HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
THURSDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS MUST BREAK OUT OF ‘ZERO-SUM MENTALITY’
- The Secretary-General spoke at an event this morning marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and he said that Israelis and Palestinians must break out of a zero-sum mentality, and embrace a peaceful path forward. That is the best hope for both peoples.
- Noting the vote taking place in the General Assembly this afternoon on Non-Member Observer State status at the UN, the Secretary-General said the question is a matter for United Nations Member States to decide. It is important for all concerned to approach this responsibly and constructively.
- He added that efforts should be focused on preserving the commendable achievements of the Palestinian Authority on the ground, and on re-launching meaningful negotiations, which are the only way to resolve all permanent status issues. He called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to breathe new life into the peace process, which is now on life support.
IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL THAT STRAINED RELATIONS BETWEEN POLITICAL LEADERS CONTINUE
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, told the Security Council this morning that the strained relations between Iraq's political leaders that have endured throughout the year continue. One manifestation of this, he said, is the Arab-Kurdish rift.
- The lack of trust stems from a number of pending issues of contention, including power sharing, security and tense relations between the central government and the Region of Kurdistan.
- Mr. Kobler noted improvements in the relationship between Iraq and Kuwait and welcomed these steps. He also appealed to the Government of Iraq to continue to demonstrate the goodwill necessary to fulfil Iraq's other outstanding obligations, in particular to missing persons and property.
- He reiterated the Secretary-General's appeal to Member States to offer resettlement opportunities to former residents of Camp Ashraf. Without such an undertaking, there can be no sustainable solution for the residents.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS DAMASCUS BOMBINGS, TO BRIEF GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON SYRIA ON FRIDAY
- The Security Council heard a briefing in consultations today by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, and he spoke to reporters after that briefing ended.
- In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Secretary-General condemned in the strongest possible terms the terrorist bombings in Damascus that took place earlier that day, which have left dozens killed and injured. There are no circumstances that justify the targeting of civilians. Such terror attacks are unacceptable.
- The Secretary-General is deeply saddened and expresses his condolences to the families of the victims.
- This latest act of violence only underscores the urgency of stopping the destructive spiral of war in Syria and moving urgently toward a peaceful political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
- The Secretary-General and Lakhdar Brahimi will both brief the General Assembly on Syria on Friday.
- Asked about the General Assembly session, the Spokesperson said it would take place on Friday morning and that the Secretary-General’s remarks would be open to the public.
U.N. MISSION CLOSELY MONITORING M23 MOVEMENTS IN GOMA, D.R. CONGO
- The UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is closely monitoring M23 armed group movements, covering all important entry and exit routes into Goma.
- Reports indicate movements of small groups of M23 troops in and out of Goma, but the Mission has not yet been able to ascertain whether there is a net reduction of M23 troops in the city.
- There are, however, several reports of M23 movement from locations in Masisi territory.
- The Mission is also planning aerial reconnaissance to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had called on the M23 rebels to immediately lay down their arms in accordance with the agreements reached in Kampala, and comply with the immediate withdrawal of their forces from Goma.
*** The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Moustapha Soumaré, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from Kinshasa via video link.