HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 10 APRIL 2012
U.N. TO CONTINUE ASSISTNG IRAQ, ENVOY TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
- On Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, told the Security Council that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) will continue to assist the government and people of Iraq to address the challenges facing the nation.
- Mr. Kobler commended the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait for their efforts to improve bilateral relations.
- Mr. Kobler noted that continued violence in Syria could have spill-over effects. He said it could affect the fragile balance of power and increase communal tensions in Iraq.
- Mr. Kobler said the United Nations has encouraged Iraqi leaders to find common ground to break the political impasse in the country and an inclusive forum is essential to address the differences between Iraqi leaders.
- He said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq stands ready to continue supporting these efforts.
- The Security Council is also discussing the situation in Syria in closed consultations.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DEPART FOR SWITZERLAND, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
- The Secretary-General will depart New York on Wednesday on a trip to Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
- In Switzerland, he will go to the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and will chair a meeting of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board at a retreat outside Geneva.
- He will then travel to Brussels, where he will attend the European Union Summit on Sustainable Energy for All. He will hold bilateral meetings with Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission; Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council; and Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.
- He will also have the opportunity to engage with H.R.H. Prince Philippe of Belgium, Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.
- The Secretary-General’s last stop will be Luxembourg, where he will meet H.R.H. Henri the Grand Duke, Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn and other senior government officials.
- He will also address the Luxembourg Parliament and students at the University of Luxembourg.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Wednesday, 18 April.
SYRIA JOINT SPECIAL ENVOY SENDS LETTER TO SECURITY COUNCIL
- Asked about the situation in Syria, the Spokesperson said the Joint Special Envoy held a press conference Tuesday morning.
- He noted a letter from him outlining his views of the situation there in the run-up to the 6 a.m., Thursday April 12 (Damascus time) deadline for the cessation of violence by all parties had been transmitted to the Security Council.
- Nesirky said Mr. Annan had said he would brief the Security Council on Thursday to provide further details. He noted that Tuesday’s letter may be released as a public document shortly.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEETING
- The Secretary-General will be attending the Middle East Quartet meeting in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
- Asked about the meeting, the Spokesperson said this meeting was a commitment made at the last Quartet Meeting here in New York against the backdrop of the need to push forward the Middle East peace process.
U.N. NUTRITION GROUP HOLDS INAUGURAL MEETING
- The Lead Group for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, which was appointed by the Secretary-General, held its first meeting on Tuesday.
- Chaired on behalf of the Secretary-General by Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the 27 members of the Group agreed to focus on ensuring that support to countries that are scaling up nutrition produces tangible results, and that resources for country led actions are coordinated, aligned, transparent and accountable.
- The Secretary-General appointed the Group building on his commitment to put an end to the stunting which affects almost 200 million children worldwide. Investing in better nutrition during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child's second birthday prevents long term and irreversible impact on intellectual, physical and social development.
U.N. AGENCIES WARN THAT FUNDING SHORTAGE COMPROMISING EFFORTS TO MEET SAHEL HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
- United Nations agencies said on Tuesday that lack of funding is compromising efforts to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis facing the Sahel region of West Africa.
- UN agencies operating in the Sahel region say that an estimated 15 million people are facing acute food shortages as a result of drought and conflict, and close to 1.5 million children are on the brink of starvation.
- Only half of the nearly 800 million dollars required to respond to the crisis has been received so far.
- The agencies warn that the crisis is likely to get worse in the coming months if additional support is not forthcoming.
YEMEN: U.N. ADVISOR IN CONTACT WITH ALL SIDES
- On Yemen, the Spokesperson said that we are following the situation closely.
- Special Adviser Jamal Benomar remains in contact with all sides including close consultations over the weekend.
- He and his team will return to Yemen shortly to support Yemenis to continue implementation of the November agreement and to move the transition forward.
U.N. FOCUSING ON HELPING MITIGATE EFFECTS OF CHOLERA IN HAITI
- Asked about the cholera situation in Haiti, the Spokesperson said a claim has been received and is being studied.
- The focus now is on what the United Nations is doing to help Haitians mitigate the effects of cholera in the run-up to the rainy season. He noted progress has been made in reducing the number of new cholera cases, but that much remains to be done.
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017