HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
THURSDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DISCUSS ASSISTANCE TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC WITH SECURITY COUNCIL
- The Secretary-General will talk to the Security Council at 3:00 this afternoon about the situation in the Central African Republic, and he will discuss the sort of assistance that the people in that country need.
- After that formal meeting, at about 3:30 pm, the Secretary-General will speak to reporters at the Council stakeout about the Central African Republic and he will take a few questions then.
- This morning, the Security Council also held consultations on the work of the sanctions committee dealing with resolution 1718, which concerns the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
- Asked about support from other groups, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General have been in touch with a number of leaders in the run-up to the presentation to the Security Council.
- The Secretary-General agrees with Valerie Amos that time is of the essence and that every day of delay in providing for the people of the Central African Republic is a day with more people killed and displaced.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF CONCLUDES VISIT TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- Valerie Amos, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, concluded her visit to the Central African Republic today. After returning from Bossangoa, she told reporters in Bangui that she had been shocked by what she saw, including burned homes and people so scared by violence that they sleep in the bush at night.
- During her mission, Ms. Amos met the interim President and members of her Government, as well as religious leaders, representatives of civil society, humanitarian organizations and UN agencies.
- She said she had been looking at the impact of violence and the lack of security on the people and the institutions of the country, and to think about what more can be done to deal with the situation as it is now. She said that all the people with whom she met felt very strongly that time is of the essence if we do not want to fail the people of the Central African Republic.
UKRAINE: SECRETARY-GENERAL ALARMED BY LEVEL OF BLOODSHED, USE OF ARMS
- Asked about the latest violence in Ukraine, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is aware of the news reports coming out of Kiev. He is increasingly alarmed by the level of bloodshed. He is appalled by the use of arms, both by the security forces and by protesters, and believes the use of force must stop immediately.
- When the Secretary-General last met President Viktor Yanukovych in Sochi, he said that the good offices of the United Nations are available if both sides want, and that offer still stands.
- The Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General reiterates his call for the immediate renewal of genuine, constructive dialogue to resolve the deepening political and security crisis.
- Asked about Robert Serry’s role in Ukraine, Nesirky said that Mr. Serry remains in touch with the Secretary-General on the topic and visited Ukraine at the end of last month. He continues to work in his normal post as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
SYRIA: U.N. AGENCY RESUMES FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN YARMOUK CAMP
- The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, known as UNRWA, resumed its food distribution yesterday to civilians inside Yarmouk in Damascus, after a pause of eleven days.
- Since 18 January, the Agency has delivered more than 6,500 food parcels of food and other supplies to civilians.
- The Relief and Works Agency welcomes the agreement and arrangements between various groups which helped to create the conditions for the resumption of the Agency’s humanitarian work in Yarmouk today.
- It hopes that the positive developments in Yarmouk can give momentum to peaceful dialogue between all parties so that there can be humanitarian access for all civilians in Syria.
- Asked about Security Council action on humanitarian access in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is aware of a draft resolution on that subject which is for the members of the Council to consider.
- He noted that the Secretary-General and Valerie Amos had made clear the need for humanitarian access throughout Syria. The Security Council’s support for such access in its Presidential Statement last year was helpful, and the Secretary-General will see what the Council does next.
LEBANON: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS BOMBING, CALLS ON PARTIES TO SUPPORT NEW GOVERNMENT
- Derek Plumbly, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, met with Prime Minister Tamam Salam today and congratulated him in person on the formation of the new Lebanese Government. They discussed, among other things, the implementation of resolution 1701 and the humanitarian challenges the country faces, particularly on the issue of the Syrian refugees.
- Mr. Plumbly also extended the UN’s condolences for the victims of the bombing yesterday in Bir Hassan.
- Yesterday afternoon, we issued a statement in which the Secretary-General condemned that bombing and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. The Secretary-General calls on all Lebanese parties to come together in support of their newly formed Government and other State institutions, and to sustain national unity as the best safeguard of Lebanon’s security and stability in the face of terrorism.
SITUATION HAS CALMED DOWN IN MALAKAL, SOUTH SUDAN: Asked about fighting in the Malakal protection site in South Sudan, the Spokesperson noted that the fighting on Wednesday had been severe enough that UN peacekeepers had not been able to intervene. The situation has since calmed down.
MYANMAR SPECIAL ENVOY CONCERNED ABOUT ROHINGYA: Asked about the situation in Myanmar, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Vijay Nambiar, had expressed concern about the situation of the Rohingya there.