HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 5 DECEMBER 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACKS AGAINST YEMEN’S MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
- The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks on Thursday against Yemen's Ministry of Defence that reportedly killed more than 20 people and caused many injuries.
- The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to fully cooperate with the investigation announced by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice. He recalls that the Security Council has reaffirmed its readiness to consider further measures in response to any actions by individuals or parties that are aimed at disrupting the transition process.
- The Secretary-General firmly believes that the only path to a stable, prosperous and democratic Yemen is through the ongoing peaceful and all-inclusive National Dialogue Conference, in accordance with the transition agreement and Security Council resolutions 2014 (2011) and 2051 (2012).
SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES DEPLOYMENT OF AFRICAN-LED FORCE TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- On Thursday morning, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the deployment of an African-led force, known as MISCA, to the Central African Republic for a period of twelve months.
- The resolution also requests the Secretary-General to undertake contingency preparations and planning for the possible transformation of MISCA into a United Nations peacekeeping operation.
- Meanwhile, on the ground, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Central African Republic, Babacar Gaye, has condemned in the strongest terms an organized attack by unidentified armed elements in Bangui on Thursday, which led to a loss of human life and targeted assassinations.
- In a joint statement, along with the representatives of the African Union, the European Union and France in the country, Mr. Gaye urged the Central African authorities to take the necessary steps to end the fighting and to restore calm.
- The Secretary-General will depart New York for Paris on Thursday afternoon, where he will attend the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa. While in Paris, he will also participate in a meeting on the Central African Republic on Saturday.
- Asked about the peacekeeping force that had been approved, the Spokesperson noted the need to deploy MISCA peacekeepers fully and to move peacekeepers outside the capital.
- He said that there are UN personnel both inside and outside Bangui, but the ability to provide assistance is precarious, given the insecurity.
- Nesirky recalled that Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson had said that the situation in the Central African Republic was in danger of spiralling out of control.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON LIBERIA, SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN AND ABYEI
- In addition to adopting the resolution on the Central African Republic this morning, the Security Council held consultations in which Council members discussed Liberia sanctions, the situation between Sudan and South Sudan and the Secretary-General’s recent report on Abyei.
- This afternoon, the Security Council will receive briefings on the work of the international tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
U.N. AGENCIES CONTINUE TO REACH SYRIANS WITH LIFE-SAVING AID
- Despite huge security challenges, humanitarian organizations continue to reach people in Syria with essential aid.
- The World Health Organization, UNICEF and the UN Refugee Agency have reached more than 2.2 million children with polio vaccinations and more than 1.1 million with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations in all 14 governorates since October.
- Meanwhile, the World Food Programme and its partners reached 3.4 million people with food assistance nationwide during their October food distribution cycle. That represents the greatest number of people reached per month since the start of aid operations in Syria.
SOMALIA: U.N. REPRESENTATIVE CONDEMNS SUICIDE CAR BOMB ATTACK IN BOSSASO
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, strongly condemned the suicide car bomb attack on Puntland government forces on Thursday in the port city of Bossaso.
- Mr. Kay said that such cowardly acts would serve no purpose and that the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) stands by the people of Puntland as they strive for stability and prosperity.
U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF LAUDES O.S.C.E.’S WORK IN PEACE AND SECURITY
- The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, is in Kiev on Thursday and Friday to attend the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE.
- In remarks delivered on behalf of the Secretary-General, Mr. Feltman said that both the OSCE and the United Nations are convinced that people must be put at the centre of efforts for peace.
- He also said that the OSCE provides invaluable support to the implementation of Security Council resolutions, disarmament, and women, peace and security.
- For Afghanistan, Mr. Feltman said that 2014 will be a critical year, with major developments on the country’s political, security and economic transition processes. He reiterated the commitment of the United Nations and called on the OSCE for continued support for Afghanistan and its people.
U.N. ANNOUNCES WINNERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS PRIZE
- The winners of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights for 2013 were announced on Thursday.
- They are: Biram Dah Abeid, a Mauritanian campaigner against slavery who himself is the son of freed slaves; Hiljmnijeta Apuk from Kosovo who campaigns for the rights of people with disproportional restricted growth; and Liisa Kauppinen from Finland who promotes the human rights of deaf people.
- Also being recognized are: Khadija Ryadi, a Moroccan human rights activist; the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico, which provides legal protections for constitutional rights of Mexican citizens and residents; and Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan who has campaigned for girls’ education.
- The awards ceremony will take place in New York on 10 December, coinciding with Human Rights Day.
- And at an event marking the Day in Geneva, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said on Thursday that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted 20 years ago, crystallized the principal that human rights are universal.
- She added that in the past two decades, much has been achieved, with the fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights largely in place.
SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES IMPORTANCE OF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATIONS FOR TWO-STATE SOLUTION
- Asked about the situation in the Middle East, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General met on Wednesday with the Foreign Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman.
- During the discussion, he reiterated his belief that negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides are the best way to achieve the two-state solution, and expressed his support for the ongoing talks. He stressed the importance for the parties to create the conditions conducive to a resumption of meaningful negotiations, and encouraged Israel to take steps to ease the situation in Gaza.
- The Spokesperson noted the talks in the region being conducted by US Secretary of State John Kerry and said that the UN Special Coordinator in the region, Robert Serry, continues to work with the parties
U.N. DISENGAGEMENT OBSERVER FORCE PLAYS NO ROLE IN TRANSFER OR DELIVEY OF ASSISTANCE BY COUNTRIES
- In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) plays no role in the transfer or delivery of assistance that any country may be providing to Syrian civilians.