HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 13 JULY 2012
SYRIA ENVOY SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ATROCITIES IN TREMSEH
- The Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, has issued a statement saying he is shocked and appalled by news coming out of the village of Tremseh, near Hama, of intense fighting, significant casualties, and the confirmed use of heavy weaponry, such as artillery, tanks and helicopters.
- He said this violated the Syrian Government’s undertaking to stop using heavy weapons in population centres and its commitment to the six-point plan.
- The Joint Special Envoy condemned the atrocities, and he said it was yet another reminder of the nightmare and the horrors Syrian civilians are being subjected to.
- He said it was desperately urgent that the violence and brutality stop and more important than ever that governments with influence exert it more effectively.
- The Head of UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), General Robert Mood, has said the Mission stands ready to go to Trem-seh to try to verify the facts, if and when there is a credible ceasefire.
- The Secretary-General spoke with his Head of Mission this morning. General Mood briefed him on the Mission’s assessment so far of the reports from Hama. The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about these reports.
- Asked about the UNSMIS report on the killings in Houleh, the Spokesperson said the Mission had reported quickly on developments on the ground. He said the report itself was being reviewed by the relevant parts of the UN system.
- Asked about discrepancies in figures of refugees fleeing Syria, the Spokesperson said this may be due in part to the fact that not all refugees register with UN authorities. Nesirky said that these people are receiving generous assistance from national authorities as well as help from UN agencies and other organisations.
U.N. MISSION HELPS D.R. CONGO FORCES DETER REBEL FIGHTERS
- On Thursday, the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) used two of its attack helicopters in support of efforts by the country’s armed forces to deter M23 fighters near the villages of Ngugo and Nysisi, south of Rutshuru town, in North Kivu.
- The M23 fighters had been seen to be moving south toward Goma. The UN mission had also received reports of human rights violations by the M23 in that area.
- The Mission attack helicopters used rocket fire and missiles to deter their further advances and protect the population.
- MONUSCO is assessing the impact of the operation, which took place in a remote and heavily forested, mountainous area.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the DRC, Roger Meece, was in Goma on Friday.
- He met with local authorities and the leadership of the Mission and of the Congolese armed forces, known as FARDC, to discuss the security situation.
- Mr. Meece called for calm and reaffirmed the determination of MONUSCO to protect civilians and support FARDC efforts to ensure secure main population centres.
- From Goma, the Special Representative will travel to Addis Ababa to attend the African Union Summit.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO CHINA, SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
- The Secretary-General will depart on Monday, 16 July, for a visit that will take him to China and to Southeastern Europe.
- In China, he will take part in the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
- While in the capital, Beijing, the Secretary-General will also meet with the country’s leadership.
- He will then travel to Southeastern Europe, where he will promote the strong partnership between United Nations and the countries of the region.
- His first stop will be Slovenia, where he will arrive on Thursday, 19 July. There, he will meet with President Danilo Türk, Prime Minister Janez Janša, and Gregor Virant, President of the National Assembly.
- The Secretary-General will then travel to Croatia, where, in the capital, Zagreb, he will meet with Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic and give a lecture at the Academy for Political Development on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the country’s membership to the United Nations.
- He will then proceed to Brijuni Islands where he will hold talks with President Ivo Josipovic and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic. While in Croatia, he will also take the opportunity to travel to the city of Porec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The Secretary-General’s next stop will be Montenegro, where he will meet with President Filip Vujanovic, Prime Minister Igor Lukšic, and Ranko Krivokapic, Speaker of the Parliament.
- He will also visit a UN eco-building site and Cetinje, the country’s historical capital.
- From Montenegro, the Secretary-General will travel to Serbia where he will hold talks with President Tomislav Nikolic; Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister-designate, Principle Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; and Vuk Jeremic, President-elect of the General Assembly.
- The Secretary-General will then go to Kosovo, where he will visit the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). While there, he will meet with international and regional organizations and with Kosovo authorities. He will also visit the Visoki Decani monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the city of Prizren.
- The Secretary-General will then travel to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where he will meet with President Gjorge Ivanov and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. While in Skopje, he will also address the country’s Parliament after having met with Trajko Veljanoski, President of the Assembly.
- The Secretary-General’s last stop in the Western Balkans will be Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he will hold talks with the Members of the Presidency; Vjekoslav Bevanda, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Zlatko Lagumdžija, Vice Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- While in Sarajevo, the Secretary-General will address the Parliament and meet with leaders of political parties and with representatives of the international community.
- The Secretary-General will also travel to Srebrenica, where he will visit the Potocari Memorial Center.
- The Secretary-General’s visit to Southeastern Europe will wrap up on Thursday, 26 July.
- Asked if the Secretary-General will raise territorial disputes during his visit to China, the Spokesperson said that he would not prejudge what the Secretary-General may discuss. But he noted that the Secretary-General has consistently said territorial disputes are best resolved through peaceful dialogue between the countries involved.
- Asked about the Secretary-General's trip to Southeastern Europe, the Spokesperson said that this is an opportunity to underscore the strong relations and partnerships between the UN and countries in the region, and to look to the future in view of how the region has developed over the past 20 years.
AFGHANISTAN: HEAD OF U.N. BODY SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ABUSE, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
- In a statement, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet said that Afghanistan has witnessed cases of extreme abuse and appalling violence against women. These actions have sparked national and international outrage, and have once again focused attention on the continuing and urgent need to protect women’s and girls’ rights as the world redefines its role in Afghanistan, and as the Government of Afghanistan moves forward in transition.
U.N. RELIEF ARM VOICES CONCERN OVER FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says Afghans are facing an uncertain future, despite improvements in education, health care and political participation over the past decade.
- The departure of foreign troops will reduce economic activity, state revenues and foreign aid, putting the development gains of the last decade at risk and exacerbating humanitarian needs in one of the poorest countries in the world.
- The Office notes that the current Consolidated Appeal for Afghanistan for 2012 calls for $448 million to implement 165 projects across the country. Halfway through the year, this Appeal is only 30 per cent funded.
YEMEN: BASIC SERVICES DISRUPTED BY CONFLICT, U.N. REPORTS
- The Office for the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the conflict in Abyan and the south of Yemen has severely disrupted basic social services, increasing already widespread and chronic vulnerabilities.
- The conflict between Yemeni security forces and insurgents in Abyan, and the destruction of infrastructure, such as irrigation channels, power installations, machinery and markets, have destroyed the livelihoods of some 200,000 people. Sustained and expanded humanitarian action across the south is critical.
- This response requires an additional $87 million to support some 320,000 people in need over the next six months. As of 12 July, the appeal for this year, this is the 2012 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, has received $249 million, or 54 per cent of the amount sought.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW HIV/AIDS, EDUCATION ENVOYS
- The Secretary-General has appointed Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro of Tanzania, former Deputy Secretary-General, as his Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.
- He has appointed Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister, to serve as the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.
- Leila Zerrougui of Algeria will replace Radhika Coomaraswamy as Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.
- Jean-Jacques Graisse of Belgium is being appointed as Acting Head in the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM).
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES RIGHT TO PEACEFUL PROTEST: Asked about protests in Sudan, the Spokesperson reiterated the Secretary-General's view that it is a universal right to be able to protest peacefully without fear of violence or retribution.
MORE THAN HALF OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME’S ASSISTANCE FOR AFRICA: The World Food Programme (WFP) has presented a new publication entitled ‘Africa 2011 Facts and Figures.’ The report highlights that WFP spent more than 50 per cent of its global assistance in Africa last year. The report says the World Food Programme was the world’s biggest buyer of food for humanitarian operations and the largest single purchaser of food assistance in Africa.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
14 - 20 JULY 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 14 July
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 15 July
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 16 July
Today, the Secretary-General will depart for a visit to China.
Tuesday, 17 July
This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on the 1701 report and on Yemen.
Wednesday, 18 July
Today is Nelson Mandela International Day.
At 11:30 a.m., the Security Council will receive a briefing on UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), followed by consultations on the same subject. In the afternoon, the Council will adopt resolutions on United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Also in the afternoon, the Council will receive a briefing and hold consultations on the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI).
Thursday, 19 July
Today, the Secretary-General will arrive in Slovenia, where he will begin his visit to Southeastern Europe.
This morning, the Security Council will receive a briefing and hold consultations on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). In the afternoon, there will be a meeting of troop-contributing countries on the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and at 4:00 p.m., there will be consultations on the Somalia/Eritrea 751/1907 Committee.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson will hold the first press conference of his tenure. There will be no noon briefing today.
Friday, 20 July
There are no major events scheduled for today.