HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 21 AUGUST 2012
NEW DEPUTY REPRESENTATIVE FOR SYRIA NAMED
- In a statement, the Secretary-General of the United Nations said that he is pleased, along with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil ElAraby, to announce the appointment on Tuesday of Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, as their Deputy Joint Special Representative for Syria.
- Mr. Al-Kidwa brings to the position his extensive diplomatic experience and deep knowledge of the region, in addition to his recent involvement in UN peacemaking efforts on Syria as Deputy to the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan.
- In his prior career, Mr. Al-Kidwa served in various functions with the Palestinian National Authority, including as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2006, and Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations from 1991 to 2005.
- Asked about the appointment of a new Joint Special Representative for Syria, the Spokesperson said Mr. Brahimi will assume his position September 1, and will be in New York later this week, where he will be based. He is expected to meet with the Secretary-General and senior officials. Nesirky noted Mr. Brahimi has the full support and backing of the Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and the Security Council.
- Asked about the situation in Syria, the Spokesperson said the World Food Programme (WFP) expects to deliver supplies for 850,000 people over the next few weeks, and other members of the United Nations family are equally engaged in meeting the humanitarian challenge there. Nesirky noted that a concerted effort is required by the international community to ensure there is no shortfall in the funding available for the huge humanitarian effort required there.
- Asked about kidnappings in Syria and Lebanon, the Spokesperson noted the Secretary-General has said all kidnappings are unacceptable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY SADDENED BY DEATH OF ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER
- The Secretary-General said in a statement that he is deeply saddened by the death of H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. He offers his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, the Government and people of Ethiopia.
- Prime Minister Zenawi will be remembered for his exceptional leadership and advocacy on African issues within and outside the continent, as well as for overseeing his country’s economic growth and development. The Secretary-General is grateful that Prime Minister Zenawi’s administration was a strong supporter of United Nations peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts. Ethiopian troops participated in several United Nations peacekeeping deployments in Africa, including in Sudan, Liberia and Burundi.
- The Secretary-General will remember, in particular, Prime Minister Zenawi for his active commitment to working with the United Nations on numerous global peace and development challenges, most recently his important role in the ongoing negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan, the Millennium Development Goals and climate change.
- At this time of national mourning, the Secretary-General renews the commitment of the United Nations to work alongside the Government and the people of Ethiopia.
KOSOVO: U.N. ENVOY URGES BOTH SIDES FOR GOOD FAITH DEMONSTRATION
- On Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo, Farid Zarif, told the Security Council that a clear demonstration of good faith is now needed from both sides.
- Mr. Zarif reported that the Secretary-General’s recent visit to the region had contributed to discussions on a number of essential issues, and that, on the ground, considerable progress has been made towards increasing cohesion and efficiency among internationally-mandated bodies.
- He appealed to members of the Council to positively apply their influence to encourage the parties toward a more creative and bold approach to negotiations.
- In the afternoon, the Council met in closed session to discuss the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and to discuss the work of the committee on sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
QUESTIONS ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME MUST BE PEACEFULLY RESOLVED – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- Asked about tensions between Iran and Israel, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General has said questions about Iran's nuclear programme must be resolved in a peaceful manner.
- He went on to note that the Secretary-General issued a statement 17 August in which he stated that he was dismayed by the remarks threatening Israel’s existence attributed to the Supreme Leader and the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- He said the Secretary-General condemned these offensive and inflammatory statements.
- He said the Secretary-General believes that all leaders in the region should use their voices at this time to lower, rather than to escalate, tensions. In accordance with the United Nations Charter, all members must refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.
MORE THAN 11,000 CHOLERA CASES REPORTED IN SIERRA LEONE – U.N. HEALTH AGENCY
- The World Health Organization (WHO) says that there have been more than 11,000 cases of cholera, resulting in some 200 deaths, in Sierra Leone since January of this year.
- WHO reports that 10 of the country’s 13 districts have been affected by the cholera outbreak.
- The President has declared the escalating situation a humanitarian crisis, and WHO is supporting the Government, deploying experts to support case management and infection control.
U.N. HEALTH AGENCY WORKING WITH D.R. CONGO TO COMBAT EBOLA
- The World Health Organization said today that a total of 15 cases of Ebola with 9 deaths had been reported in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), up to 19 August.
- Thirteen of these cases are probable and two are confirmed. The reported cases and deaths occurred in three zones in Haut-Uele district of Orientale Province.
- The Congolese Ministry of Health has convened a national task force and was working with several partners, including WHO, Médecins sans Frontières Switzerland and Belgium, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
MAKING HISTORY, U.N. CAMPAIGN FOR WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY BY REACHING MORE THAN ONE BILLION PEOPLE
- The World Humanitarian Day 2012 campaign made social media history by sharing more than one billion messages on 19 August, encouraging people to do something good for someone else.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the campaign numbers soared following the release of the ‘I Was Here’ music video by Beyoncé on 18 August.
- Her support and that of other celebrities and major brands put this campaign on the global stage.
MYANMAR: U.N. COMMITTED TO ASSISTING REFORM, RECONCILIATION EFFORTS
- Asked about the problems of Muslim minorities in Myanmar, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Myanmar, Mr. Vijay Nambiar, has spoken very clearly on the subject. He had followed closely the visit by the delegation of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation to the country.
- Mr. Nambiar has said that, for its part, the United Nations is committed to assisting Myanmar and its people in their reform and national reconciliation efforts, including overcoming imminent challenges, in cooperation with the international community.