HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
MONDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2014
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF WELCOMES EXTENDED PAUSE IN OLD CITY OF HOMS
- Valerie Amos, the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, welcomed the news that the parties to the conflict have agreed to extend the humanitarian pause in Old Homs City, for a further three days. She expressed the hope that this will allow for the evacuation of more civilians and the delivery of much-needed additional supplies. The protection of civilians caught up in this horrendous conflict in Syria is the greatest priority for UN agencies and humanitarian partners.
- Since 7 February, humanitarian teams working with the local authorities, representatives of all sides and community leaders, in extremely dangerous circumstances, have managed to evacuate more than 800 people from the Old City of Homs and bring vital food and medical supplies to people who have been besieged with little aid for nearly two years.
- Ms. Amos said that it is absolutely unacceptable that UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent aid workers were deliberately targeted. She is deeply disappointed that the parties were unable to hold their ceasefire in Homs. This led to 11 people losing their lives needlessly as the operations were carried out. She said that the international community must press for full accountability.
- The Spokesperson also said that the Secretary-General had written a letter to the team in Damascus to thank all of them for their work and the great personal risk they place themselves at in these dangerous circumstances.
- Asked about an investigation into the attacks, the Spokesperson noted that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had been gathering data about human rights violations. He said that any firing on the humanitarian operation was unacceptable.
- Asked about the treatment of men who have left Homs, Nesirky said that a number of people did not fit into the immediate category of the groups leaving the Old City. He said that their condition is being monitored by UN protection staff to make sure that they do not come to harm.
- Asked about a Security Council resolution concerning humanitarian access, the Spokesperson said that Valerie Amos had repeatedly said that a resolution would he helpful, and the Secretary-General would agree. The matter is ultimately in the hands of the Security Council.
SECOND ROUND OF INTRA-SYRIAN TALKS STARTS IN GENEVA
- The second round of the intra-Syrian Talks started this morning in Geneva. Joint Special Representative
- Lakhdar Brahimi met with the delegation of the Syrian opposition headed by its Chief Negotiator, Mr. Hedi Albahra, and subsequently with the Syrian Government delegation headed by its Chief Negotiator, Ambassador Bashar al Ja'fari.
- The discussions centered on the agenda of the second round of the Talks, chiefly questions relating to the cessation of violence and terrorism and the establishment of a Transitional Governing Body in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012.
JOINT O.P.C.W.-U.N. MISSION SAYS THIRD CHEMICAL WEAPONS SHIPMENT LEAVES SYRIA
- The Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations announced that a third shipment of chemical weapons material took place from Syria today. The material is on board a Norwegian cargo vessel accompanied by a naval escort from the People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Norway, and the Russian Federation. The United Kingdom is participating in the naval escort in international waters. Finland is providing experts onboard the Danish vessel.
- The Joint Mission also confirms that the destruction of some chemical materials has taken place inside Syria, alongside the removal of chemical weapons material, and it welcomes progress to date. The Syrian Arab Republic is encouraged to expedite systematic, predictable and high-volume movements to complete the safe removal of chemical materials.
C.A.R.: U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS PERSISTENT VIOLENCE IN BANGUI
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), General Babacar Gaye, has condemned the violence that has engulfed Bangui for several weeks and included this weekend the killing of Jean-Emmanuel Ndjaroua, a member of the National Transition Council (CNT), by unidentified armed persons.
- Mr. Gaye said that this violence creates a climate of fear and encourages the emergence of acts of banditry. He urged the Central African authorities to establish a functional criminal chain to bring to justice those responsible for these crimes and thus put an end to impunity.
- The Spokesperson added that the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General remained extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation in the Central African Republic.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN STRESSES NEED FOR POLITICAL DIALOGUE TO CONTINUE WITHOUT DELAY
- The UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, underscores the necessity of the national political dialogue to continue without delay to reach a comprehensive peace agreement, with the participation of all South Sudanese political and civil society representatives, including Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) detainees.
- Over the weekend, the Mission facilitated the travel of an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) needs assessment team to Malakal in Upper Nile State in order to operationalise the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism of the cessation of hostilities agreement. Earlier today, IGAD officials also visited Bor in Jonglei State. The Mission says it held discussion with IGAD in both locations.
- Meanwhile, the Mission continues its military and police patrols in locations around the country. In Nassir, in Upper Nile State, the Mission reports the situation to be volatile. The Mission has received reports of fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and anti-government forces in Thorgwang in Manyo County.
- In Bor, Jonglei State, the Mission notes that some Government officials have begun returning to the town, as have civilians, but in limited numbers. The Mission continues to protect some 6,000 civilians at its base in Bor.
- Overall, approximately 75,000 civilians are being protected in a number of sites across the country.
- Asked about the talks between the South Sudanese parties, the Spokesperson noted that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was leading the mediation.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGED D.P.R.K. TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON FAMILY REUNIONS AGREEMENT
- Asked about the Korean peninsula, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General spoke in Sochi with Kim Yong Nam, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assemblu in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
- They discussed family reunions, and the Secretary-General encouraged Mr. Kim to follow through on the agreement on family reunions, which should be divorced from politics and is a humanitarian matter.
- The Secretary-General invited Mr. Kim to the climate summit that is to be held in New York on 23 September 2014. Nesirky added that they spoke for more than half an hour.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES PEACEFUL PROTESTS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
- Asked about the unrest in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General was aware of developments. He urged all those who would engage in protest to do so in a peaceful manner.