HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2012
ONLY POLITICAL SOLUTION WILL RESOLVE CRISIS, SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS FRIENDS OF SYRIA MEETING IN MESSAGE
- This morning, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe delivered a message from the Secretary-General to the Friends of Syria Meeting in Tunisia in which he said the crisis in Syria did not start with calls for regime change. People wanted reform and an end to oppression, exclusion, and marginalization. They were met with implacable aggression, he said.
- Roughly one year later, the prolonged violence now poses a profound test for the international community and the United Nations in three areas: human rights, humanitarian access and finding a political solution.
- He noted that we need to ensure that such access is granted by the Syrian authorities in a way that does not exacerbate tensions. He said the Secretary-General fully supports the call of the International Committee of the Red Cross for a daily humanitarian pause or truce to enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance by the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and reported that Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, will travel to Syria at the earliest opportunity to negotiate access with the authorities.
- He concluded that ultimately, only a political solution will resolve this crisis.
- The Secretary-General encourages all to speak with one voice in their messages and actions. It is essential to avoid further militarization and descent towards sectarian strife. We must work to preserve the peaceful coexistence of Syria’s many communities, he said.
- Asked about the meeting of the Friends of Syria, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had consistently called for dialogue in Syria and for the international community to speak in one voice. He said the United Nations was reaching out to all parties to open a dialogue.
- Del Buey also noted that last week’s adoption of a resolution by the General Assembly was a step in the right direction. He added that the nomination of Kofi Annan as Joint Special Envoy was an indication that the process was moving forward and that the United Nations and the League of Arab States were taking the lead in finding a solution and stopping the violence in Syria.
- He also underscored that the United Nations was also working on the humanitarian front and had requested to send the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, to the country. Asked if the Syrian authorities had granted access to Ms. Amos, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the United Nations was still waiting for that response.
KOFI ANNAN APPOINTED JOINT SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA BY UNITED NATIONS AND LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES
- Yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Nabil ElAraby, announced the appointment of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis.
- The Secretaries-General are grateful to Mr. Annan for accepting this important mission at a critical time for the people of Syria. A deputy for the Joint Special Envoy will be chosen from the Arab region.
- The Special Envoy will be the high-level representative of the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis. The Special Envoy will provide good offices aimed at bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.
- The Special Envoy will consult broadly and engage with all relevant interlocutors within and outside Syria in order to end the violence and the humanitarian crisis, and facilitate a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian Government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition.
- Asked about the relationship between Kofi Annan and the President of Syria, the Deputy Spokesperson said that Mr. Annan had been selected as Joint Special Envoy because of his background and knowledge of the situation in the Middle East. He added that the administrative modalities of Mr. Annan’s appointment were still being worked on.
IN ZAMBIA, SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT IN SPECIAL SESSION
- The Secretary-General arrived in Lusaka today.
- He headed straight from the airport to the National Assembly to deliver a speech at a special session of Zambia's parliament that was broadcast by radio across the country.
- In his address, the Secretary-General said the world had witnessed more than sporting success in Zambia's football victory at the Africa Cup of Nations. The world had also seen Zambia's spirit.
- He said democracy runs deep in Zambia and that work on a new constitution would deepen it further. He said that offered an opportunity for Zambia to lead again by enshrining the highest standards of human rights and protection for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
- The Secretary-General also paid tribute to the 73 Zambians who have lost their lives on UN peacekeeping duties and the more than 300 who serve in peacekeeping missions in Africa and beyond.
- At a later meeting, the Secretary-General discussed a range of topics with members of parliament, including the rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation, refugees and climate change.
- Tomorrow the Secretary-General will visit a UN-supported project for children and will join the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, on a visit to an Olympic Youth Development Centre. He will also meet the Zambian President and a number of cabinet members.
- On Sunday, the Secretary-General will visit a school in Livingstone and tourist infrastructure around Victoria Falls. He will then fly on to Angola.
NEXT INFORMAL TALKS ON WESTERN SAHARA SET FOR 11-13 MARCH IN GREENTREE
- As agreed during the last round of informal talks on Western Sahara, delegations of the parties to that conflict -- Morocco and the Frente Polisario -- and the neighbouring states – Algeria and Mauritania -- will gather for another round of informal talks from 11 to 13 March 2012 in Greentree, Long Island. This meeting will take place at the invitation of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Mr. Christopher Ross, within the mandate provided by the UN Security Council for UN-led negotiations.
- During the upcoming talks, the parties will, as previously agreed, further deepen their discussion of their respective proposals on a settlement. They will also further discuss the new ideas put forward by the Secretary-General in paragraph 120 of his report (S/2011/249) associated with governance, such as environment and natural resources as well as demining, without prejudice to the final status of the Territory.
- They will also have the opportunity to review the status of Confidence Building Measures and discuss the outcome of the last UN High Commission for Refugees coordination meeting that took place on 24 and 25 January in Geneva.
SUDAN: U.N. INTERNATIONAL STAFF RETURN TO SOUTH KORDOFAN
- The Acting Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mark Cutts, welcomed the return today of United Nations international staff to South Kordofan State.
- This follows a decision made earlier by the Government of Sudan to authorize their return. The first two international staff arrived today in the state capital, Kadugli.
- Mr. Cutts acknowledged efforts that are being made by the Government, together with national and international humanitarian organizations, to address humanitarian needs in the state and called for assessments to be extended to all conflict affected areas.
- He said that the United Nations and other independent and impartial humanitarian organizations had a vital role to play in helping to meet the needs of all Sudanese civilians affected by the fighting. He also stressed the need for the fighting to stop so that that displaced people can return to their homes and people in the conflict affected areas can resume normal lives.
- Mr. Cutts also noted that the United Nations, the African Union and the League of Arab States have tabled a joint proposal to facilitate humanitarian access to conflict-affected people throughout South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
*** The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Vijay Nambiar, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Myanmar, who briefed on his recent visit to the country.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
25 FEBRUARY – 2 MARCH 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 25 February
Today, the Secretary-General is in Zambia on an official visit.
The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, delivers a speech at the Istanbul International Conference on Mediation, entitled “Enhancing peace through mediation: New Actors, Fresh Approaches, Bold Initiatives.”
Sunday, 26 February
Today, the Secretary-General begins an official visit to Angola, which wraps up on Monday.
Monday, 27 February
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on “Peace consolidation in West Africa: piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.”
Today, the Human Rights Council begins its 29th session in Geneva. It runs until 23 March. The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, will address today’s session.
Today, in Mexico City, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will launch a report on “Children in an Urban World.”
At 10.30 a.m., there will be a series of video conversations with experts on the theme of youth unemployment. It will take place at the media stakeout area on the 2nd floor North Lawn Building (NLB).
At 12:20 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference on “Youth Employment, Social Cohesion and the Arab Spring”. The participants will include: José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Director, Employment Sector, International Labour Organization (ILO); Ron Bruder, Founder, Education for Employment Foundation; Badr Jafar, President, Crescent Petroleum and CEO, Crescent Investments. The moderator will be Kevin Cassidy of the ILO.
At 3:00 p.m., representatives from governments, business sector and civil society will gather at the United Nations Headquarters to examine how each sector can collaborate in partnerships to address youth unemployment. The partnership event is a preparatory exercise for the 2012 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) to be held in early July. The theme for the event will be partnerships for more and better jobs for young people in an effort to eradicate poverty. It will take place in the ECOSOC Chamber of the North Lawn Building (NLB).
Tuesday, 28 February
This morning, the Security Council will receive a briefing on the Council’s mission to Haiti and the Middle East. It will then hold consultations on the Middle East. In the afternoon, the Council will hold consultations on Yemen.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact Office, will be the guest at the noon briefing to discuss the business role at Rio+20 and the Global Compact's plans for a Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, to be held on 15-18 June.
At 12:30 p.m., there will be a press conference in support of Global Efforts to End Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, UNFPA, UNICEF and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Participants will include: UNFPA Executive Director, Babatunde Osotimehin; UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo; Italian Minister of Labour, Social Policies and Gender Equality, Elsa Fornero; and Amb. Cesare Maria Ragaglini of Italy [see also 7pm]
At 1:15 p.m., there will be a forum on “Investing in child development and learning: Assuring equity in decent work and in sustainable development,” co-organized by UNICEF. It will take place in Conference Room 7 of the North Lawn Building (NLB).
At 7:00 p.m., there will be a special concert featuring UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo dedicated to the global efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation under the tagline "Raise Your Voice to End FGM". It will take place in the General Assembly Hall.
Wednesday, 29 February
This morning, the Security Council will receive a briefing and hold consultations on Libya and the Libya Sanctions Committee. In the afternoon, it will hold consultations on peace and security in Africa.
Thursday, 1 March
Today, the United Kingdom assumes the monthly rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of March.
The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, delivers a lecture at Oxford University on the subject: “The Challenges Facing the United Nations at the Dawn of the 21st Century.”
Friday, 2 March
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a Joint Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) -UN Women press conference to present the findings of an annual survey on women in parliament and executive political power, highlighting successes and setbacks. Speakers will include: Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women; Abdelwahad Radi, President, IPU; and Anders B. Johnsson, Secretary General, IPU.
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017