HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON
FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 23 JULY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN SERBIA
- On Monday morning, the Secretary-General wrapped up his visit to Montenegro, where he met with the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Speaker of Parliament.
- Speaking to reporters, the Secretary-General said that Montenegro's future is full of promise. He added that the European Union's decision to open accession negotiations illustrates the country's progress in the six years since its independence.
- While in Montenegro, the Secretary-General took a helicopter tour of the country's coastline. He also visited the old city of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Over the weekend, the Secretary-General was in Croatia, where, in the capital, Zagreb, he gave a lecture on the 20th anniversary of the country's membership in the United Nations. He also spoke at the Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, which was named after one of the founding fathers of the World Health Organization.
- He then travelled to the island of Brijuni, where he held talks with Croatia's President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. A readout of those meetings over the weekend has been issued.
- The Secretary-General arrived in Belgrade, Serbia, on Monday afternoon and held meetings with the President and Foreign Minister.
ONE MILLION PEOPLE DISPLACED IN SYRIA ACCORDING TO U.N. HUMANITARIAN AGENCY
- In its latest humanitarian bulletin, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, up to one million people have been internally displaced since the conflict began.
- Violence has engulfed large parts of Damascus, causing new patterns of displacement. Increasingly, people are being displaced for a second time, as former safe havens become affected by military operations.
- The outlook for food insecurity is grim. The crisis has forced people to leave their homes and livelihoods and negatively impacted employment, crops and livestock.
- The preliminary findings of a joint UN-Government food security assessment suggest that the number of food insecure is now approaching three million.
- Health services have been severely affected by the violence.
- There are increasing reports of hospitals in areas of conflict being closed, damaged, surrounded and sometimes occupied by security forces, and/or lacking medical supplies.
- Fear of detention reportedly leaves some people reluctant to seek assistance and ambulances have repeatedly come under fire while recovering the injured.
- Asked about reports that rebels in Syria are being funded externally, the Deputy Spokesperson said that any further militarisation of situation is counterproductive. The Secretary-General has said violence has to come to an end and that there needs to be political dialogue led by the Syrians themselves.
- Asked about whether UNSMIS going to investigate the infiltration of rebel groups, the Deputy Spokesperson said the mission is currently suspended but if the violence in the country reduces the mission will resume.
U.N. VOICES “GRAVE CONCERN” ABOUT PALESTINIAN REFUGEES IN SYRIA
- The United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees, (UNRWA) views with increasingly grave concern the situation in Syria, particularly as regards the implications for the stability and protection of 500,000 Palestinian refugees across the country.
- In a statement, the Agency says it is also concerned about the safety of UNRWA staff, the security of its facilities, and about humanitarian access to affected refugees.
- The current situation in the Damascus neighbourhood of Yarmouk and in rural Damascus, home to both Syrian and Palestinian communities, is especially worrying.
- UNRWA calls on all parties to take steps to ensure the protection of Palestinian refugees in the situation of armed conflict in Syria.
BOMB ATTACKS IN IRAQ CONDEMNED BY U.N.
- The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) condemns in the strongest terms the wave of attacks that have killed dozens and injured many more across Iraq since Sunday.
- Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Political Affairs says he strongly condemns the heinous attacks and the senseless violence and bloodshed across the country.
- He adds that the scale and brutality of the attacks are appalling.
- The criminals who perpetrated these attacks must be held to account, he stresses.
- Mr. Busztin extends his condolences to the families of those who were killed and his wishes for the speedy recovery of those who were injured.