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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

WEDNESDAY, 1 MAY 2013

 SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT SURGE OF VIOLENCE THROUGHOUT IRAQ

  • A statement issued on Tuesday expressed the Secretary-General’s concerns about the surge of violence throughout Iraq in which many people have been killed and hundreds injured over the past week.
  • The Secretary-General calls on the Iraqi Security Forces to exert utmost restraint in maintaining law and order, and he calls on the demonstrators to preserve the peaceful nature of their protests. 
  • He is also concerned about the recent decision to withdraw licenses from several TV channels in the country and urges relevant authorities to reconsider their decision.  He recalls that freedom of the press is a fundamental pillar of democracy.
  • The Secretary-General urges all Iraqi leaders to come together and engage in constructive and inclusive dialogue with the firm determination of overcoming the deep political crisis the country is facing.

U.N. SPOKESPERSON SAYS NO CHANGE IN ACCESS FOR CHEMICAL WEAPONS TEAM TO SYRIA

  • Asked about access for a chemical weapons team to Syria, the Spokesperson reiterated that the team is ready to deploy and is doing its best from outside the country to gather information, but there has been no change in having an agreement to allow them into Syria. He said the United Nations would prefer for the team to work in Syria sooner rather than later.
  • Nesirky noted that the United Nations has received formal requests from three Member States – Syria, France and the United Kingdom – to look into allegations concerning the use of chemical weapons in Syria. On the basis of those requests, the team has been looking into specific allegations. There are no other formal requests to investigate.
  • He added, in response to further questions, that the team is looking into different kinds of materials as it proceeds with its work.
  • Asked about reports that Lakhdar Brahimi may resign as Joint Special Representative for Syria, the Spokesperson noted the recent remarks that Mr. Brahimi made on that question following his recent appearance before the Security Council.

DARFUR: U.N. MISSION CHIEF WRAPS UP FIELD VISITS TO ASSESS SECURITY, HUMANITARIAN AND POLITICAL SITUATION

  • The head of the joint African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur, UNAMID, has wrapped up a series of field visits across the region’s five states to assess the security, humanitarian and political situation.
  • During his visits, Mohamed Ibn Chambas met with representatives of internally displaced people, traditional leaders, State authorities and UNAMID staff.
  • Mr. Chambas said that the best solution to the conflict in Darfur is to achieve a lasting peace so that citizens can live without fear or intimidation. He also reiterated UNAMID’s commitment to protect civilians, saying that the mission and its partners will continue to do their best to address the needs of the communities.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO SPEAK ON SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS TO MARK WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

  • On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General will speak at an event on the safety of journalists and other media professionals in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day.
  • The discussion will look at how to secure the safety of those working in the media, both online and offline, in order to promote a free, independent and pluralistic press.

TOGO TO ASSUME ROTATING PRESIDENCY OF SECURITY COUNCIL

  • With the start of the month of May, Togo has assumed the rotating Presidency of the Security Council, replacing Rwanda.
  • Ambassador Kodjo Menan of Togo, the Council President for this month, will brief reporters at 12:30 pm on Thursday on the Council’s programme of work for May.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR BREAKING IMPASSE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE: Asked about an Arab offer concerning peace efforts between Israel and Palestine, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had called for efforts to break the impasse that had developed between the two sides in recent months. The Secretary-General will meet with Tzipi Livni from the Israeli Government on Thursday.

U.N. SPOKESPERSON REITERATES NEED FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF VIOLENCE IN VENEZUELA: Asked about violence in the Parliament of Venezuela, the Spokesperson reiterated the need for all sides to resolve their differences through dialogue.

U.N. SPOKESPERSON SAYS PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO EXPRESS OPINIONS IN PEACEFUL WAY: Asked about a protest planned for UN Headquarters, the Spokesperson said that people are entitled to express their opinions in a peaceful way.