HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 23 AUGUST 2012
U.N. CONCERNED ABOUT SECURITY INCIDENTS IN LEBANON
- A senior UN official told Lebanon’s Interior Minister in Beirut on Wednesday that the Organization has been closely following with concern the recent security incidents in the country, particularly the kidnappings targeting Syrian nationals and others.
- The Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Robert Watkins, also expressed deep regret for the loss of life in the clashes that have been taking place over the past few days in the city of Tripoli.
- All of these incidents undermine the efforts that many in Lebanon have been exerting to promote peace, stability and long-term development, Mr. Watkins said.
- And he said that he agreed with the Interior Minister that the Lebanese State has a moral responsibility to protect innocent people, including Syrian nationals, many of whom are refugees seeking shelter from the violence in their own country.
- Mr. Watkins will meet with the Lebanese Prime Minister later this week.
- Asked about the situation in Lebanon, the Spokesperson noted that Mr. Watkins had met the Lebanese Interior Minister on this topic. He noted the Secretary-General's concerns about what is happening in the region, and that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is very aware of what is happening in the region even if their mandate is limited to southern Lebanon.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SITUATION IN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN
- On Thursday morning, the Security Council met in closed consultations to discuss the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
U.N. WORKS IMPARTIALLY TO RESOLVE PEACEFULLY THE SITUATION OF CAMP ASHRAF IN IRAQ
- Asked on Wednesday about allegations by a former staff member of misleading use of photos or “doctoring” of reports in connection with the work of the United Nations on Camp Ashraf in Iraq, the Spokesperson said that the Department of Political Affairs says very clearly that such allegations are false.
- Nesirky added it is regrettable that such a distorted picture is being presented of the efforts of the United Nations in Iraq to resolve peacefully the situation of Camp Ashraf.
- In fact, the UN mission, under the leadership of the Special Representative, Martin Kobler, has worked diligently and impartially to facilitate a peaceful solution that respects the rights and concerns of both the residents and the Government of Iraq.
The Spokesperson added that these efforts are one of the main reasons why this very tense situation has not already spilled over into further violence. He reiterated that the Camp residents agreed last week to the transfer of 400 of their number to the new camp.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS NOT YET MET THE SUPREME LEADER OF IRAN: Asked on Wednesday if the Secretary-General has met the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Spokesperson said that this Secretary-General has not yet met the Supreme leader. Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan met him during his visit to Tehran in 2007 to attend the Summit of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS MEMBER STATES TO LOWER RHETORIC OVER TENSIONS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND IRAN: Asked about tensions between Israel and Iran, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General called on all member states to lower the rhetoric in his statement last Friday.