HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPEALS TO ALL PARTIES IN UKRAINE TO ACT WITH RESTRAINT
- In a statement, the Secretary-General said that he has been closely following events in Ukraine. He appeals to all parties to act with restraint, avoid any further violence and to uphold the democratic principles of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
- The Secretary-General encourages meaningful dialogue between all concerned, in the pursuit of a prosperous future for Ukraine and mutual agreement among Ukrainians on the path forward for the country.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS MEETING IN PERU OF THE U.N. INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION
- The Secretary-General arrived on Monday morning in Lima. He spoke at the opening session of the 15th General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, or UNIDO.
- In his remarks, the Secretary-General noted that Member States will adopt the second Lima Declaration, following the adoption of the first one nearly 40 years ago. This new framework document will create the foundation for the coming decades of the UN Industrial Development Organization’s important work as the central agency in the United Nations for all matters related to industrialization.
- He underlined the importance of industry and the private sector in steering the human family on a safer, more prosperous and sustainable path.
- The Secretary-General also met with the President of Peru.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND SUMMIT ON AFRICA IN PARIS
- On Thursday afternoon, the Secretary-General will depart New York for Paris, where he will attend the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa. He will participate in meetings focused on peace and security as well as climate change.
- On the margins of the Summit hosted by the French Government, the Secretary-General will hold bilateral meetings with a number of African leaders. He will also participate in a meeting on the Central African Republic.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Saturday.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE IN THAILAND
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is concerned about the escalation of violence in Bangkok in recent days and expresses regret over the loss of lives and injuries. He also notes with concern the repeated attempts by protestors to forcefully seize Government buildings and media outlets.
- The Secretary-General reiterates his call for all sides to exercise utmost restraint and to resolve political differences through dialogue. He underlines the need for all parties to observe full respect for democratic principles, the rule of law, and human rights, including freedom of expression.
U.N. WILL MEET WITH U.S. AND RUSSIA IN GENEVA ON 22 DECEMBER TO DISCUSS PREPARATIONS FOR SYRIA CONFERENCE
- Asked about attendance at the Geneva II conference for Syria, the Spokesperson said that the composition of the opposition delegation is not yet known and the list of participants for the conference is not yet complete. The United Nations, the United States and the Russian Federation will meet in Geneva on 22 December to discuss preparations for the conference, including participants.
- Asked about the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, the Spokesperson said that Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), will brief the Security Council later this week on recent proposals concerning that task.
U.N. PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS CHIEF VISITS D.R. CONGO TO SUPPORT U.N. MISSION
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, is visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mr. Ladsous’s trip aims to support the UN Mission in the country, MONUSCO, in its efforts to assist the Government in consolidating peace and stability.
- Mr. Ladsous was in Goma, in the eastern DRC, on Monday. He met with senior Government officials to discuss the UN Mission’s support in key areas. He also emphasised the importance of political dialogue for regional stability.
- On Tuesday, Mr. Ladsous will preside over the launch of unarmed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from Goma, an important tool to assist the UN Mission in fulfilling its mandate to protect civilians.
- Mr. Ladsous will hold a press conference with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Martin Kobler, in Goma following the launch.
U.N. ENVOY IN SOMALIA PAYS TRIBUTE TO OUTGOING PRIME MINISTER
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, paid tribute on Monday to Somalia’s outgoing Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, and noted the responsible role played by the Federal Parliament and the Speaker in handling the "no confidence" motion.
- He said that this was managed in accordance with the provisional constitution and the rules of procedure of the Parliament. He also added that Somalia’s institutions were coming of age and that the United Nations was there to support their development.
- Mr. Kay also noted the urgency of nominating and appointing a new Prime Minister as quickly as possible to maintain political and state-building progress in Somalia.
- He said he hoped that the President would consult widely before choosing. He added that it was in everyone’s best interest that the next Prime Minister and government be broadly inclusive, able to unite the country and capable of delivering what Somalia needs.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF WORRIED BY RISING LEVELS OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN BANGLADESH
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said on Sunday she was deeply worried by the rising levels of political violence in Bangladesh.
- In recent weeks, supporters of major parties have been clashing with each other and with the security forces. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds injured.
- Ms. Pillay said such levels of violence are deeply shocking for the Bangladeshi people, who want and deserve a peaceful and inclusive election. She also expressed concern about the ongoing arrest and detention of key opposition leaders by the law enforcement agencies.
- Ms. Pillay called on the political leaders to fulfill their responsibility to bring this violence to an immediate end and seek a solution to this crisis through dialogue.
- Also, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernández-Taranco, will be in Bangladesh from 7 to 10 December. The purpose of his visit is to encourage dialogue and conditions conducive for parliamentary elections scheduled for 5 January next year. He will meet with representatives from the Government, opposition, parliament, civil society and the international community.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR AFGHANISTAN EXPRESSES DEEP REGRET OVER DEATH OF NINE AID WORKERS
- Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, expressed deep regret over the weekend at the death of nine Afghan aid workers in two separate attacks in recent days.
- So far this year in Afghanistan, the United Nations has recorded 237 incidents against humanitarian personnel, sites and assets.
- Mr. Bowden said that he is extremely concerned with this trend at a time when the country is in the midst of a difficult transition that may lead to increased humanitarian needs. He called upon all actors to respect and uphold the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian workers and to abide by international humanitarian law.
EGYPT: HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS SHOULD FORM THE BASIS FOR ANY NEW LEGISLATION
- In response to questions on protests in Egypt, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has previously stressed that international human rights standards should form the basis of any new legislation. Nesirky noted the importance of the right to assemble.
*** The guest at the noon briefing was Haoliang Xu, the Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at the UN Development Programme (UNDP). He briefed reporters about relief efforts and the recovery planning process in the Philippines, following Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.