HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY CONCERNED BY FIGHTING IN NORTHERN MALI
- The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the fighting between Tuareg rebel groups and Government forces in northern Mali. He is especially troubled by the large-scale humanitarian consequences of the crisis, including civilian casualties and thousands of internally displaced persons with many more seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, thus aggravating an already dire humanitarian situation throughout the Sahel region.
- The Secretary-General condemns the use of violence as a means to achieve political objectives. He therefore calls on the rebel groups to immediately cease their attacks and to engage in dialogue with the Government of Mali to resolve their grievances.
- The Secretary-General reiterates the support of the United Nations for efforts to find a peaceful and durable solution to this crisis.
BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES INAUGURATION OF DARFUR REGIONAL AUTHORITY
- The Secretary-General welcomes the inauguration today of the Darfur Regional Authority, which was established under the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur with responsibility to lead the implementation of its provisions.
- The Secretary-General congratulates the Government and the Liberation and Justice Movement on this important step forward. He reiterates the commitment of the United Nations system to support their efforts and those of the Darfur Regional Authority to bring peace to Darfur.
- The Secretary-General urges the parties to take immediate steps to implement those provisions of the Agreement that are of greatest concern to the people of Darfur, who have suffered the most from the conflict. In particular, the provisions related to reconciliation, human rights and justice, the establishment of conditions for returns and early recovery and peace dividends.
- The Secretary-General appeals to the Government of Sudan and non-signatory armed movements to enter into negotiations towards a final agreement immediately and without preconditions.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES MISSION IN KOSOVO, TO HEAR SECRETARY-GENERAL BRIEF ON LATEST TRIP
- This morning Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, briefed the Security Council on the UN Mission to Kosovo (UNMIK) and the situation there.
- Mr. Mulet said that, while the situation on the ground has calmed down, it remains fragile. He noted that, as the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina was resuming in Brussels following a three-month hiatus, all sides renewed their efforts to stabilise the situation on the ground and focused their attention to achieve results through good faith engagement.
- This afternoon at 3:00 p.m., the Secretary-General will brief the Council in a closed session on his recent visits to the Middle East and to the African Union Summit is Addis Ababa. The Secretary-General is expected to speak to journalists at the stakeout afterwards.
SYRIA: HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CALLS FOR URGENT, EFFECTIVE ACTION TO PROTECT SYRIAN POPULATION
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Wednesday deplored the ongoing assault on the Syrian city of Homs and stressed the extreme urgency for the international community to cut through the politics and take effective action to protect the Syrian population.
- Ms. Pillay said that the failure of the Security Council to agree on firm collective action appears to have fueled the Syrian Government’s readiness to massacre its own people in an effort to crush dissent.
- She also said that all evidence with respect to the ongoing violence points to the involvement of the Syrian army and security forces in the perpetration of most of these crimes. She noted they may constitute crimes against humanity, punishable under international law.
AGENCIES WARN OF HIGH LEVEL OF FOOD INSECURITY IN SOUTH SUDAN
- The level of food insecurity has risen sharply in South Sudan, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
- It says that the number of food-insecure people has jumped from 3.3 million last year to 4.7 million this year. Of those, about one million people are severely food insecure. The report also estimates that the number of people who are severely food-insecure could double if conflict continues to cause major population displacements and food prices keep rising.
- The World Food Programme and its partners are already preparing to respond to increased needs if the situation deteriorates further.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON MALDIVIANS TO REFRAIN FROM VIOLENCE
- Asked about the situation in the Maldives, the Spokesperson said that in a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General had called on all Maldivians to refrain from violence and engage constructively in addressing the challenges their country is facing.
- Nesirky also said that, as announced last week, a mission from the Department of Political Affairs, headed by Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, will visit the Maldives this week.
***The guest at the noon briefing was Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.