HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 17 JUNE 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT CHINA, MEET WITH PRESIDENT XI AND OTHER OFFICIALS
- The Secretary-General has left for China.
- During his visit, he will meet President Xi Jinping, the Premier of the State Council, Li Keqiang, and other senior officials.
- The Secretary-General will also visit a peacekeeping training centre, attend a workshop on clean energy and meet business leaders involved in the Global Compact Network in China.
- He will return to New York on Friday.
D.P.R.K.: SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS PARTIES SHOULD RESOLVE DIFFERENCES THROUGH DIALOGUE
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has noted the proposal by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United States to hold senior-level talks.
- The Secretary-General has consistently stated that the parties concerned should resolve their differences through dialogue.
- For any dialogue to be meaningful, del Buey said, it should be firmly anchored on the common goal of verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
- The Secretary-General stresses the importance of the inter-Korean dialogue, which is key to defusing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and ensuring durable peace and security in the region.
IRAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES CONFIRMED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WINNER
- The Secretary-General noted the eleventh presidential election in Iran held on 14 June and the reported high turnout, and he extends his warm congratulations to Mr. Hasan Rowhani, the confirmed winner.
- The Secretary-General intends to remain engaged with the Iranian authorities and with the President-elect on issues of importance to the international community and the welfare of the Iranian people. He will continue encouraging Iran to play a constructive role in regional and international affairs.
U.N. REPRESENTATIVE SAYS EVOLVING TACTICS OF ARMED CONFLICT CREATE UNPRECEDENTED THREATS FOR CHILDREN
- The Security Council began an open debate on children and armed conflict this morning, and Leila Zerrougui, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative dealing with that subject, told the Council that the evolving nature and tactics of armed conflict have created unprecedented threats for children.
- She said that she intends to visit Syria and the region in the coming days to assess first-hand the consequences of the conflict there on children. She also noted the abuse of children in the recent fighting in Mali and in the Central African Republic. But Ms. Zerrougui also noted progress and added that, in 2012 alone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Somalia and South Sudan signed action plans to end the recruitment and use of children.
- Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, detailed the efforts to give attention to child protection at the earliest stages of planning operations and discussed the work done by Child Protection Advisers.
U.N. REPRESENTATIVE FOR IRAQ CONDEMNS LATEST WAVE OF CAR BOMB ATTACKS
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, has strongly condemned the latest wave of car bomb attacks that targeted crowded areas in several Iraqi cities during rush hour, killing and injuring dozens more innocent people.
- He said that nothing can justify such despicable and heinous crimes, targeting innocent people going about their daily business. And he called once more for all Iraqi political leaders to sit together with good faith and determination, to address all the problems that the country continues to face.
MYANMAR: U.N. WARNS HUMANITARIAN SITUATION FOR DISPLACED PEOPLE IN RAKHINE STATE REMAINS BLEAK
- The United Nations in Myanmar has warned that the humanitarian situation for some 140,000 displaced people in Rakhine State remains bleak, a year since inter-communal violence flared up.
- Humanitarian organizations have been supporting displaced communities with food, health care, water and sanitation, shelter and other life-saving relief supplies. Food aid is distributed on a monthly basis, with nearly 2,200 metric tonnes provided in May alone. More than 71,000 people now have access to temporary shelter. However, significant gaps remain, including limited funding for camp management and coordination activities.
- The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, Ashok Nigam, says that sustainable solutions must be found to restore a lasting peace and harmony between the people of Rakhine State. Reconciliation between communities is the larger priority. He added that the international community stands ready to support the Government in its efforts to foster peace and harmony in Rakhine State.
U.N. WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE REMOVES BAM, IRAN FROM LIST OF WORLD HERITAGE IN DANGER
- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said on Monday that the World Heritage Committee has decided to remove the site of Bam, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
- Bam was inscribed on this list in 2004, shortly after it was struck by a major earthquake. The Committee has now noted that remains of the desert citadel had been sufficiently stabilized and its management was sound enough for the site to be declared safe.
- The World Heritage Committee opened its 37th session in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, last Sunday. The 12-day session will be devoted to the inscription of new sites on the World Heritage List, but also to a review of the conservation of properties already on the List.
- Particular attention will be paid to the World Heritage sites of Mali and of the Syrian Arab Republic.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS FORCE COMMANDER FOR U.N. MISSION IN MALI
- The Secretary-General has appointed Major General Jean Bosco Kazura of Rwanda as the Force Commander for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
- Major General Kazura is to assume command on 1 July 2013. This is the date when, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 and subject to review by the Council, the transfer of authority is to take place from the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) to MINUSMA.
STAFF MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MEETING ENDED PREMATURELY
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson confirmed that the Staff-Management Committee meeting in Mexico City (SMC-II) ended prematurely on Friday, with many important matters of concern to staff and management remaining to be discussed.
- He said that an impasse arose related to the role of the Committee itself which, since 2011, has been governed by a new Secretary-General’s bulletin (ST/SGB/2011/6) which provides that issues be resolved by consensus. The General Assembly, in its Resolution 67/255, requested that the bulletin be revised in line with existing staff regulations. A draft revised bulletin was shared with members of the SMC, which removed the requirement for agreement by consensus.
- Staff representatives at SMC-II disagreed with the General Assembly, calling for management “to withdraw the proposed changes and send a clear message to the General Assembly that it supports the current SMC process as key to ensuring constructive staff-management dialogue, in line with the Staff Rules and Regulations and General Assembly resolutions.”
- While recognising the importance of this issue to staff representatives, the position of Member States is clear and the administration cannot revisit the issue with the General Assembly, as suggested by the staff representatives.
Management demonstrated flexibility and encouraged the staff representatives at the SMC-II on several occasions to provide constructive suggestions that could be incorporated into the draft revision of ST/SGB/2011/6. Regrettably, staff representatives at SMC-II were not prepared to stick to the program of work that had been agreed upon and discuss the many other important agenda items. It was, therefore, not possible to continue the meeting.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT ISRAELI SETTLEMENT IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY: Asked about Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has been robust in expressing his concerns and has been in constant contact with the members of the Security Council.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BELIEVES ANY FURTHER MILITARIZATION OF SYRIAN CONFLICT WOULD BE UNHELPFUL: Asked about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Spokesperson noted the remarks made by the Secretary-General last Friday on that subject. Asked about a “no-fly” zone for Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General believes that any further militarization of the conflict would be unhelpful and counter-productive.