HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 13 AUGUST 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS REPUBLIC OF KOREA
- The Secretary-General arrived in the Republic of Korea over the weekend.
- On Monday, he spoke at two universities in Seoul. He spoke at Duksung Women's University on women's empowerment, and he addressed the launch of a Global Health Centre at Seoul National University, saying it would contribute to helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. He also spoke at the launch of the Development Alliance Korea, which aims to coordinate development cooperation among government agencies, the private sector and civil society.
- Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General held separate talks with the Republic of Korea’s Foreign Minister and the Unification Minister. They covered a wide range of topics, including Syria and the Korean Peninsula.
- On Sunday, the Secretary-General met with the Prime Minister during a visit to the southern city of Yeosu for the closing of the 2012 Expo. While in Yeosu, the Secretary-General spoke at a conference on the Convention on the Law of the Sea and launched the Oceans Compact, which is designed to strengthen UN system-wide work on oceans matters.
- On Tuesday, the Secretary-General will meet the Speaker of the Korean Parliament as well as members of the Global Compact and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) goodwill ambassadors in Seoul.
IRAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY SADDENED BY DEATHS CAUSED BY EARTHQUAKES
The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the loss of hundreds of lives, the many injuries and the destruction in the Islamic Republic of Iran as a result of earthquakes that struck areas near the city of Tabriz on 11 August. He extends his sincere condolences to the Iranian government and people, particularly the families of those who have been killed or otherwise affected in this disaster.
The United Nations stands ready to lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs created by the disaster and to mobilize international support for that response.
- Asked about UN humanitarian assistance to Iran, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has thus far not received any request from the Iranian Government for such assistance.
Asked about Iran’s nuclear programme, del Buey said that the Secretary-General believes that the dispute must be resolved through peaceful, non-military means.
U.N. RELIEF TO DEPART FOR SYRIA, LEBANON
- The Under-Secretary-Genera for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, will visit Syria and Lebanon.
- Her three-day visit from 14 – 16 August aims to underscore the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and the conflict’s impact on the people of Syria and those who have fled to Lebanon and to other neighbouring countries.
- In Syria, Ms. Amos will discuss with Syrian authorities, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and others how to urgently scale up relief efforts and reduce the suffering of civilians caught up in the fighting.
- In Lebanon, she is scheduled to meet families who have fled from Syria and to hold talks with the Government and humanitarian agencies how to best support the refugees.
- Asked about the movement of arms across the borders to or from Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General continues to believe that the further militarization of the conflict is not helpful. He continues to call for an end to all fighting.
- Asked who is attending the Jeddah conference on Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Deputy Joint Special Envoy for Syria would attend.
U.N., AFRICAN UNION PEACEKEEPER KILLED IN DARFUR
A peacekeeper with the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was killed, and another injured, while on duty in Nyala, South Darfur, on Sunday.
The peacekeeper, from Bangladesh's Formed Police Unit, was killed when a gang surrounded and fired at the staff in the Mission's community policing centre inside the Otash camp for internally displaced persons. The armed men fled after the police unit returned fire.
- The Acting Joint Special Representative strongly condemned the attack which, she stressed, constitutes a war crime under international law. She called on the Government of Sudan to work to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice.
- Also on Sunday, the UNAMID Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, met with leaders from the Kassab camp for internally displaced people in Kutum, North Darfur. They discussed security concerns, among other issues, and we have a press release in our office with more details.
U.N. ENVOY SPEAKS OUT AGAINST KILLINGS IN SOMALIA
- Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, strongly condemned the killings of a Somali Government official, Yusuf Ali Osman, and of a journalist, Mohamed Ali, on Sunday in Mogadishu.
- The United Nations has called repeatedly on full and independent investigations to such acts, which have made Somalia one of the most dangerous places on earth for media professionals.
- Dr. Mahiga said that the culture of impunity in Somalia must end, adding that this is a decisive time in the political process and the work of media needs to be protected so that the Somali people are fully informed.
U.N. HAS SUPPORTED GAZA TRAFFIC FLOW: Asked about the situation at the crossing points in Gaza, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has supported the free flow of commercial traffic to and from Gaza.
U.N. PROVIDING FOOD ASSISTANCE TO FLOOD VICTIMS IN PHILIPPINES: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is supporting the Government of the Philippines to help the hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected by heavy rains over the past week. The agency is providing food and logistical support to complement the Government’s emergency relief efforts.