HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 14 JUNE 2012
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON SITUATION IN SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN
- The Security Council held consultations on Sudan and South Sudan on Thursday morning.
- It received a briefing by Haile Menkerios, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, who spoke to the members by videoconference.
- Council members also received an update on the situation on the ground from the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet.
- We are deeply concerned by the reports of food shortages in Sudan.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is assessing food needs in 23 Government-held locations in South Kordofan.
- The areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile that are not under government control appear to be the most seriously affected by food shortages.
- So far, some 109,000 people in need of food assistance have been identified.
- More than 8,000 metric tonnes of food assistance will be moved for distribution in the coming weeks.
The United Nations continues to call on parties to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches all people in need, wherever they may be located.
U.N. SAYS 1.6 MILLION PEOPLE STILL UNDER BLOCKADE IN GAZA
- Seven United Nations Agencies, along with a number of international charities, signed a statement on Thursday that marks the fifth year since the start of the blockade in Gaza.
- The agencies say that more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade, with more than half of them children. The signatories called for an end to the blockade now.
- In a separate statement, Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that more than 80 per cent of families in Gaza are dependent on humanitarian aid, and Gaza remains subject to severe restrictions on imports, exports and the movement of people, by land, air and sea.
- While some steps have been taken to ease its impact, Ms Amos said, it is vital that the blockade be lifted immediately, so that essential services and infrastructure can be maintained.
- The opportunity to develop a sustainable economy would also reduce dependence on humanitarian assistance.
FALLEN PEACEKEEPERS HONOURED AT CEREMONY IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE
- A ceremony was held in Abidjan on Thursday to pay tribute to the seven United Nations peacekeepers from Niger who died in an ambush in the west of Côte d’Ivoire on Friday.
- The peacekeepers were on patrol with United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) when they were attacked and killed in the village of Para, near Ta?.
- Speaking at the ceremony, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, conveyed the sympathy of the Secretary-General, who had been deeply shocked by this tragedy.
- Mr. Ladsous also expressed the hope that those responsible for the deaths of the peacekeepers will be caught and brought to justice.
- The Spokesperson added, in response to a question, that the United Nations was aware of one Ivorian security personnel who was killed in the same attack.
U.N. ENVOY MEETS DISPLACED PEOPLE IN MYANMAR
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, has wrapped up his visit to the country.
- On Wednesday, he visited Rakhine State, where he flew over Sittwe City and met internally displaced people in relief camps in Maungdaw.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that according to the Government, some 15,000 people have been displaced around Sittwe, Maungdaw and Buthidaung.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) plans to start food distributions with local partners.
- The Spokesperson added that Mr. Nambiar will report in more detail about his visit to Myanmar once he has returned to New York.
- Asked about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s travel to Europe, the Spokesperson said it was encouraging to see that she could travel in and out of Myanmar. He said that the United Nations would continue to support the transition in Myanmar.
Asked whether Aung San Suu Kyi would visit New York, Nesirky said that there is no firm timing for such a visit but that the Secretary-General would welcome such a visit.
AFGHANISTAN MAKES “REAL PROGRESS” ON SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General, in a video message to the Ministerial Conference that is underway in Kabul, said that Afghanistan has made real progress on the path to security and broad-based development.
- He added that combating violent extremism, drug production and trafficking will remain essential, as well meeting humanitarian needs. Left unaddressed, these challenges will grow.
- The Secretary-General said that he looks forward to attending next month’s Tokyo conference.
- It should deliver tangible and predictable pledges in support of Afghanistan’s sustainable development priorities based on mutual accountability.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY REPORTS 320,000 DISPLACED PEOPLE IN MALI
- The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the political instability in Mali has displaced close to 320,000 people.
- More than 170,000 Malians have found refuge in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.
- The remainder are displaced inside Mali.
- The Refugee Agency along with the World Food Programme recently launched a regional emergency operation to provide life-saving support.
- The Refugee Agency has revised its funding appeal for Mali and now says it needs $153 million for its emergency response operations.
SECRETARY-GENERAL RE-EMPHASIZES NEED FOR IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT
- Asked about talks concerning Iran’s nuclear programme, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has taken note of the recent discussion between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which was held in Vienna on 8 June.
- He re-emphasized the necessity for Iran and the IAEA to reach agreement on the structured approach document as a matter of urgent priority, with a view to resolving the outstanding issues related to its nuclear programme.
The Secretary-General hopes that the next round of talks between the E3+3 and Iran, to take place in Moscow on 18 June, results in concrete and reciprocal steps towards a comprehensive negotiated solution that restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR HIGH-LEVEL REPRESENTATION AT RIO+20: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has said he would like the highest possible representation from all countries to the Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development. He is pleased to note that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead the United States delegation.
“INTERNAL PROCEDURE” FOLLOWED AFTER ARREST OF U.N. STAFF MEMBER: Asked about a reported arrest of a UN staff member, the Spokesperson said that there had been an internal procedure, on which he could not comment.