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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

WEDNESDAY, 22 MAY 2013
 

SECRETARY-GENERAL AND WORLD BANK PRESIDENT START FIRST JOINT VISIT IN KINSHASA

  • Earlier on Wednesday, the Secretary-General arrived in Kinshasa, where he met with the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, at the start of the first joint UN-World Bank visit of its kind.
  • The Secretary-General and Dr. Kim have had meetings with the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, and Government ministers. They will also meet parliamentarians and representatives of civil society.
  • After their meeting with President Kabila, the Secretary-General and the World Bank President spoke to reporters. Dr. Kim said that the World Bank would provide $1 billion in development funding to the region. The Secretary-General said these new investments would directly support the implementation of the vital framework for peace, security and cooperation signed by President Kabila and 10 other African leaders.
  • The Secretary-General is expected to give a press conference along with the World Bank President.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R.C. REPORTS THIRD DAY OF FIGHTING AROUND GOMA

  • The United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) reports that fighting has continued for a third day around Goma between the M23 armed group and the Congolese national army.
  • MONUSCO reports that a rocket launched from an M23 position resulted in one death and four injuries among the civilian population in a neighborhood of Goma. Intermittent fighting is taking place in Mutaho, some 12 kilometers from the city. The Mission adds that the clashes have created panic among displaced people in the IDP camps in Mugunga.
  • MONUSCO has launched a quick reaction patrol to ensure that the civilians in those areas are protected. The United Nations Mission is actively continuing its diplomatic and political efforts at all levels to contain and end these clashes.
  • MONUSCO is closely monitoring the situation and continues to call for restraint.

U.N. COORDINATOR FOR MIDDLE EAST SAYS REGION CONTINUES TO UNDERGO TURMOIL

  • Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council that the region continues to undergo a period of great turmoil, with regional tensions mounting dangerously. Ending the conflict in Syria is a matter of great urgency and must be a top priority of the international community, he said.
  • Mr. Serry said that the Secretary-General welcomes the US and Russian initiative to bring the Syrians to the negotiating table. The weeks ahead will be critical.
  • Mr. Serry also noted the renewed US efforts for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and strongly encouraged the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
  • The Security Council also unanimously adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN office in Guinea-Bissau by twelve months.

U.N. RELIEF AGENCY ESTIMATES 6.8 MILLION PEOPLE NEED HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, says that an estimated 6.8 million people, or almost a third of the Syrian population, now need humanitarian assistance. More than half of them – 3.1 million – are children. Since January 2013, the number of internally displaced people has more than doubled, from 2 million to 4.25 million.
  • According to the Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, more than 420,000 Palestine refugees hosted in Syria are now unable to meet basic food needs and require urgent assistance.
  • Humanitarian organizations warn that the rise in temperatures during summer, poor hygiene conditions, and lack of clean water and sanitation services, such as waste collection and disposal, pose a major public health risk in several governorates.

U.N. EMERGENCY FUND RELEASES $9.8 MILLION FOR NEW CAMP FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES IN JORDAN

  • The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has released $9.8 million to support the establishment of a new camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan. There are more than 500,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan since March 2011, according to the Government.
  • The Jordanian Government has requested support from the UN to establish and service a new camp in Azraq town to take pressure off the Za’atari camp, which has reached full capacity with over 100,000 people. The new camp is expected to accommodate up to 110,000 refugees by the end of the year.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF VISITS DARFUR, INFORMED OF FUNDING SHORTAGE

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, visited Darfur on Wednesday.
  • She met with internally displaced people at the Zamzam camp, and held talks with authorities and the head of the joint African Union-United Nations Mission (UNAMID) in El Fasher.
  • Ms. Amos said that after 10 years of humanitarian operations in Darfur, it is disappointing that the humanitarian community has not been able to do more to help people become more self-sufficient. She said that stronger bridges need to be built between humanitarian and development work.
  • Ms. Amos was told by representatives of non-governmental organizations in Darfur that they face a serious funding shortage and that they do not have the resources to meet growing humanitarian needs.

GUINEA: U.N. REPRESENTATIVE FOR WEST AFRICA MEETS OPPOSITION LEADERS AND PRIME MINISTER

  • At the initiative of Said Djinnit, a consultative meeting was held on Wednesday in Conakry between the opposition leaders and the Prime Minister of Guinea, who was accompanied by several ministers.
  • Mr. Djinnit is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and is acting in his capacity as international Facilitator in Guinea
  • Mr. Djinnit congratulated the two parties for this initial promising step towards creating the conditions for the holding of free, transparent and peaceful legislative elections in Guinea.
  • Mr. Djinnit continues to urge the Guinean stakeholders to address their differences over the electoral process through peaceful means and to act in accordance with the "anti-violence declaration" signed by the Government and the political parties on 24 April.  He hopes that the situation will continue to remain calm, in line with the spirit that prevailed during Wednesday's consultative meeting.

TUNISIA NOTIFIES WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION OF TWO CASES OF NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

  • The Ministry of Health in Tunisia has notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of two laboratory-confirmed cases and a probable case of infection with the novel coronavirus (nCoV).
  • The two cases are a 34-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman who are siblings. Further investigation into this outbreak is ongoing and close contacts of the family are being monitored for any unusual signs of illness. Since September 2012, WHO has been informed of a total of 43 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with the novel coronavirus, including 21 deaths.

SECRETARY-GENERAL: BIODIVERSITY IS CENTRAL TO ACHIEVING WATER SECURE WORLD

  • In a message for International Day for Biological Diversity, the Secretary-General said that biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides are central to achieving the vision of a water secure world. 
  • He also said that integrating nature-based solutions into urban planning can help us build better water futures for cities.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

USE OF UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES NEEDS TO BE IN LINE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW: Asked about US drone strikes, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has been clear that the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) needs to be in line with international law.

U.N. ENVOY MONITORS DISPUTE BETWEEN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN: Asked about an oil price dispute between Sudan and South Sudan, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General’s envoy, Haile Menkerios, is following the situation closely.