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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 MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 7 MARCH 2013

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION ON RECENT NUCLEAR TEST BY D.P.R.K.

  • The Secretary-General has welcomed on Thursday the adoption of resolution 2094 (2013) on the recent nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
  • He said in a statement that the Security Council had sent an unequivocal message to the DPRK that the international community will not tolerate its pursuit of nuclear weapons and related acts.
  • The statement says that the Secretary-General remains deeply concerned about heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula. He urges the DPRK to refrain from any further destabilizing steps or bellicose rhetoric. At a time of new political leadership throughout the region, the Secretary-General urges Pyongyang to reverse course and build confidence with the country’s neighbours.
  • The Secretary-General remains convinced that the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the maintenance of peace and stability in Northeast Asia can only be assured through dialogue. He reaffirms his commitment towards that goal.

GOLAN: U.N. IS WORKING TO SECURE THE RELEASE OF PEACEKEEPERS

  • The 21 UN Disengagement and Observer Force (UNDOF) peacekeepers who were detained on Wednesday in the UNDOF area of operation have not been released. The Mission has been in touch with the peacekeepers by telephone and confirmed that they have not been not harmed.
  • The United Nations is working to secure the release of the peacekeepers.
  • In response to questions about insecurity, the Spokesperson said that it is up to the Force Commander to assess the security conditions on the ground. He noted that the recent days have not been easy ones on the ground.
  • In response to questions about who is holding the peacekeepers, Nesirky said that the United Nations was working to secure their release, regardless of who was responsible.
  • Asked whether Israeli officials had been involved in the effort to obtain the release of the peacekeepers, the Spokesperson had no comment but noted that the United Nations is working to secure the release of the peacekeepers.

U.N. MISSION IN LIBYA CONCERNED OVER VIOLENCE AGAINST MEDIA AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP

  • The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) is deeply concerned by several recent incidents, including attacks on media organizations, threats against journalists, and violence against a Coptic church and other houses of worship. These acts violate fundamental human rights, particularly the freedom of faith and freedom of expression.
  • Also on Thursday, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Tarek Mitri, expressed his strong condemnation of the attack on Wednesday against Mohammed Magariaf, the President of the Libyan Congress. He called on all Libyans to refrain from settling political issues through violence.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO SAYS SITUATION REMAINS TENSE IN NORTH KIVU

  • The UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) reports that the situation in North Kivu province remains tense.
  • In Kitchanga, fighting between the Congolese armed forces and the APCLS armed group has stopped, but some 5,000 displaced people remain around MONUSCO's base.
  • The Mission has reinforced its patrol in the areas affected by the recent instability, including to protect civilians.
  • Moustapha Soumaré, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, expressed his concern on Thursday that thousands of lives are in danger in the east of the country.
  • He reiterated that the parties to the conflict must avoid civilian casualties at all cost, respect the civilian character of internally displaced settlements and ensure that humanitarian workers can provide much-needed assistance.
  • Tens of thousands of people, including internally displaced persons, have been caught in clashes since late February between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the APCLS in the town of Kitchanga and its surroundings in North Kivu.
  • The fighting has already caused dozens of civilian deaths, including that of a humanitarian worker, has wounded hundreds, and pushed thousands of people to flee their homes.

YEMEN: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS CONTINUES, U.N. RESIDENT COORDINATOR SAYS

  • The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen said on Thursday that, while important progress has been made in the country, the humanitarian crisis continues.
  • As the Friends of Yemen met on Thursday in London, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed urged them and other donors to support the 2013 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan.
  • The Yemen Humanitarian Country Team – comprising UN agencies and dozens of other organizations under Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s leadership – aims to provide assistance to nearly 8 million of the country’s most vulnerable people this year.
  • The Resident Coordinator noted that the humanitarian plan for 2012 was only 58 per cent funded. He said donor commitments will be critical, not only to address human suffering but also to make progress towards recovery irreversible.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES DIALOGUE FOR RESOLUTION OF SITUATION IN SABAH, MALAYSIA

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted the statement issued on Wednesday that mentioned that the Secretary-General is closely following the situation in Sabah, Malaysia. 
  • He urges an end to the violence and encourages dialogue among all the parties for a peaceful resolution of the situation.
  • The Secretary-General expresses concern about the impact this situation may have on the civilian population, including migrants in the region. He urges all parties to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance and act in full respect of international human rights norms and standards.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES STUDENTS FROM U.N. SCHOOL TO SPEAK UP

  • On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General encouraged students from the United Nations International School (UNIS) to aim high and speak up.
  • At the opening session of the 37th UNIS-UN Conference, entitled “Modern Youthquake”, the Secretary-General said that young people have an obligation to challenge in nonviolent ways to have their messages heard.

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S WIFE TO LEAD MARCH ON PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

  • On Friday, at 12:30 p.m. at United Nations Headquarters, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, the wife of the Secretary-General, will lead a UN Women for Peace march to generate greater awareness about the campaign to prevent violence against women.
  • This march will begin by gathering in front of the General Assembly building and will then proceed to the Dag Hammarskjold Park. The gathering will also include international stars such as Susan Sarandon, Michael Bolton, Christy Turlington, and Monique Coleman.