HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 11 JULY 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS TO EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
- The Secretary-General spoke today with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamal Amr.
- The Secretary-General expressed deep concern about continued detentions in Egypt and arrest warrants issued against Muslim Brotherhood leaders and others. He reminded the Foreign Minister of Egypt’s international obligations and the need to fully respect the right to freedom of association, speech and due process. He made clear that there is no place for retribution or for the exclusion of any major party or community in Egypt.
- He reiterated his support for the aspirations of the Egyptian people, and called for a peaceful dialogue that includes all parts of Egypt's political spectrum to find a way forward. The Secretary-General underscored the UN's support for an Egyptian government fully accountable to the Egyptian people.
U.N. CHEMICAL WEAPONS INVESTIGATION TEAM TO GO TO DAMASCUS
- Asked about the forthcoming visit to Syria by Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane and Dr. Ake Sellstrom, the Spokesperson said the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and the Head of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic have obtained the Secretary-General’s approval to accept the invitation of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to visit Damascus.
- The Secretary-General hopes that this visit will occur as soon as possible. The purpose of the visit will be to complete the consultations on the modalities of cooperation required for the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the Mission.
- Nesirky said the Secretary-General wishes to emphasize that, in light of the seriousness of allegations of the use of chemical weapons, the Mission will continue its activities which are aimed at establishing the facts in a credible manner.
- In accordance with the guidelines and procedures approved by the General Assembly (A/44/561 (annex)), there can be no substitute for an on-site investigation at all relevant locations in the Syrian Arab Republic. Dr. Sellstrom and his team continue to collate and analyse information from a variety of sources.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO FRANCE, MEET WITH PRESIDENT AND OTHER OFFICIALS
- The Secretary-General will travel to Paris this weekend.
- He will first attend France’s National Day military parade which this year will include peacekeepers from the newly-established United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA.
- The Secretary-General will have meetings with the French President, Prime Minister, Defence Minister and the President of the National Assembly.
- He is also expected to meet with other Heads of State attending France’s National Day celebration as well as with the Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN, TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON D.R.CONGO
- This morning, the Security Council was briefed in closed consultations on Sudan and South Sudan by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous.
- This afternoon, the Council will hold an open meeting on Sudan, followed by closed consultations on the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF CALLS FOR INCREASED ACCESS FOR PEOPLE IN NEED OF AID
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, and European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, are on a two-day mission in the Central African Republic.
- Today, in Bangui, they expressed deep concern about the plight of the people affected by instability across the country and called for increased humanitarian access to people in need of urgent aid.
- Ms. Amos said that the entire population of 4.6 million people was affected by the crisis and expressed particular concern about the impact of the crisis on women and children.
- She also said that security was a major concern and that the United Nations was working hard to reestablish its presence and programmes in different part of the country.
- Ms. Amos and Ms. Georgieva met the Head of the transition and members of the transitional government and urged the authorities to guarantee that humanitarian organisations can carry out their programmes.
U.N. MISSION IN MALI FACILITATES ARRIVAL OF KIDAL GOVERNOR
- The UN Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, facilitated the arrival in Kidal, northern Mali, of Governor Adama Kamissoko today.
- The Governor arrived in Kidal with 10 other Malian officials to work on the planning of the presidential election.
- Speaking to journalists, Bert Koenders, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, noted that the Governor’s arrival was an important and timely step in the process towards elections. He added that he was confident that all parties will cooperate on fully implementating the peace accord.
EDUCATION ACTIVIST MALALA TO ADDRESS U.N. YOUTH ASSEMBLY TOMORROW
- Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, Malala Yousafzai will address the United Nations Youth Assembly on her 16th birthday.
- The event will call for action on global education, and will be attended by the Secretary-General; Vuk Jeremic, the President of General Assembly; Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education; and Ahmad Alhendawi, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; among others.
- Asked about the visit to the United Nations of Malala Yusufzai on Friday, the Spokesperson said that Ms Yusufzai is a global symbol for the rights of girls and indeed all young people to an education. He noted she is an eloquent and brave spokesperson for their rights and it is in this context that the Secretary-General will welcome her to the United Nations.
- The Secretary-General hopes to build upon the awareness resulting from Malala's own activism to build upon his own efforts to ensure education for all.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT PLIGHT OF ROHINGYA IN MYANMAR
- Asked about the situation in Myanmar, the Spokesperson said that on Wednesday the Secretary-General addressed the Group of Friends of Myanmar, saying he remains concerned about the plight of the Rohingya population and their disturbing humanitarian situation. The actions that resulted in many deaths and widespread destruction are deplorable and unacceptable.
- The Secretary-General noted that the President has strongly condemned these acts and made clear his determination to punish the perpetrators. The President also evoked the country’s religious and ethnic diversity and expressed resolve in protecting all lives.
- The Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had said it was important for those commitments to be translated into action.
CEREAL PRODUCTION EXPECTED TO REACH HIGHEST LEVEL IN HISTORY THIS YEAR
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a new report today that cereal production is forecast to increase by nearly 7 percent this year compared to last year, bringing the global total this year to the highest level in history.
- The Organization said that wheat production dropped significantly below average in Syria this year, with the conflict disrupting farming activities, while in Egypt, civil unrest and dwindling foreign exchange reserves have raised serious food security concerns.
- The report also said that despite an improved cereal harvest in 2012 and the near normal outcome of the harvest so far this year, chronic food insecurity exists in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.