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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

THURSDAY, 20 JUNE 2013

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS WITH NEW CHINESE LEADERSHIP

  • The Secretary-General has had more discussions with members of the new Chinese leadership in Beijing on Thursday and a series of meetings that focussed on climate change.
  • Among other things, he held meetings with Premier Li Keqiang and State Councillor Yang Jiechi. His meeting with the Premier concentrated on sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals. In talks with the State Councillor, there was an emphasis on developments on the Korean Peninsula and in Syria.
  • In remarks to the press, the Secretary-General also spoke about the terrorist attack against the United Nations in Mogadishu and about developments relating to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
  • The Secretary-General met the Mayor of Beijing and also a number of other officials for talks on climate change, sustainable energy and urbanisation.
  • He will leave Beijing on Friday and will be back in New York on the same day.

AFGHANISTAN: U.N. REPRESENTATIVE CALLS FOR SUSTAINED AND PREDICTABLE INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

  • Jan Kubis, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, briefed the Security Council this morning and said that there is a clear need to provide sustained and predictable international support in ways that reinforce Afghanistan’s leadership.
  • He told the Council that this summer unfortunately promises to be a “hot” one for Afghanistan, as we have seen increasingly brutal complex assaults on high-profile targets that have resulted in high civilian casualties. From the beginning of the year until 6 June, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed and more than 2,000 injured, which is a 24 percent increase in civilian casualties compared to the same period in 2012.
  • Mr. Kubis expressed the hope that the current controversies and concerns around the Taliban office in Doha will soon be solved. He added that the UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, stands ready to support all peace and reconciliation efforts based on and in full conformity with its mandate.
  • This afternoon, the Council will hold consultations on Sudan and South Sudan. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos plans to speak to reporters at the stakeout after her briefing to the Council.

U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF VISITS JORDAN TO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH SYRIAN REFUGEES ON WORLD REFUGEE DAY

  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, is in Jordan on Thursday as part of a visit to the region to mark World Refugee Day. Earlier in the week he visited Lebanon where he met with Syrian refugees.
  • In a statement, Mr. Guterres said that he has come to Jordan to stand by the people of Syria in their time of acute need. He said that he wanted to salute Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and all the countries in the region for being generous havens that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
  • The High Commissioner said that only massive international solidarity can allow the neighbouring countries to be able to go on responding to the needs of the Syrian refugees.
  • The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, also said in a statement that the needs of conflict-affected Syrians are huge, almost too big to comprehend. Ms. Cousin said that Syrians are not alone in feeling the devastation of displacement and that the international community must continue to advocate on behalf of displaced people everywhere.
  • In a message on World Refugee Day, the Secretary-General also called on the international community to intensify efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts so that families can be reunited and refugees can return home.

SOMALIA: U.N. OFFICIALS VISIT U.N. COMPOUND AFTER ATTACK

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, and other top UN officials in the country visited the UN Common Compound this morning – the site of Wednesday’s deadly attack – in Mogadishu.
  • The compound is partially damaged but repairs and reconstruction are already under way.
  • Mr. Kay read a message on behalf of the Secretary-General at a memorial service at Mogadishu International Airport for those killed during Wednesday’s attack. The President of Somalia also attended the service, expressing his solidarity with the UN family and his commitment to continue working together.
  • Asked about three contractors who had died in the attack, the Spokesperson said that they were involved in demining.

INDIA: TORRENTIAL RAINS TRIGGER FLOODS AND LANDSLIDES, SAYS U.N. DISASTER MANAGEMENT TEAM

  • The UN Disaster Management Team in India reports that torrential rains have triggered floods and landslides in northern India, leaving at least 73 people reported dead and thousands stranded. In Uttrakhand, some 45 people were reportedly killed and 50 people are missing. Rising river levels have resulted in the collapse of buildings and bridges.
  • Flooding has also affected other parts of India, including Haryana, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune.
  • The UN Disaster Management Team is closely monitoring the situation through its field offices. No request for international assistance has been made.

U.N. DECIDES TO LIST SIX SITES IN SYRIA ON WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN DANGER

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said on Thursday that the World Heritage Committee has decided to place the six World Heritage sites of the Syrian Arab Republic on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  • The UN agency said that this decision is intended to mobilize all possible support for the safeguarding of these properties which are recognized by the international community as being of outstanding universal value for humanity as a whole.
  • The six sites are: the Ancient City of Damascus, the Site of Palmyra, the Ancient City of Bosra, the Ancient City of Aleppo, the Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din, and the Ancient Villages of Northern Syria.
  • The World Heritage Committee is currently holding its 37th session in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the session will close in Angkor on 27 June.

SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. AID AGENCIES NEED $485 MILLION BY END OF YEAR

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the aid agencies in South Sudan will need $485 million until the end of this year to help 3 million people to survive and to rebuild their lives.
  • The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan said that an improved harvest and lower-than-expected numbers of refugee and returnee arrivals have resulted in the stabilization of the needs of many vulnerable communities.
  • He warned that hostilities have uprooted tens of thousands of people in Jonglei, the lean season has begun, and 2.2 million people need food and livelihoods assistance.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SAYS PHYSICAL OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE AFFECTS MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF ALL WOMEN

  • In a new report released on Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that physical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women globally.
  • The report finds that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women. The study highlights the need for all sectors to engage in eliminating tolerance for violence against women and better support women who experience it.
  • The World Health Organization launched new guidelines to help countries improve their health sector’s capacity to respond to violence against women.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS DEPUTY JOINT REPRESENTATIVE IN DARFUR AND COUNTER-TERRORISM DIRECTOR

  • The Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, have appointed Joseph Mutaboba of Rwanda as African Union and United Nations Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur and Deputy Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation (UNAMID).
  • Mr. Mutaboba will replace Ms. Aichatou Mindaoudou of Niger.
  • Following the Security Council’s concurrence, the Secretary-General has also confirmed the appointment of Jean-Paul Laborde of France to serve as Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) at the Assistant Secretary-General level.  Mr. Laborde will succeed Mike Smith of Australia. 
  • Mr. Laborde is currently serving as Judge of the Criminal Chamber of the French Judicial Supreme Court, the Cour de Cassation.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS UPON ETHIOPIA AND EGYPT TO ENGAGE IN DIALOGUE

  • Asked about a dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt concerning a proposed dam project on the Nile River, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had called the leaders of both countries and expressed his desire that they engage in dialogue to resolve differences on that matter.