HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ,
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 30 AUGUST 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES IRAN TO TAKE MEASURES TO BUILD INTERNATIONAL CONFIDENCE
- The Secretary-General spoke at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran on Thursday morning, and he has also spoken at the Iranian Foreign Ministry's School of International Relations. He has had a range of bilateral meetings with leaders attending the Summit.
- In his speech to the Summit, the Secretary-General said that, by assuming the leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran had the opportunity to demonstrate that it can play a moderate and constructive role internationally. The Secretary-General urged the Iranian Government to take the necessary measures to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
- On Syria, the Secretary-General said we now face the grim risk of long-term civil war. He also said that those who provide arms to either side are contributing to the misery.
- The Secretary-General added that he strongly rejects threats by any Member State to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust.
- In his remarks at the School of International Relations, he said many human rights challenges remain in Iran. He said it was especially important for the voices of Iran's people to be heard during next year's presidential election. He said that was why he had urged the authorities during his visit to release opposition leaders, human rights defenders, journalists and social activists to create the conditions for free expression and open debate.
- Asked about Iran’s nuclear programme, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had discussed that matter, and Iran’s need to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in his discussions with senior Iranian officials in Tehran.
- He noted that an IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear programme had been circulated today to the IAEA Board of Governors, adding that the report will be discussed by the Board of Governors at its forthcoming meeting, beginning on 10 September.
- Asked about statements from the Egyptian and Iranian Presidents at the NAM Summit on the Security Council and Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had made clear that Member States must abide by the resolutions of the Security Council on Syria.
- Asked whether the Secretary-General would visit any other countries following his trip to Iran, the Spokesperson said he would be back in New York on Saturday.
SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS MINISTERIAL MEETING ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SYRIA
- The Security Council was scheduled to hold a ministerial meeting concerning the humanitarian situation in Syria on Thursday afternoon.
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, was due to brief Council members on the humanitarian situation. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, was also there to provide information to the Council.
- The Security Council adopted on Thursday morning a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by one year, until the end of August 2013.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES RELEASE OF INQUIRY REPORT ON 7 FEBRUARY TRANSFER OF POWER IN MALDIVES
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the release of the report on Thursday by the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) that has looked into the facts, circumstances and causes of the 7 February transfer of power in the Maldives.
- The Commission was reconstituted in June with international assistance and has since been recognized by all parties as a credible inquiry mechanism. The Secretary-General urges all parties to accept the findings of the Commission and now begin the process of national dialogue aimed at resolving the political problems facing the country.
- To that end, he welcomes the start today of high-level political dialogue, and hopes that this leads to national reconciliation and a way of moving forward. He is concerned at the prospect of renewed political tensions should any side not accept the outcome of the inquiry. He calls on all parties to exercise maximum cooperation and restraint.
- The Secretary-General calls on the parties to respect the Constitution, create a peaceful and transparent environment conducive to dialogue and take steps to strengthen democratic reform and institutions.
- The Secretary-General reaffirms the readiness of the United Nations to extend the necessary support and assistance requested by the parties.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF IN MALI TO ASSESS SEVERE FOOD CRISIS
- Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, is in Mali to assess the response to the severe food crisis affecting 4.6 million people in the country. One hundred and seventy-five thousand children are at risk from severe acute malnutrition.
- While in Mali, she visited a nutrition centre in the capital, Bamako, which has treated more than 1,000 children for acute malnutrition since the start of the year.
- Ms Amos said that children's lives are being blighted by the crisis. She added that we have the knowledge and capacity to address this crisis, but the funds are lacking to do everything that is needed.
- The United Nations appealed for US$213 million for the humanitarian response in Mali but has so far received only 46 per cent of the total requirement. Water, hygiene and sanitation, as well as the education and health sectors, are severely underfunded.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF DISTURBED BY EXECUTIONS IN GAMBIA
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said on Thursday that she was deeply disturbed that after 27 years without any official executions in the Gambia, nine death row inmates were killed by firing squad in a setback for human rights protection in the country.
- Navi Pillay called the confusion and lack of transparency for several days over whether the executions actually took place unacceptable, particularly for the family members of those killed. Secretly executing individuals, without informing their families, amounts to inhuman treatment, she added.
- She issued an urgent call on President Yahya Jammeh and relevant authorities in the country to heed all the international, regional and local calls on the Government not to carry out further executions.
SECURITY COUNCIL WILL EVALUATE QUALITY OF A REPORT ON D.R.C.: Asked about allegations made against one member of the Group of Experts dealing with sanctions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson noted that the Group’s report had gone to the Security Council, which would then evaluate the quality of the report.
MEMBER STATES DECIDE SEATS ON HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: Asked about Sudan’s candidacy for a seat on the Human Rights Council, the Spokesperson said that the question was in the hands of the Member States.