HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 5 MARCH 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL PARTICIPATES IN CEREMONY TO CLOSE PEACE-BUILDING OFFICE IN SIERRA LEONE
- The Secretary-General is in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he took part in the ceremony marking the successful closing of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the country, UNIPSIL.
- In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that Sierra Leone has taught the world many lessons but none more important than the power of people to shape the future. He stressed that a strong investment in material resources, human energy, international support and national goodwill can bring lasting peace and that other countries devastated by conflict can draw hope from Sierra Leone.
- During the ceremony, the Secretary-General gave the President of Sierra Leone a Blue Helmet and a UN flag for the country's national museum as a symbol of the past engagement and future cooperation between the United Nations and Sierra Leone.
- Earlier today, the Secretary-General had meetings with the staff from the UN Office and the country, as the UN presence in the country will now focus on development. He also met with the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, as well as representatives of political parties and civil society.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES CONTACTS ON UKRAINE; ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS TO TRAVEL THERE
- The Secretary-General also had a press conference in Freetown, in which, among other things, he mentioned his recent contacts with leaders on Ukraine. He said he had spoken today with US Secretary of State John Kerry, and he also mentioned that Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, would travel to Ukraine.
- Asked about an incident in Crimea today involving Robert Serry, the Spokesperson noted that the Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, said that Mr. Serry had felt threatened. There have been contacts with the Ukrainian and Russian authorities to ascertain more about the incident.
- Asked about Assistant Secretary-General Simonovic’s mandate in Ukraine, the Spokesperson said that the details of his mission are still being worked out. He is to look into a broad range of allegations and take stock of the human rights situation in Ukraine, in all parts of the country.
- The Spokesperson added that this is a fact-finding mission and that Mr. Simonovic will brief the Secretary-General on his return.
- Asked when he would leave, Nesirky said that the arrangements are still a work in progress.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s contacts, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General last spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON DESTRUCTION OF SYRIA’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS
- Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations, is briefing the Security Council on the Joint Mission’s work in Syria. She then spoke to reporters afterward.
- Earlier today, the Security Council adopted resolutions reaffirming the arms embargo on Somalia and extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts dealing with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea until 5 April 2015.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted that the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will be coming to New York shortly to brief the Secretary-General and the Security Council.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CONCERNED BY SHOOTING INCIDENTS IN JUBA
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is concerned by a number of shooting incidents which occurred in the capital, Juba, today.
Fighting seems to have initially taken place around 9 am local time in the barracks of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the Jebel area, not far from UN House.
Additional reports indicated sporadic shooting in several locations in Juba, including around the university and the World Food Programme warehouse, and near the UN Mission Compound in Tomping.
- As of mid-day local time, SPLA troops were deployed across the city, and several roads in and around the capital were also blocked by the authorities. Currently, the situation appears to be calm in Juba, although security checkpoints remain in the city.
- The Mission also reports that some 70 additional civilians have sought safety in the UN House site.
- In all, the Mission continues to protect approximately 43,000 civilians at two sites in Juba and more than 77,000 civilians at UN sites throughout the country.
- Separately, in Nassir, in Upper Nile State, the Mission reports that armed youth continue to fire sporadically in the town. On Tuesday, a stray bullet hit an office of the UN Mission, but no injuries were sustained. The Mission reiterates its call on all parties to respect the work and sanctity of UN premises.
INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT GROUP FOR LEBANON HOLDS MEETING IN PARIS
- Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, attended the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon in Paris today.
- At the conclusion of that meeting, Mr. Feltman delivered the Chairman’s Summary Statement on the Support Group’s behalf. Among other things, the International Support Group’s participants warmly welcomed the announcement on 15 February 2014 of the formation of a new government in Lebanon and expressed their readiness to work closely with Prime Minister Tamam Salam and his government to promote support for Lebanon.
- They also strongly condemned the repeated terrorist attacks and bombings in Lebanon and underscored the importance of bringing those responsible to justice.
HUMANITARIAN APPEAL LAUNCHED FOR PEOPLE AFFECTED BY FIGHTING IN IRAQ’S ANBAR PROVINCE
- Today, the United Nations in Iraq and the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement launched an appeal to address the immediate humanitarian needs of people affected by the fighting in the Anbar Province. The Iraq Strategic Response Plan requires $103.7 million to serve 240,000 people over the next six months.
- The UN Head in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, says that the Plan, once funded, will enable the UN and partner agencies to continue supporting the humanitarian efforts of the local and national authorities.
INFORMATION RELEASED ABOUT AREA C IN WEST BANK
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory released new information today about affected populations living in Area C of the West Bank. Area C amounts to over 60 per cent of the West Bank, and it remains under Israeli control.
- According to data from an inter-agency humanitarian exercise, called the Vulnerability Profile Project (VPP), an estimated 300,000 Palestinians reside in hundreds of residential areas located in Area C. The profile provides information on the population’s access to land and livelihoods, water and sanitation, education and health.
HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR IN SUDAN CONCERNED BY REPORTS THAT THOUSANDS ARE FLEEING HOMES IN DARFUR
- The acting United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan , Adnan Khan, has expressed his deep concern at reports that thousands of people are fleeing their homes. That is due to fresh fighting between armed movements and the Sudanese Armed Forces and its allied paramilitary groups in the Um Gunya area of South Darfur.
- The latest fighting there has displaced more than 15,000 people, the majority of whom have gone to camps outside of Nyala city, where services such as water and medical care are already thinly stretched.
- Mr. Khan said that more people were displaced in Darfur last year than in any single year since the height of the Darfur conflict in 2004.