HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
MONDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND OPENING OF SOCHI OLYMPICS IN RUSSIA
- The Secretary-General will depart New York on Tuesday evening for a visit to Sochi in Russia.
- On Friday, 7 February, he will take part in the opening of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
- The Secretary-General will hold bilateral meetings with world leaders who will, like him, be attending the Games in Sochi.
- The Secretary-General plans to return to New York on Saturday, 8 February.
- The Spokesperson confirmed, in response to a question, that this would be the first time that the Secretary-General would address the assembly of the IOC. He pointed to the growing relationship between the United Nations and the IOC as one of the reasons that the Secretary-General would go to Sochi and speak to the IOC members.
U.N. AND HUMANITARIAN PARTNERS LAUNCH NEW RESPONSE PLAN FOR SAHEL
- The United Nations and humanitarian partners launched a three-year Regional Strategic Response Plan on Monday to provide aid to millions of people in nine countries in Africa's Sahel region.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some 20 million people are currently at risk of food insecurity in the Sahel and 2.5 million of them need urgent lifesaving food assistance. An estimated five million children under five years of age will suffer from malnutrition in 2014, and some 1.5 million of them will face acute malnutrition. Violence and insecurity has forced 1.2 million people to flee their homes and that is creating protracted internal displacement and a refugee crisis.
- The plan seeks to mobilize an initial US$2 billion from international donors in 2014, and the strategy comprises country plans for Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS MEET OFFICIALS IN MALI
- The 15 members of the Security Council are on a two-day visit to Mali.
- On Sunday, they went to Mopti, which is 600 km northeast of Bamako, where they held meetings with the governor and other local authorities. They also meet with civil society representatives from northern Mali.
- The Council members then visited the UN Mission’s camp in Mopti and were briefed on the security situation, as well as on the activities of the UN agencies present in the region. They also visited the camp’s field hospital.
- Back in Bamako, the Council delegation met with the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, and other members of his cabinet.
- On Monday, the delegation met with the Serval Commander and with the Head of the European Union Training Mission (EUTM).
- And this afternoon, members of the Council will meet with officials of the Malian government and members of Parliament.
- On Monday evening, the delegation will wrap up its visit with a press conference at the headquarters of the UN Mission in Mali, MINUSMA.
SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF MEETS WITH PRESIDENT SALVA KIIR IN JUBA
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, wrapped up a two-day visit to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Monday
- Earlier on Monday, the Under-Secretary-General met with President Salva Kiir in Juba. He stressed that priority must be given to implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement that was signed on 23 January. He also conveyed the UN’s full support for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-led mediation process.
- In a meeting with UN staff in the capital Juba, Mr. Ladsous commended the mission for its resilience throughout the crisis and for sharing the Mission’s facilities with thousands of civilians at risk.
- During his trip, Mr. Ladsous also visited the Tomping UNMISS site in Juba, where the United Nations is protecting more than 25,000 civilians.
- After meeting with displaced civilians and community leaders, Mr. Ladsous stated that seeing thousands of people safe at the UN facilities was a clear indicator that the Mission had made the right decision to open its doors to civilians seeking protection.
- The UN Mission, however, reports continuing incidents of obstruction of movement of its personnel, making it increasingly difficult for the Mission to implement its mandate.
- Overall, some 75,000 civilians are sheltering at various UN bases across the country.
- Asked about work by the UN Mission in South Sudan, the Spokesperson reiterated the UN’s objections to obstructions being placed in the work of the Mission.
SUDAN: U.N. COORDINATOR WELCOMES GOVERNMENT’S HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANT TO SOUTH SUDANEES
- The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan and the head of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Sudan have welcomed the commitment of the Government of Sudan to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance to South Sudanese who have fled the conflict in South Sudan and the announcement by the Government of Sudan that they will be granted "special privileges".
- They encourage the Government of Sudan to further clarify the nature of protection it will extend and the modalities for granting such protection, in line with international instruments ratified by Sudan.
- The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNHCR express concern about reports of rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the sites where the newly-arrived South Sudanese reside and to which UNHCR and other UN agencies have had limited access so far. They call on the Government of Sudan to facilitate sustained direct access to them.
U.N. REPRESENTATIVE IN D.R.CONGO CONDEMNS ASSAULT ON CIVILIANS AND U.N. STAFF
- The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, reports that early this morning, demonstrators in Bunia stoned several UN cars. It adds that during the incidents, a peacekeeper lost control of his car and received serious head injuries, while four local civilians were injured as well.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the country, Martin Kobler, said that this kind of assault on civilians and on UN staff was not acceptable, whatever the reason. He called on demonstrators to use peaceful means to express themselves.
SYRIA: DEPUTY JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO LEAVE HIS POSITION
- United Nations and League of Arab States Deputy Joint Special Representative Nasser al-Kidwa has confirmed his intention to leave his current position, effective this week, to the Secretary-General. He has indicated to the Secretary-General his willingness to serve the United Nations in other capacities, should the Secretary-General wish.
- The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation to Mr. al-Kidwa for his service under both Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi and Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan in trying to end the bloodshed in Syria and move toward a Syrian-led transition based on the 30 June 2012 Geneva communiqué.
- Asked about a briefing by the head of the UN-OPCW Joint Mission in Syria, Sigrid Kaag, the Spokesperson confirmed that she will brief the Security Council this week.
- Asked about remarks by the Secretary-General concerning Cyprus, the Spokesperson referred to the specific content of the remarks, made in Germany over the weekend.
- Asked about Michael Bloomberg’s appointment as a special envoy dealing with cities and climate change, the Spokesperson noted Mr. Bloomberg’s considerable experience in dealing with urban issues, including as a mayor of New York.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s trip to Cuba, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General repeatedly brought up human rights in his meetings with Government officials and his public remarks.