HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 4 DECEMBER 2013
SECURITY COUNCIL TO BE UPDATED ON U.N.-O.P.C.W. SYRIA MISSION
- In consultations this morning, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez Taranco provided the Security Council with an overview of the Department of Political Affairs’ work in preventive diplomacy and mediation.
- This afternoon, Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), will give an update to Council members on the Mission’s work in Syria in closed consultations.
- Asked about different factions in the Syrian opposition, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General and the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, had made clear that there needs to be a single Syrian Government delegation and a single opposition delegation at the conference scheduled for 22 January 2014. He added that it was up to the opposition to form its own delegation for those talks.
- Asked whether the 22 January could take place in Geneva, Haq said that holding the talks was more important than any particular venue. He conceded that it may need to be held outside Geneva itself but reaffirmed the importance of holding the conference as scheduled.
- He added that Mr. Brahimi would meet in Geneva on 20 December, first with US and Russian officials and then in a wider format, to take stock of preparations for the conference.
- In response to further questions, he noted that the conference was intended to move forward in implementing the 2012 Geneva Communiqué and forming a transitional governing body with full executive powers.
- Asked about attacks and kidnappings in Maloula, Haq reiterated the need for a halt to all violence and added that the Secretary-General has urged the release of all those who have been detained.
- Asked about recent remarks by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on criminal responsibility, the Spokesperson noted that, in her press conference on Monday, Navi Pillay made clear that she has not said that the Head of State of the Syrian Arab Republic is a suspect. She did say that, based on their facts collected by the Commission of Inquiry, the responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity points to the highest level.
- She said that lists of those identified for their responsibility have been handed to her by the Commission of Inquiry on a confidential basis. Those lists remain sealed until the High Commissioner is requested to furnish them to a credible investigation, which could be national or international.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SPOTLIGHTS KEY ROLE OF SYRIAN REFUGEE WOMEN
- Syrian refugee women have a key role to play in the country’s future, the protection chief of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Volker Türk, said today.
- He said that more than 80 per cent of the more than 2.2 million Syrian refugees were women and children – a particularly vulnerable population facing serious protection risks such as early marriages, child labour, isolation and lack of livelihoods.
- Mr. Türk also underlined the importance of preventing sexual and gender-based violence affecting Syrian refugees.
U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF TRAVELS TO EASTERN D.R. CONGO
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous travelled today to the town of Pinga, north west of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, together with the Secretary-Generals’ Special Representative for the country, Martin Kobler.
- The trip reaffirmed the UN Mission’s (MONUSCO) continuing support to stabilise the area. The Mission now has civilian personnel on the ground in Pinga, as well as troops.
- Mr. Ladsous emphasised the importance of the return of state authority to the region, including government administration and services, as well as the implementation of a government-led programme of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former members of armed groups.
- Yesterday, Mr. Ladsous met with President Kabila in Goma, to discuss key issues related to the consolidation of peace and stability and peace in the east.
BURUNDI: U.N. URGES RESTRAINT ON CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW PROCESS
- The United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) calls on all Burundian political parties and actors to show restraint with respect to the ongoing constitutional review process. It welcomes the Government’s commitment to promote dialogue before the adoption of important instruments, particularly the Constitution and the Electoral Code, in the spirit of the recommendations of the roadmap.
- The UN Office welcomes the consensus reached on the need to involve all socio-political components of the country in the constitutional review process.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR IN SOMALIA WRAPS UP VISIT TO FLOOD-STRICKEN REGION
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini, has completed a two-day mission today to Jowhar town, Middle Shabelle region, which is the epicenter of recent flooding and the location of recent clan conflict.
- The aim of the mission was to assess the impact of the floods and conflict and the humanitarian response efforts.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that an estimated 11,000 households were affected by the flooding and that nearly 3,000 families have fled the conflict.
- Mr. Lazzarini held talks with clan elders from the two warring parties on their mediation efforts and with representatives from the settlement for internally displaced persons. He said that the fighting must end.
- The clan elders said an agreement had been reached to resolve the conflict.
BAN KI-MOON: NEW CLIMATE FUND CAN SUPPORT MITIGATION, ADAPTAION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
- The Green Climate Fund Secretariat opened today in Songdo, Republic of Korea.
- In a video message for the opening, the Secretary-General said that the Fund can make a significant contribution to our collective efforts to support mitigation, adaptation and resilience in developing countries.
- The Secretary-General also reiterated the importance of bringing the Fund into full operation as soon as possible.
- Also speaking on the occasion, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, said that today is an historic day and urged Governments to capitalize the Fund soon.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO INAUGURATE NEW U.N. ACCESSIBILITY CENTRE
- The Secretary-General will open an event this afternoon to inaugurate the UN Headquarters Accessibility Centre.
- This Centre will enable persons with disabilities to participate more easily in the events and meetings at the United Nations.
***The guest at today’s Noon Briefing was Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kyung-wha Kang, who spoke to reporters about her recent visit to South Sudan.