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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2013

SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • Speaking from Abu Dhabi, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General met in the United Arab Emirates with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister; Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein; and Dr. Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
  • He also met with Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the CEO of Masdar, an Abu Dhabi-based commercial venture aimed at advancing clean energy to the forefront of the global power business.
  • The Spokesperson added that the Secretary-General visited Masdar City, an international humanitarian city. It houses a complex bringing together United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, coordinates logistical operations and houses an enormous warehouse.
  • The Secretary-General will travel onwards to Vienna, Austria, and to Geneva before returning to New York over the weekend.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONSIDERS FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT ON D.R. CONGO TO BE A MILESTONE

  • Speaking from Abu Dhabi, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General feels that the signing of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region is an extremely important development.
  • The Secretary-General considers this Framework a milestone. He recognizes that its signing is a start and his focus will now be on the implementation of the commitments made.
  • The Spokesperson added that the Secretary-General will brief the Security Council early next week on the DRC.
  • The Framework, signed on Sunday in Addis Ababa, has been welcomed by the Security Council, the European Commission and others. In a press statement issued on Sunday evening, the Security Council called on the signatory States of the Framework to fully implement their commitments in good faith.
  • It also voiced support for the swift designation of a United Nations Special Envoy to support, coordinate and assess national and regional efforts for the implementation of the Framework.

U.N. ENVOY CONCERNED ABOUT DEATH OF PALESTINIAN DETAINEE IN ISRAELI CUSTODY

  • Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, is deeply saddened and concerned about the death in Israeli detention on 23 February of Arafat Jaradat, who was arrested on 18 February. He sends his condolences to the family of Mr. Jaradat. 
  • The Special Coordinator takes note of the preliminary findings of the autopsy that was conducted on Mr. Jaradat’s body with the participation of Israeli and Palestinian experts. The United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat’s death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible. 
  • The Special Coordinator reaffirms the position expressed by the Secretary-General last week that international human rights obligations towards all Palestinian detainees and prisoners in Israeli custody must be fully respected.
  • The United Nations remains concerned about the deteriorating health of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike. We reiterate that those held in administrative detention without charge should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or else they should be promptly released.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR IN SUDAN CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY OF CIVILIANS IN EL SIREAF, NORTH DARFUR

  • The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan expressed on Monday his profound concern about the safety of civilians in the town of El Sireaf in North Darfur.
  • Ali Al-Za’tari said that the renewed fighting which erupted last week, resulting in the deaths of more than 50 people, has once again highlighted the vulnerability of civilians in the area.
  • Fighting between two tribes in the area last month uprooted more than 100,000 people, according to the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur, or UNAMID.
  • On Sunday, the Mission airlifted 37 wounded civilians for medical treatment. The Mission has also transported medical and other supplies to those affected by the violence.
  • Both Mr. Al-Za’tari and UNAMID underscored the need for an end to the fighting.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF SAYS FAR TOO MANY PEOPLE ESCAPE JUSTICE FOR SERIOUS CRIMES

  • Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
  • She warned that, despite progress, there are still far too many people with command responsibility who escape justice for serious crimes and gross human rights violations. She said that we must continue to nurture and strengthen the system designed to deal with such crimes and violations, and those who commit them.
  • Ms. Pillay noted that two important situations - Darfur in 2008, and Libya in 2011 - have been referred to the International Criminal Court. Yet she added that the Security Council has so far failed with regard to Syria, despite the repeated reports of widespread or systematic crimes and violations by her Office, the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, civil society organizations and others.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL INITIATED A PROGRAMME TO ELIMINATE CHOLERA IN HAITI: Asked about cholera in Haiti, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has initiated a programme to work with donors in eliminating cholera from the island of Hispaniola.

SECRETARY-GENERAL UNDERLINES THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY IN SRI LANKA: Asked about alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has consistently underlined the critical importance of addressing accountability issues in Sri Lanka through a genuine and comprehensive national process and achieving national reconciliation.  He noted that the accountability issue is currently being dealt with by Member States.