HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 28 MARCH 2013
* UN Headquarters in New York will be closed on Friday, 29 March, for the Easter holiday. The noon briefings will resume on Monday, 1 April.
U.N. GIVES SYRIAN GOVERNMENT LETTER ON MODALITIES FOR COOPERATION REGARDING TECHNICAL MISSION
- On Thursday morning, the High Representative for Disarmament, Angela Kane, met with the Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations.
- Ms Kane handed over a letter from her to the Deputy Prime Minister of Syria containing the modalities for cooperation reflecting the standard provisions that would be required to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the technical mission looking into alleged use of chemical weapons.
- The next step is to await the early affirmation from the Syrian Government on those modalities and arrangements following which we can expeditiously dispatch the team.
- The Syrian Government confirmed to Ms. Kane their desire to cooperate. They also confirmed to Ms. Kane that they are keen to proceed.
- Asked about the League of Arab States granting of recognition to the Syrian opposition, the Spokesperson reiterated that recognition is a matter to be decided by Member States.
- Asked how that designation affects the work of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, Nesirky said that the Secretary-General continues to encourage all parties to support the work of the Special Representative.
GOLAN: SECURITY COUNCIL CONCERNED AT VIOLATIONS OF DISENGAGEMENT OF FORCES AGREEMENT
- In a press statement issued on Wednesday afternoon on the situation in Golan, the members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement.
- The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the risk that all military activities in the area of separation conducted by any actor pose to the long-held ceasefire and the local population.
- The Security Council has scheduled a meeting on Thursday afternoon to vote on a resolution concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO CONTINUES TO PRESS FOR JUSTICE REGARDING RAPES IN MINOVA
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has been following up with the Congolese authorities on the matter of rapes in Minova. The UN Mission continues to press for the need for those who committed these unacceptable acts to face justice.
- On 25 March, Roger Meece, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the country, met with the Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense to hand over a final letter.
- The letter informed the Congolese Government of the termination of all MONUSCO support to the two battalions involved in the Minova rapes, should no appropriate action be taken immediately, within 7 days.
- On various occasions, UN officials have also conveyed the UN view on this issue. That was the case on Wednesday at a meeting in New York, when Herve Ladsous, the UN Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations, reiterated the same views to the Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
U.N. SAYS VOLATILE SECURITY SITUATION HAMPERS HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Thursday that the volatile security situation in the Central African Republic is hampering humanitarian efforts to provide medical care and other assistance.
- Many people injured during the latest fighting have been brought to hospitals around the capital Bangui, but medical facilities are finding it difficult to cope with the influx. The lack of electricity makes it extremely difficult to provide care.
- OCHA said that the humanitarian consequences of the recent crisis are particularly worrying in the north and centre of the country.
- The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Ad Interim in the Central African Republic, Dr. Zakaria Maiga, called on all parties to provide security for the people of Bangui and everywhere in the country, to refrain from further escalation of violence, and to respect international humanitarian and human rights law. He said that everything possible is being done to increase humanitarian operations throughout the country.
U.N. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS CHIEF TO TRAVEL TO SAMOA FOR CONFERENCE ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES
- The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo, will travel to Samoa next week, as part of the preparation for next year’s Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.
- Countries agreed at last year’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development that greater efforts were needed to assist small island developing States, and they called for a conference in 2014.
- Mr. Wu, who is the Secretary-General of the Conference, will meet with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sa’ilele Malielegaoi on 2 April and will tour the proposed conference site.
U.N. ENVOY IN IRAQ MEETS SENIOR KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, met senior Kurdistan Regional Government officials in Erbilo on Wednesday.
- They discussed the overall political crisis in the country, the situation in the Disputed Internal Boundaries and the electoral process. Mr. Kobler expressed confidence afterwards that all sides are cooperating in a positive and constructive spirit to resolve any political difference.
U.N. NOT INVOLVED IN TRANSPORTING FRANCOIS BOZIZE FROM CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- Asked a few times this week whether the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) or the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) were involved in transporting Francois Bozizé or his family members from the Central African Republic, the Spokesperson said that the answer is no; neither were involved in transporting anyone from the Bozizé family.
- Also asked about an incident in which internally displaced people (IDPs) were taken away by armed men in Darfur, and the role of the UN-African Union Mission, UNAMID, in that incident, the Spokesperson said that the matter is being investigated.
- And asked about Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense taking over demining activities in northern Sri Lanka, Nesirky said that the handing over of mine action management and activities to the Ministry of Defense is not a recent initiative. It was planned last year and the handover has always been the ultimate objective.
***The Guest at the Noon Briefing was John Ging, the Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). He briefed reporters on his recent visits to Myanmar and the Philippines.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
30 MARCH – 5 APRIL 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 30 March
The Secretary-General will depart New York today for San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Spain and the Netherlands.
Sunday, 31 March
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 1 April
Today, Rwanda will assume the rotating Presidency of the Security Council for April.
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 1 of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be an opening of the substantive session of the Disarmament Commission. The session will end on 19 April.
Tuesday, 2 April
Today is World Autism Awareness Day.
At 12:30 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of April.
In Geneva, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will begin the 5th session of Ad Hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It will end on 12 April.
Wednesday, 3 April
Today is International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
At 9:00 a.m., Conference Room S-2726 of the Secretariat Building, there will be an Expert Group Meeting on “The high-level political forum” organized by the Division of Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
In Geneva, there will be a press conference entitled “World Health Day: Controlling hypertension” by Dr. Oleg Chestnov, Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Shanthi Mendis, Director a.i., Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases of WHO.
In Geneva, at the Palais des Nations, there will be a roundtable discussion entitled “Technology, innovation and multilingualism”, organized by the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
Thursday, 4 April
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Ambassador Saleumxay Kommasith, Permanent Representative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to the United Nations; Ambassador Miguel Berger, Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Germany to the United Nations; Mr. Timothy Horner, Mine Action Adviser, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Mr. Paul Heslop, Chief of Programmes, UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), will be the guests at the Noon Briefing.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 2 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on “Voices from Laos: Clearing bombs, protecting lives” co-organized by the Permanent Mission of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Legacies of War.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room E (NLB), there will be a screening of the film “This is my Child” and panel discussion co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Israel, in collaboration with the Department of Public Information.
In Geneva, there will be a press briefing on the activities and strategy of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) on the occasion of the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, by Ms. Agnès Marcaillou, Director of UNMAS.
In Geneva, at the Palais des Nations, there will be a roundtable discussion entitled “Actors in Mine Action: Challenges and opportunities in today's world”, organized in collaboration with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
Friday, 5 April
Today marks 1,000 Days to the end-2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It begins a week of observances by the UN System, Country Teams and civil society partners, and a social media campaign for #MDGmomentum.
In Geneva, there will be a workshop on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by OHCHR.