HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 24 MARCH 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS NUCLEAR SUMMIT IN THE HAGUE
- The Secretary-General is in The Hague today for the third Nuclear Security Summit, along with more than 50 Heads of State. In his statement at the opening session, he said that nuclear security remains a pressing concern, not least the risk of nuclear terrorism.
- He discussed nuclear security assurances, saying that in the case of Ukraine, security assurances were an essential condition for its accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, the credibility of the assurances given to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 has been seriously undermined by recent events.
- He reiterated his support to efforts to engage Iran to guarantee that their use of nuclear technology is solely for peaceful purposes, and he urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions.
- During the two-day Summit, the Secretary-General will have a series of bilateral meetings. He already met with Xi Jinping, the President of China, as well as with the Minister of Intelligence of Israel, Yuval Steinitz.
SYRIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL REPORTS ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATION TO SECURITY COUNCIL
- The Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of Resolution 2139, concerning the humanitarian situation in Syria, has gone to Security Council members this morning.
- Also today, the United Nations confirmed that 66 out of the 79 trucks carrying UN humanitarian aid from Nusaybin in Turkey to Qamishli in Syria have so far made the trip. The United Nations was informed by the Syrian authorities in charge of the Qamishli border point, in al Hassakeh governorate, that they will continue to grant access to the United Nations to continue with the planned convoy.
- The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, Nigel Fisher, stressed the importance of providing humanitarian agencies and partners with the security guarantees required to enable them to deliver aid safely. He said that he was pleased that this UN convoy was authorized to enter, but he reminded the Governments of Syria and neighbouring countries and other parties to the conflict, to ensure adherence to and full implementation of Security Council Resolution 2139.
- Mr. Fisher also expressed appreciation for the role of the humanitarian actors on the ground and reaffirmed that the United Nations will continue to negotiate access and security for all humanitarian activity in Syria.
- Asked about the mechanism for enforcing Resolution 2139, the Spokesperson said that part of that mechanism involved the Secretary-General reporting on compliance with the resolution. The Secretary-General has now submitted that report, which can be evaluated by the members of the Security Council.
- Asked about the reported shooting down of a Syrian aircraft by the Turkish military, the Spokesperson said that, while the United Nations does not have the full picture, the Secretary-General and his senior advisors are in close contact with both Syrian and Turkish officials to urge both sides to ascertain facts, refrain from additional military actions and de-escalate. Precipitous acts may aggravate the situation, which is not in the interest of any side.
- Haq added that the Secretary-General had spoken by phone with the Foreign Minister of Turkey on Sunday evening.
HAITI U.N. ENVOY SAYS PROGRESS IN PEACE, SECURITY AND STABILITY MUST BE MAINTAINED
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Haiti, Sandra Honoré, briefed the Security Council this morning on the situation in the country.
- She said that the long awaited adoption and promulgation of the Electoral Law, last December, along with this month’s Accord emanating from the Inter-Haitian Dialogue, prepared a path toward inclusive and transparent elections to be held later this year.
- Honoré also said that in accordance with the request made by the Security Council, the UN Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, was on track to achieving a 15 percent reduction of its uniform strength by the end of June 2014. She added that the further development of the Haitian police was vital for enduring stability in Haiti.
- She said that progress made in peace, security and stability must be maintained through a consolidation of the democratic process, rule of law, good governance and improving services to the population.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CALLS ON ALL PARTIES TO RESPECT WORK OF U.N., HUMANITARIANS
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) continues to express concern over the recurring violations of the Status of Forces Agreement, as signed between the United Nations and the Government of South Sudan, including restrictions of movement of UN personnel and threats to UN staff.
- The Mission once again calls on all parties to respect the life-saving work of the UN in South Sudan and to ensure unhindered freedom of movement of UNMISS and humanitarian workers, so that it can carry out its mandated tasks in support of the South Sudanese people.
- Over the weekend, the Mission reported hearing sporadic gunfire in Malakal town as well as close to its base. It also observed Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) deployments in the southern part of Malakal and in the barracks in the north of the town.
DARFUR: A.U.-U.N. MISSION PROTECTS CIVILIANS AS DISPLACEMENT GROWS
- The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is providing protection to thousands of people who recently sought refuge at the Mission’s bases in Korma, in North Darfur, and Khor Abeche, in South Darfur, after violent attacks by armed assailants on villages and on an camp for internally displaced persons respectively.
- The Mission says that in Khor Abeche, on 22 March, about 300 heavily armed men attacked a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), setting fire to dozens of shelters and stealing livestock belonging to the residents. As a result, at least 2,000 displaced persons sought refuge at the UNAMID base.
- Also on the same day, hundreds of families approached UNAMID’s base in Korma and advised that Kobe town and neighbouring villages, had been attacked by armed men on 21 March.
- The Mission has deployed additional peacekeepers to enhance the protection of the estimated 1,000 displaced persons gathered at the Korma base.
- Also on Darfur, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan has expressed deep concern at increasing violence and displacement in Darfur, as tens of thousands of people continue to be displaced from their homes.
- In a statement, the Humanitarian Coordinator said that over 200,000 people in Darfur have been displaced since the beginning of the year. He added that the scale of this new displacement is also stretching the ability of aid agencies, national and international, to deliver basic services to those in need, especially in Darfur’s camps where there is already a shortage of capacity amongst aid agencies.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES EFFORTS FOR DIRECT DIALOGUE BETWEEN MOSCOW AND KYIV
- Asked about the situation between Russia and Ukraine following the Secretary-General’s recent travel to both countries, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is continuing with his efforts to promote direct dialogue between Moscow and Kyiv.
- Asked about reports of troop movements over the weekend, Haq said that the Secretary-General continues to urge that all parties de-escalate the situation and avoid any hasty action.
- Asked about the legality of recent actions involving Crimea, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has repeatedly emphasized the importance that all parties work for a solution guided by the principles of theUnited Nations Charter, including respecting Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
U.N. ENVOY IN IRAQ CONDEMNS MURDER OF RADIO JOURNALIST
- Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, expressed shock and dismay at the murder of Mohammed Bdaiwi, Radio Free Iraq’s Baghdad Bureau chief. Mr Bdaiwi was shot dead on Saturday by an officer of the Presidential Guard in Baghdad.
- Mr. Mladenov strongly condemned this despicable crime. He said that the Iraqi authorities have reacted swiftly to obtain the surrender of the culprit. It is now up to the judiciary to prosecute him and to hold him accountable before the law.
- He called on the Government to do all it can to ensure that security forces personnel strictly abide by their rules of engagement for the protection of civilians, so that such tragic events do not happen in the future.
HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING ON PAKISTAN VISIT
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, is in Pakistan for a two-day visit.
- Today, in Islamabad, Mr. Ladsous met with the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain. He also met with the Foreign Secretary and with the Minister of Interior. Mr. Ladsous also gave a lecture on ‘The UN Perspective on Global Peacekeeping’ at the National Defense University.
- Tomorrow, Mr. Ladsous is expected to meet the Defence Secretary of Pakistan as well as with the senior military leadership. He will also visit the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
SECRETARY-GENERAL AGAINST CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Asked about the death penalties imposed in Egypt, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations was trying to gather more details concerning the legal process involved before commenting further. He reiterated the Secretary-General’s opposition to capital punishment.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES STEPS TO REDUCE TENSIONS IN KOREAN PENINSULA: Asked about family exchanges and other steps between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General consistently encouraged steps to reduce tension on the Korean peninsula.