HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2013
IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON POLICE IN KIRKUK
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, has condemned in the strongest possible terms the coordinated attacks on the police headquarters in Kirkuk yesterday, which have claimed dozens of lives and injured many more.
- Mr. Kobler said that the perpetrators showed a complete disregard for human life.
- He said that it is important that the people of Kirkuk remain united against the forces of extremism and hatred. Mr. Kobler urged the Iraqi leadership to take all necessary steps that are required to deal with this alarming situation, particularly in Kirkuk, which is a symbol of peaceful coexistence in Iraq.
- Asked about the surge of violence in Iraq, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General joins Mr. Kobler in condemning the attacks that have taken place.
- The Secretary-General recently issued a statement condemning the wave of attacks in Iraq. In that statement, the Secretary-General recognized the right to peaceful assembly and called on all parties to exercise maximum restraint.
HEAD OF U.N. BODY VISITS MALI; SPOTLIGHTS NEED TO SAFEGUARD CULTURAL HERITAGE
- Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), visited Mali on Saturday, along with French President François Hollande and the interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré. The main aim of her visit was to launch the process of reconstruction and safeguarding of the cultural heritage of northern Mali, including the mausoleums of Timbuktu and the city’s collection of manuscripts.
- Ms. Bokova visited Timbuktu’s World Heritage sites, and the Ahmed Baba research centre, where some 40,000 of the manuscripts were stored. She then traveled to Bamako with President Hollande to meet Mali’s leaders.
- The Director-General said that an expert mission would soon be sent to work with the Government of Mali to assess the damage to its cultural heritage and to prepare a plan of action for its restoration. She added that UNESCO would mobilise the necessary expertise and resources to ensure that this was done both efficiently and in a sustainable way.
- Asked about alleged human rights violations by Malian forces, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations has human rights experts in Mali as part of its multi-disciplinary mission. The Secretary-General has spoken about the need for accountability and that there be no impunity.
SECRETARY-GENERAL FOLLOWING ISRAEL-SYRIA DEVELOPMENTS: Asked about a reported Israeli attack on Syria last week, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had made a response last week and continued to follow developments.
SECURITY COUNCIL AGREES ON FEBRUARY WORK PROGRAMME: The Security Council, in consultations this morning, agreed on its programme of work for February.