HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON
FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 24 JULY 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
- The Secretary-General has departed for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from Kosovo, where he visited the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
- He met with international and regional organizations, as well as with Kosovo authorities.
- The Secretary-General also visited the Visoki Decani monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city of Prizren.
- Speaking to reporters upon arrival, the Secretary-General stressed the importance of dialogue and mutual respect across the region.
- He said that he expects strong efforts toward the normalization of relations with Belgrade.
- On Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General wrapped up his visit to Serbia. A readout of his meetings has been issued.
- Before leaving the country, he visited a recycling centre which primarily benefits the Roma community and seeks to ensure access to health care, education, and social services, among others.
While at the site, the Secretary-General said that the United Nations will do all it can to promote the rights of the Roma.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO CARRY OLYMPIC TORCH
- The Secretary-General will visit London from 26 to 28 July to take part in events related to the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.
- On Thursday, at the invitation of the London Olympic Organizing Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), he will carry the Olympic Torch on the final leg of its journey in the United Kingdom in the presence of the President of the IOC.
- On Friday he will attend the Opening Ceremony.
- The Secretary-General will also hold bilateral meetings with leaders of the Government of the United Kingdom, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the Foreign Secretary, William Hague.
- He will also take part in an event with the Foreign Secretary with other dignitaries to highlight the Olympic Truce.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Saturday.
- Asked about the Secretary-General carrying the Olympic Torch in London, the Deputy Spokesperson said it was an honour for the Secretary-General, who is a firm believer in sports for development and for peace.
- He added that the Secretary-General will be discussing the concept of the Olympic Truce and meeting with other leaders who will be in London for the opening of the Games.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON SOMALIA AND DARFUR
- On Tuesday morning the Security Council met in closed consultations to discuss the situation in Somalia.
- In the afternoon Ibrahim Gambari, Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur, was due to brief the Council, followed by closed consultations on UNAMID.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS TEAM TO INVESTIGATE ATTACK IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE
- A team from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is leaving on Tuesday for Côte d’Ivoire to investigate an attack on a relocation camp for displaced people in Nahibly, near the town of Duékoué.
- The attack, last Friday, led to the deaths of at least seven people. Sixty-seven were injured and the camp was completely burned to the ground, causing 5,000 inhabitants to flee.
- The High Commissioner has stressed the importance of fighting against impunity and has again encouraged the Government to prosecute perpetrators from all sides of the political divide, through a fair and impartial process.
- President Alassane Ouattara’s unequivocal condemnation of the crimes in Duékoué is welcomed.
U.N PEACEKEEPING CHIEF ASSESSES SYRIA MISSION
- Asked about UNSMIS observers in Damascus, the Deputy Spokesperson said the observers have limited operations.
- He added that Herve Ladsous and Babacar Gaye, who will take charge of the force for the next 30 days, are arriving in Damascus and will be assessing the activities of the mission.
They will, amongst other tasks, ascertain the safety threat to the mission.
Asked about reports that Al-Qaida has raised its flag on the Syrian-Turkish border, del Buey said the Secretary-General is against any militarisation of the situation in Syria. He said that Al-Qaida was a terrorist organisation which has been widely condemned.
- Asked about reports that Arab leaders may ask the Syrian opposition to form a government, the Deputy Spokesperson said the Secretary-General is in favour of a peaceful resolution to the situation.
- He noted that the United Nations does not recognise governments -- that is up to the General Assembly.
- If the Syrian opposition coming together enables them to engage in dialogue and exert more direct control on those engaged in violence to end it as soon as possible, as is expected from the Syrian government, then that would be welcome.
LEBANON ENVOY MEETS PRIME MINISTER TO DISCUSS SYRIA ISSUES
- The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly has met the Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut today.
- In a statement Mr. Plumbly said he told the Prime Minister that members of the Security Council were concerned by the incidents along Lebanon’s borders with Syria.
- He added that they had stressed the importance of respect for Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- The Special Coordinator also relayed to Premier Mikati the commitment of the international community to continue supporting the Lebanese Government in meeting its humanitarian obligations towards the thousands of displaced Syrians who have taken refuge in Lebanon.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SUPPORTS DIALOGUE OVER DISPUTED SPRATLY ISLANDS: Asked about the Chinese plan to station the military on a disputed island in the Spratly archipelago, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has always maintained that disputes should be handled peacefully through dialogue.
U.N. CALLS FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF MUSLIM ISSUE IN MYANMAR: Asked about the position of Muslim refugees in Myanmar the Deputy Spokesperson said the UN hopes the situation can be resolved peacefully and through dialogue. He said there are groups of Muslims who are not recognised as citizens.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES FOR TREATY TO REFLECT ARMS AS MAJOR SOURCE OF KILLING: Asked about the expectations of the Secretary-General on the draft of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) del Buey said the Secretary-General would like to see a Treaty that reflects arms as a major source of killing around the world. He added that the Treaty has no affect on national legislation but on the transfer of arms internationally.
U.N CONFIRMS BOMBS DROPPED ON SOUTH SUDAN: Asked about allegations that Sudanese bombs were dropped on South Sudan, the Deputy Spokesperson said UNMISS has verified that six bombs were dropped 2 km South of what they estimate to be 1-1-56. The Mission has no confirmation or signs of JEM presence south of the border. The UN has no presence north of the border so cannot comment on reports of any activities there.