HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 9 MAY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT WAVE OF VIOLENCE IN PAKISTAN AHEAD OF ELECTIONS
- The Secretary-General has been following preparations for the upcoming national and provincial elections in Pakistan on 11 May. He hopes that all eligible Pakistanis peacefully take part, regardless of their religious affiliation, ethnic background, or gender and carry out their civic duty on this important day. He commends the efforts of the Government, the Election Commission of Pakistan, political parties, civil society and religious leaders to encourage voter turnout, particularly amongst women.
- The Secretary-General is concerned about the wave of violence and attacks in Pakistan that has targeted politicians, political rallies, and election offices ahead of the elections. He conveys his heartfelt condolences to the families of all the victims. He acknowledges the efforts being made by the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of candidates, party workers, election officials, observers and voters on the day of the elections.
- The Secretary-General wishes every success to the Government and people of Pakistan for the national and provincial elections in Pakistan.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES STATEMENTS MADE ON SYRIA WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE AND RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
- The Secretary-General spoke by telephone separately on Thursday morning with the US Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Minister. They discussed the recent statements made on Syria made during the Secretary of State’s visit to Moscow. The Secretary-General commended both men for their leadership and initiative.
- The Secretary-General has also been in touch on Thursday with the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.
- The United Nations stands ready to play its role in helping to bring about a peaceful settlement.
- The Secretary-General strongly encourages all parties to seize this opportunity.
- The United Nations and the Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, will intensify efforts on this matter.
U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN
- The Security Council held consultations on Sudan and South Sudan on Thursday morning. Council members received an update on developments between those countries by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Haile Menkerios, who spoke to them by video teleconference.This afternoon, the Security Council will hold a meeting followed by consultations on Guinea-Bissau.
U.N. REPRESENTATIVE FOR GUINEA PURSUES CONSULTATIONS WITH GUINEAN PARTIES FOR POLITICAL DIALOGUE
- Said Djinnit, the Secretary-general’s Special Representative for West Africa, has been in Conakry in Guinea since Tuesday, in his capacity as International Facilitator, pursuing consultations with the Guinean parties in an attempt to restore political dialogue.
- He had appealed to the opposition to postpone its demonstration scheduled for today in view of the escalation of violence in recent weeks. The opposition agreed to postpone the demonstration.
- Together with the two national facilitators, Mr. Djinnit issued a statement on Wednesday expressing concerns about the rise of violent incidents during demonstrations related to the electoral process. The statement welcomes the decision of the opposition leaders to postpone the demonstration. The facilitators call on all Guineans to contribute to the restoration of a peaceful atmosphere in the country in accordance with the "anti-violence declaration" signed by the Government and the political parties on 24 April. Mr. Djinnit urges the political parties to resume an inclusive dialogue without delay. He is pursuing further consultations with the parties on Thursday.
MALDIVES: FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS TO BE IMPORTANT STEP TOWARD DEMOCRACY, SAYS U.N. OFFICIAL
- Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco wrapped up a three-day visit on Thursday to the Maldives.
- Briefing the press in the capital, Malé, he said that the country is at a critical juncture.
- Mr. Fernandez-Taranco said that the forthcoming elections will be an important step in the democratic transition. He encouraged all political actors to contribute to free, fair, inclusive, credible and non-violent elections.
- He stressed that, while respecting the Constitution, the credibility of the electoral process and acceptability of the results depends on whether all candidates wishing to participate in the presidential elections are able to do so.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS CHIEF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
- The Secretary-General has announced the appointment of Atefeh Riazi, of the United States, as Chief Information Technology Officer at the Assistant Secretary-General level in the Department of Management. She will replace Choi Soon-Hong; and the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Management are grateful for his commitment and dedicated service to the Office.
- Ms. Riazi brings with her wide-ranging experience in the public and private sector, focusing on leading complex organizational change involving large departments in challenging environments to deliver vital business transformation through the use of innovation and technology.
HAITI: U.N. RECEIVES LETTER FROM ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING CLAIMANTS CONNECTED TO CHOLERA OUTBREAK
- On 7 May 2013, the Organization received a letter from the attorneys representing the claimants who are seeking compensation from the United Nations in connection with the cholera outbreak in Haiti. The letter is addressed to the Legal Counsel.
- By way of background, the Secretary-General determined earlier this year that the claims brought against the Organization were not receivable, pursuant to Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. This decision was communicated to the claimants on 21 February of this year.
- The Spokesperson is not in a position to provide further details on the letter from the claimants, except confirming that it was received by the Organization. It is not the United Nations’ practice to discuss in public the details of, and the response to, claims filed against the Organization.
NEGOTIATIONS TO SECURE RELEASE OF DETAINED PEACEKEEPERS CONTINUE: Asked about the detention of the four UNDOF peacekeepers in the Golan, the Spokesperson said they continue to be detained and negotiations to secure their release continue. The interlocutors to whom the UN has reached out continue to be helpful.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R.C. CONTINUES TO MONITOR SITUATION IN SOUTH KIVU: Asked about the arrest of two individuals related to the killing of a Pakistani peacekeeper in South Kivu, the Spokesperson said that the Mission is aware of these arrests and that typically these types of investigations are handled by national authorities. The Mission continues to monitor the situation closely and troops continue to be at high alert. He noted that a memorial ceremony was held earlier today in South Kivu for the fallen peacekeeper and that the remains have been transferred to Pakistan.