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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 FARHAN HAQ,
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 WEDNESDAY, 29 AUGUST 2012

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOLDS MEETINGS WITH IRANIAN LEADERS IN TEHRAN

  • The Secretary-General arrived in Iran on Wednesday and had a series of meetings with Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Imam Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
  • Soon after arriving in Tehran, the Secretary-General first held talks at the Parliament Building with the Speaker, Ali Larijani, and other officials.
  • And later, the Secretary-General had an extensive encounter with President Ahmadinejad which was followed by his meeting with the Supreme Leader.
  • He also had a meeting with Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.
  • In all these meetings, the Secretary-General conveyed the clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which cooperation and progress are urgent for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people.
  • In his meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Secretary-General thanked him for the invitation to the Non-Aligned Movement Summit.
  • On the nuclear question, the Secretary-General said he has been following closely Iran’s talks with the P5+1. He said he regretted that little tangible progress has been achieved so far during these intensive talks and that the talks needed to be serious and substantive.
  • He said that Iran needed to take concrete steps to address the concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and prove to the world that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
  • He said that there is no alternative to peaceful, diplomatic and negotiated settlement which should be reached step by step and based on reciprocity.
    The Secretary-General has made the same point on the nuclear question to the Supreme Leader.
  • On Syria, the Secretary-General urged both the President and the Supreme Leader in separate meetings to use Iran’s influence to impress upon the Syrian leadership the urgent need for the violence to stop and to create the condition for a credible dialogue and a genuine political process that meets the will of the Syrian people.
  • And the Secretary-General reiterated his opposition to the further militarization of the conflict and he called on all States to stop supplying arms to all sides in Syria.
  • On human rights, the Secretary-General in his meeting with the President said that the human rights situation in Iran remains a source of concern. He said fundamental, civil and political rights should be respected. He also mentioned in his meeting with the President, and separately with the Supreme Leader, that he strongly objected to recent remarks from Iranian officials denying the Holocaust and Israel’s right to exist. He said that such offensive and inflammatory statements were unacceptable and should be condemned by all.
  • The Secretary-General has had similar exchanges with the Speaker of Parliament and with Mr. Jalili, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. The talks with Mr. Jalili focused primarily on the nuclear file.
  • Asked about the meetings, the Spokesperson said that they were serious and detailed. He said that the Secretary-General had said clearly and in no uncertain terms what the expectations of the international community are, regarding key concerns.
  • On Syria, he said that the Secretary-General had asked for all States to stop supplying arms to all sides.
  • In response to questions, he reiterated that the Secretary-General had strongly objected to comments made by several senior Iranian officials recently concerning denial of the Holocaust and Israel’s right to exist.

SECURITY COUNCIL DUE TO HOLD MINISTERIAL MEETING ON SYRIA

  • On Thursday afternoon, the Security Council will hold a ministerial meeting concerning the humanitarian situation in Syria.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, will brief Council members on the humanitarian situation.
  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, will also be on hand to provide information to the Council.

SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL WELCOMES TRANSFER OF MORE PEOPLE TO CAMP IN IRAQ

  • Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, welcomed the arrival in Camp Hurriya today of another group of 400 residents from Camp Ashraf.
  • He noted that three-quarters of the residents from Camp Ashraf, 2,400 people, have now moved to Camp Hurriya.  He thanked them for their cooperation and called on those remaining in Camp Ashraf to act in the same spirit and start preparations for additional moves without delay, in order to peacefully complete the process.
  • Martin Kobler repeated his request to the Government of Iraq to be generous with regard to the humanitarian needs of the residents, and also reiterated his appeal to Member States to accept the residents for resettlement in their countries.

U.N. EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERN OVER MASSACRES IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Roger Meece, has expressed his deep concern over reports of further massacres of civilians, in North Kivu, in the east of the country.
  • The killings, which took place in Masisi territory at the beginning of August, are the latest in a series of violent attacks by armed groups systematically targeting the civilian population.
  • Mr. Meece said the deterioration of the overall security situation in North Kivu is extremely alarming.
  • The UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC has documented more than 45 attacks on some 30 villages and towns in Masisi since May.
  • Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said that the killings are still being verified, but that the preliminary findings suggest a significant number of people – most of them women and children –had been slaughtered.

SOMALIA CONGRATULATED BY U.N. ON ELECTION OF SPEAKER

  • Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, warmly congratulated the Somali people on Tuesday on the election of a new Speaker of Parliament.
  • He said that this is a moment of progress and optimism, with legislators taking an important step on the road to restoring accountable and participatory governance.
  • Dr. Mahiga said that it is vital that a complete Parliament is seated as quickly as possible in order to ensure that the election of the President can be accomplished in accordance with the agreed timetable. 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES TALKS IN COLOMBIA: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General was very pleased to learn that the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has announced exploratory talks between his Government and representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  The Secretary-General hopes that this will be the start of a productive dialogue to address and resolve a conflict which has afflicted the Colombian people for almost five decades. As the Secretary-General has stated in the past, his good offices are available should they be deemed useful. 

DIALOGUE WITH GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON SYRIA TO CONTINUE: Asked about the mandate for the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesperson noted that the General Assembly had set the mandate for the previous Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan. There would be a continuing dialogue with General Assembly Member States as Mr. Brahimi’s work proceeds.