trial for two of the three individuals accused of war crimes in the rebel attack on the African Union peacekeeping base at Haskanita, North Darfur.
  • This afternoon, the Security Council will receive a briefing from the chair of the sanctions committee dealing with Resolution 1737, which concerns non-proliferation and Iran.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

PEACEKEEPING OPERATION IN MALI IS SECURITY COUNCIL DECISION: Asked about the cost of a peacekeeping operation or UN logistical support in Mali, the Spokesperson said that any such operation would need to be decided on by the Security Council. He pointed to the need to look at political options in Mali and not just the military track. 

JAPAN-CHINA DISPUTE SHOULD BE RESOLVED THROUGH DIALOGUE: Asked about the dispute between Japan and China, the Spokesperson reiterated the need for dialogue between the concerned parties. 

U.N. PROVIDES TECHNICAL SECRETARIAL ASSISTANCE TO KAMPALA TALKS: Asked about International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) talks in Kampala concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the UN role at the talks is to provide technical secretarial assistance.

HEAD OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME WRAPS UP SAUDI ARABIA VISIT: The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, concluded a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, her first to the Gulf region since she assumed her position in April. She expressed WFP’s gratitude for the generosity of Saudi Arabia and said that their long-standing partnership had save millions of lives worldwide. WFP has received over US$1 billion from the Kingdom to fight hunger since WFP’s establishment in the early 1960s.