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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 MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
 
THURSDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2012
 
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES TIMOR-LESTE, ABYEI
 
  • On Thursday morning, the Security Council met with troop and police contributing states to the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).
  • They also discussed the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in closed consultations.
  • In the afternoon, the Council will be briefed by the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore.
  • Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, will brief the Security Council on South Sudan on Friday afternoon.
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO AUSTRIA
 
  • The Secretary-General will visit Vienna next week, arriving there on Wednesday.
  • He will address the opening session of the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners on Combating the Afghan Illicit Opiate Trade and will hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of that event.
  • The Secretary-General will attend a ceremony to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO).
  • He will also give an address at Hofburg Palace on the theme, “Empowering People in a Changing World”.
  • While in the Austrian capital, the Secretary-General will meet with President Heinz Fischer and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger to discuss a wide range of issues of common concern.
  • The Secretary-General will return to New York on Friday, 17 February.
 
U.N. OFFICIAL REPEATS CALL ON SYRIAN AUTHORITIES TO HALT KILLING OF CHILDREN
 
  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, has reiterated her call to the Syria authorities to stop the killing and maiming of children.
  • She noted that over the past months, the number of child victims in Syria has climbed into the hundreds and the rate is increasing.
  • Ms. Coomaraswamy said that the killing and maiming of children in contravention of international law, as well as attacks on schools and hospitals count among the six grave violations against children defined by the Security Council in 2005. She said her office and partners will continue to report on the violations committed against children by all parties in Syria.
  • Asked about the situation in Homs, Syria, the Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-General said yesterday that he fears the brutality we are seeing – heavy weapons firing into civilian neighbourhoods – is a harbinger of worse to come. Nesirky noted that there have been repeated broken promises about an end to the violence, and he reiterated the Secretary-General's call for violence from whatever quarter to stop.
  • Asked about the proposed deployment of a joint UN-League of Arab States observer mission and a possible joint special envoy, the Spokesperson noted that there is a suspended League of Arab States (LAS) monitoring mission in place, and UN training for those observers before deployment had been offered already. Nesirky said that in a telephone conversation on 7 February with the UN Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the LAS proposed that a joint observer mission and envoy be considered. Nesirky said we need to hear more details from LAS about what they have in mind.
 
LIBYA: U.N. ENVOY VISITS SIRTE
 
  • The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Libya, Ian Martin, visited Sirte yesterday, where he met with the local council, the military council, and members of civil society.
  • Local council members listed their concerns and needs, in particular in the areas of education, health, reconstruction, mine action, internally displaced persons, post-conflict trauma and clarification of the fate of those missing.
  • Mr. Martin recalled the work of UN humanitarian agencies and pledged the UN's continuing support to Sirte's recovery, as well as assuring them that he would reflect their needs in his discussions with the Interim Government.
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES CALM IN MALDIVES
 
  • Asked about the situation in the Maldives, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General continues to call on everyone there to refrain from violence and engage constructively in addressing the challenges the country is facing. He noted that Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco is due to arrive in the Maldives shortly and that we would await his initial assessment of the situation before commenting further.