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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 EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 2 APRIL 2013


IN ANDORRA, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS CRISIS IN KOREAN PENINSULA HAS GONE TOO FAR

  • The Secretary-General arrived in Andorra from San Marino on Tuesday and he addressed the Andorran Parliament. In his remarks, he thanked Andorra for its success in empowering women and noted that Andorra is just one of two countries in the world that have 50 percent of women in parliament.
  • Earlier, he met the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Andorra and gave a press conference.
  • At the news conference, the Secretary-General spoke about tensions on the Korean Peninsula, where he said that the current crisis has already gone too far. He said that nuclear threats are not a game.
  • The Secretary-General said that there is no need for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to be on a collision course with the international community.  He expressed his worry that others will respond firmly to any direct military provocation and added that dialogue and negotiations are the only way to resolve the current crisis.
  • On the way to Andorra from San Marino, the Secretary-General visited the San Patrignano drug rehabilitation centre in Italy to meet residents and those who work at the centre.
  • On Wednesday, the Secretary-General will travel from Andorra to Monaco.

U.N. FOOD AGENCY SAYS VIOLENCE IN SYRIA PREVENTS FOOD AID FROM REACHING THE VULNERABLE

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) says that the growing cycle of violence in Syria is preventing food aid from reaching many of the millions of vulnerable Syrians in need. It calls on all parties to allow humanitarian aid to pass safely into disputed and conflict zones.
  • The situation is particularly critical in conflict zones and some opposition-held areas, where the Food Programme has limited access and where millions of people are believed to be in acute need of food.
  • WFP sub-contracted trucks are often stopped at checkpoints and in many instances are forced to turn back, or sometimes hijacked. Since the beginning of the operation in December 2011, WFP has recorded over 20 attacks on its food trucks, warehouses and cars.

U.N. MISSION IN IRAQ STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS

  • The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) strongly condemned the attacks that targeted journalists and media facilities in Baghdad on Monday.
  • Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, said that assaults against media organizations or journalists are unacceptable under any circumstances. He urged the Government of Iraq to ensure that media professionals are protected against all forms of intimidation and violence because of their opinions or thoughts.
  • The Iraq Director of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) expressed her deep concern about the dangerous impact of such incidents on press freedom and freedom of expression. Those involved in the attacks should be brought to justice, she said.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R.C. EXPECTS OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM GOVERNMENT ON 126 ALLEGED CASES OF SEXUAL ABUSE

  • Asked about rapes that took place in Minova, in the eastern Congo, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) is aware of a number of appropriate actions reportedly taken by the Congolese Government, in relation to the 126 alleged cases of sexual abuse that occurred in Minova, North Kivu, in late November 2012.
  • He said that MONUSCO is also aware that following investigations conducted in the area in the past few months, the issue is being pursued at the highest level by the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
  • The Mission is in close contact with the Government of the DRC and is expecting an official response, in the coming days, to its various communications on this issue.
  • MONUSCO notes that assurances have been received recently from various DRC’s officials -- including from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Raymond Tshibanda -- that justice will follow its course on this matter.
  • The Spokesperson added that MONUSCO is committed to the Secretary-General’s Due Diligence Policy and continues to insist on its implementation by its partners.

RENOVATION OF CONFERENCE BUILDING AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS REACHES SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION

  • On Monday, the renovation of the Conference Building reached substantial completion. The building has been reopened to delegates and staff, and the final commissioning of the sophisticated electronics is underway.
  • The various occupants and functions are being relocated back into the renovated building throughout the month of April. By the end of the month, the building will be fully in use, allowing the Capital Master Plan to close down the General Assembly Building in May and start renovation there.