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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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 12 MAY 2014

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL ABOUT SOUTH SUDAN

  • At 3:00 this afternoon, the Secretary-General will brief the Security Council, first in an open meeting and then onto consultations, regarding the situation in South Sudan, which the Secretary-General visited last week. He will also hold a press encounter afterwards, at approximately 4:45 pm.
  • Earlier today, the Security Council met on Central Africa to hear from Abou Moussa, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa. This is his last briefing to the Council in that position and he stressed that Central Africa remains fragile and continues to require support from the international community, particularly the United Nations.
  • Asked about comments from President Salva Kiir concerning the election date, the Spokesman said that the UN position has been -- and remains -- that elections and their timeline should be part of a comprehensive political agreement which must be the outcome of a transparent and inclusive dialogue.
  • He added that the Secretary-General has repeatedly stressed the responsibility of the two leaders to sit down and reach a political agreement.

FIGHTING CONTINUES IN SOUTH SUDAN AFTER FRIDAY AGREEMENT

  • The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reports incidents of fighting between Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces in parts of Unity and Upper Nile State over the weekend, in violation of the Agreement signed by President Kiir and Dr Riek Machar on Friday in Addis Ababa. The Spokesperson issued a statement welcoming that agreement on Friday night.
  • The Mission reports that both sides clashed west of Bentiu in Unity State on Sunday. The Mission also reports small arms fire, as well as several explosions, close to the Mission’s compound in Bentiu, where upwards of 23,000 civilians are being protected. The UN Mission condemns the fighting and asks the parties to immediately implement the commitments that they have signed into action on the ground, and cease all hostilities.
  • Also, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, issued a statement on Saturday, emphasizing that UN agencies and non-governmental organizations need to continue scaling up operations to meet the needs of food insecure communities, people displaced by the conflict, and refugees cut off from assistance.
  • And based on a new analysis that the conflict in South Sudan is pushing the country towards a hunger catastrophe, the World Food Programme (WFP) plans to expand its emergency programmes to reach 3.2 million people this year with urgently needed food assistance.

U.N. AGENCIES, RED CRESCENT PROVIDE AID TO HARD-TO-REACH PARTS OF SYRIA

  • United Nations humanitarian agencies and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent reached men, women and children in six hard-to-access towns in northwestern rural Aleppo, Syria, with vital life-saving supplies over two days last week. UN and Red Crescent humanitarian workers delivered food, nutrition and hygiene assistance, first on 8 May to Kfar Hamra, Maaret Elartiq, Hariten and Hayyan, and then on 9 May to Nabul and Zahraa.
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Yacoub El Hillo, said that efforts by the United Nations and its partners to get access to civilians, wherever they are, will continue. Every affected civilian in Syria has the right to a dignified life where their basic humanitarian needs are met, said Mr. El Hillo.
  • UN humanitarian agencies continue to call on all parties to the conflict to facilitate access to affected civilians and ensure the safety and security of humanitarian workers.
  • Asked about the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, the Spokesman stressed that all parties must provide humanitarian access to people in need. He said that the United Nations and partners are scaling up their presence in Aleppo Governorate and plan to reach areas in eastern Aleppo city, and western and northern rural Aleppo, in a series of deliveries through inter-agency convoys and regular agency programmes.

U.N. ENVOY FOR IRAQ EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT ARMED ACTIVITIES IN FALLUJAH

  • Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, remains concerned at reports of increased armed activities in Fallujah and particularly its effects on civilians.
  • He said that all efforts must be made to ensure that fighting ends, people return to their homes, and reconstruction begins. It is vital that those affected by the fighting are able to receive humanitarian support.
  • Since the outbreak of the violence, the United Nations has delivered more than 15,000 food parcels, blankets, and tents; and nearly 38,000 Water and Sanitation Supplies (WASH) as well as hygiene kits reaching a total of more than 233,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have been impacted by fighting in Anbar and floods in Abu Ghraib.

HIGH-LEVEL REPRESENTATIVE BEGINS VISIT TO NIGERIA

  • Following the designation by the Secretary-General of his Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, as his high-level representative to Nigeria, Mr. Djinnit has arrived today in Abuja, where he is scheduled to meet with senior Government officials.
  • He is scheduled to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan and other senior government officials over the next few days. 
  • Mr. Djinnit will discuss how the UN can best support the authorities' efforts in the safe return of the abducted schoolgirls who were abducted in northern Nigeria.
  • Asked about Gordon Brown’s role, the Spokesman said that he is the Secretary-General’s adviser on the Education for All initiative and has been dealing with the issue of the Nigerian schoolgirls in that context.
  • Dujarric said that the United Nations and the international community would focus first on the girls’ release. He said that there would also be a need to focus on how to support the girls and their community following a hoped-for release.
  • He noted that the United Nations does not have the capacity or the mandate for military intervention but can support the Nigerian authorities’ efforts in other ways.

U.N. ENVOY MEETS SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT IN LEBANON

  • From Lebanon, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, today met with the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri.  They discussed developments in Lebanon and issues related to resolution 1701.
  • Speaking to the press afterward, Mr. Plumbly said that the presidential election process is now entering a crucial phase, with less than two weeks remaining until 25 May. 
  • He emphasized that the electoral process is an entirely Lebanese one, which should remain free of foreign interference. And he stressed that Lebanon’s friends in the international community have a keen interest in the successful completion of the process, on time and in accordance with constitutional practice.
  • The Spokesperson, in response to media reports alleging Israeli violation of the Blue Line during maintenance works undertaken by the IDF along the Ras Naqoura-Labouneh stretch of the Israeli technical fence on Sunday, provided a clarification from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
  • On Sunday morning, with short notice, the IDF informed UNIFIL about its plan to undertake the maintenance works along the technical fence in the area south of the Blue Line on the Israeli side. UNIFIL in turn conveyed this information to the Lebanese Armed Forces, in line with the established liaison and coordination arrangements. UNIFIL patrols were deployed at the location to observe the works carried out by the IDF.
  • In light of the concerns raised within Lebanon in this context, the UNIFIL Force Commander, Major General Paolo Serra, has decided to launch an investigation to confirm the facts and circumstances of yesterday’s developments.  The situation in UNIFIL’s area of operations and along the Blue Line remains calm and UNIFIL is continuing regular operations in coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces.

SPOKESMAN: SUNDAY EVENT FURTHER STOKED TENSIONS IN EASTERN UKRAINE

  • Asked about the weekend referenda in eastern Ukraine, the Spokesman said that the situation in eastern Ukraine is already very volatile.
  • Dujarric said that Sunday’s event has only served to further stoke tensions.  The legitimate grievances of the people should be expressed through dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and local communities. The UN stands ready to support such consultations, if requested.
  • Asked about proposals for the way forward on Ukraine, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has urged the parties to return to the spirit of the document signed in Geneva on 17 April.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS AT INDIGENOUS FORUM

  • The Secretary General spoke this morning at the opening ceremony of the 13th session of the Forum on Indigenous Issues.
  • He said the Permanent Forum is a vital mechanism to ensure that the international community listens to the voices and concerns, the hopes and aspirations, of indigenous peoples in every corner of the world.  
  • He added that forging win-win solutions for all was the responsibility and challenge of all involved. 
  • The Secretary-General also urged Member States to recognize the central role of indigenous peoples in meeting climate change issues, saying that their traditional knowledge and practices could help to close the emissions gap and lead us to a more sustainable path. 

REPORT: ALCOHOL RESPONSIBLE FOR 3.3 MILLION DEATHS IN 2012

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) launched today its "Global status report on alcohol and health".  This report estimates that worldwide, 3.3 million deaths were due to harmful uses of alcohol in 2012.
  • The report stresses that alcohol consumption can not only lead to dependence but also increases people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.
  • Globally, Europe is the region with the highest consumption of alcohol per capita, with some of its countries having particularly high consumption rates.
  • The trend analysis shows that the consumption level is stable over the last 5 years in the region, as well as in Africa and the Americas, though increases have been reported in the South-East Asia and the Western Pacific regions.

AVIATION MEETING BEGINS ON TRACKING OF AIRLINE FLIGHTS

  • A special meeting is being convened for the next two days in Montreal by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the global tracking of airline flights.
  • States will be joined by industry groups to consider the need for a global airline flight tracking capability.
  • The results of that meeting will be presented at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Montreal.

FIRST FEMALE FORCE COMMANDER APPOINTED AT UNITED NATIONS

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Major General Kristin Lund of Norway, who will take command of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in August. She is replacing Major General Chao Liu of China, to whom the Secretary-General pays tribute for his dedication, professionalism and leadership.
  • Major General Lund will become the first-ever female Force Commander in UN history.
  • Also, the Secretary-General is also appointing Kim Bolduc of Canada as his Special Representative for Western Sahara.  Ms. Bolduc succeeds Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber of Germany, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his strong leadership and dedicated service.

U.N. ENVOY IN SOMALIA CONDEMNS ATTACK IN BAIDOA

  • The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, has condemned the attack in Baidoa today that resulted in the death of many civilians and injuries to many more.
  • He said, “I am shocked and saddened by the attack in Baidoa today. I urge the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice swiftly. The United Nations will continue to support the Somali people and their Government as they strive for a peaceful and stable future.”

OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME WORKING TO COMBAT FOREST CRIMES

  • The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was working in close cooperation with nations to combat wildlife and forest crime's global challenge, said UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, in his opening remarks at the 23rd Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
  • UNODC responded to wildlife crime, Mr. Fedotov said, by helping to "generate the systematic assessments that the international community needs" against a growing global threat. He said these assessments complemented UNODC's work to improve the criminal justice response to wildlife and forest crime.