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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

MONDAY, 6 MAY 2013

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER REPORTS OF AIR STRIKES IN SYRIA BY ISRAELI AIR FORCE

  • In a statement issued on Sunday, the Secretary-General expressed grave concern about reports of air strikes in Syria by the Israeli Air Force.
  • The Secretary-General called on all sides to exercise maximum calm and restraint and to act with a sense of responsibility to prevent an escalation of what is already a devastating and highly dangerous conflict.
  • The Secretary-General urged respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region and adherence to all relevant Security Council resolutions.
  • Asked further about the statement, the Spokesperson noted the Secretary-General’s call on all sides to act with restraint and a sense of responsibility.
  • Asked about remarks made by Carla Del Ponte concerning alleged chemical weapons use in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic issued a press release today, clarifying that it has not reached conclusive findings about the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict.  As a result, the Commission is not in a position to further comment on the allegations at this time. 
  • The Chair of the Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, reminded all parties to the conflict that the use of chemical weapons is prohibited in all circumstances.
  • Nesirky added that the Secretary-General’s investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not related to the work of the Commission of Inquiry.
  • The head of that team, Ake Sellström, continues to seek information related to the team’s work, which is technical.
  • Asked about the work of that team, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations continues to seek access to Syria so that the mission can conduct on-site work.
  • Asked about compliance with resolution 1701, the Spokesperson noted that the statement refers to all relevant Security Council resolutions.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES SITUATION ON KOREAN PENINSULA WITH PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE

  • The Secretary-General warmly welcomed Ms. Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea (ROK), to the United Nations on Monday.
  • The Secretary-General stated that the ROK is a highly valued and steadfast partner of the United Nations and he expressed profound appreciation for President Park’s firm commitment to advancing the agenda of the United Nations -- from sustainable development, the fight against climate change, and the contribution to global peace and human rights promotion.
  • In particular, he expressed strong hope for ROK’s experience and capacity as a bridge builder in accelerating the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and promoting education, energy and global health as well as ROK's strong commitment to increase its ODA despite economic constraints. The Secretary-General also appreciated ROK's active participation in peacekeeping operations and expressed hope that it would grow."
  • The Secretary-General and President Park Geun-hye discussed the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. The Secretary-General praised the President for her firm, but measured response to recent provocative actions by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and strongly supported her determination to resolve inter-Korean differences through building trust and dialogue.
  • As Secretary-General, he reaffirmed his readiness to contribute to defusing tension and promoting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. The Secretary-General expressed his concern about the serious food and nutrition situation in the DPRK in particular youth and other vulnerable group and appreciated the  continued willingness of the ROK Government to help address humanitarian situation in the DPRK.

U.N. ENVOY FOR GREAT LAKES REGION URGES ACTION TO RESOLVE UNDERLYING CAUSES OF CONFLICT

  • Mary Robinson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, briefed the Security Council by video teleconference on Monday morning, following her first trip to the region.
  • She said that there were reasons to hope that the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was signed in February, can work. She said this was a chance to do more than attend to the consequences of the conflict by resolving its underlying causes.
  • Mrs. Robinson said that between 28 April and 5 May she visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and South Africa. She met with many of the leaders of those countries on that visit.
  • She told the Council that there are no guarantees that this new push for peace will succeed. However, we can be sure that if it fails the consequences will be grave. She added that success will require an all-out concerted series of actions that are both serious and sustained at the national, regional and international level.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS KILLING OF NGOK DINKA PARAMOUNT CHIEF AND PEACEKEEPER

  • The Security Council was expected to hold consultations to receive an update on the situation in Abyei from the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous.
  • In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the killing of the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief DengKuol Deng and a peacekeeper from the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in an attack by a Misseriya assailant on a mission convoy in the Abyei Area. Two peacekeepers were also seriously wounded in the incident.
  • This proves again how crucially important it is for the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to establish the temporary institutions as stipulated in the agreement of 20 June 2011  and continue discussions on the final status of the Abyei Area.
  • In response to further questions, the Spokesperson said that UNISFA is maintaining a presence in the Banton bridge, the link between Agok and Abyei town.
  • UNISFA is maintaining robust patrols throughout the area and its three battalions have been placed on high alert.

U.N. MISSION IN DARFUR REPELLED ASSAILANTS IN LABADO, EAST DARFUR

  • On 4 May, the joint African Union-UN mission in Darfur, UNAMID, dispatched peacekeepers to a site hosting internally displaced people, or IDPs, in Labado, in East Darfur, in response to sounds of gunfire.
  • Upon arrival, the peacekeepers encountered an unidentified armed group trying to steal livestock.
  • The peacekeepers came under fire and repelled the assailants.
  • The mission has provided medical assistance to two IDPs and to one of the attackers, who was later handed over to the authorities. No peacekeepers were injured in this incident.

U.N. COORDINATOR IN SOUTH SUDAN CONCERNED ABOUT JONGLEI STATE WHERE CIVILIANS NEED HELP

  • The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan expressed his deep concern today over the situation in Jonglei State, where thousands of civilians need assistance and protection.
  • Toby Lanzer said that since February, aid workers have treated more than 450 casualties, including children.
  • He urged all parties involved to abide by their obligations under national and international law, to ensure that civilians are not caught up in the hostilities and to enable all of the wounded to have access to medical care.

U.N. SPOKESPERSON: INTERNSHIP AUCTIONED OFF ON WEB IS NOT A U.N. INTERNSHIP

  • In response to a question about an internship auctioned off on the website charitybuzz.com, the Spokesperson said that that internship is not a United Nations internship. The details of the internship in question have been amended on the website to clarify that the internship is not with the United Nations.
  • He reiterated that internships at the United Nations are not for sale and cannot be put up for auction.