HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 8 JULY 2013
BAN SAYS SYRIAN GOVERNMENT’S INVITATION TO GRANT ACCESS TO U.N. CHEMICAL WEAPONS TEAM STEP IN ‘RIGHT DIRECTION’
- Asked about the remarks made by the Syrian Permanent Representative this morning, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General has been made aware of the press briefing by the Permanent Representative of Syria. The Secretary-General remains seriously concerned about all allegations on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. What is most urgent at this time is that the Syrian Government allows access to the UN Investigation Mission without further delay and without any conditions. In this regard, the stated intent of the Syrian Government to invite Dr. Ake Sellstrom and Angela Kane is a move in the right direction. We need to analyse the elements in the announcement by the Syrian Permanent Representative today. In the meantime, he repeated the importance of having comprehensive access to the sites of allegations.
- Asked about Homs, the Spokesperson added that the dire condition of many civilians in Syria underscores the urgent need to open access for humanitarian assistance for all. Civilians continue to bear the brunt of suffering due to military operations by all sides.
AT SECURITY COUNCIL, U.N. ENVOY NOTES PROGRESS, SETBACKS ON EVE OF SOUTH SUDAN’S SECOND ANNIVERSARY
- This morning, the Security Council was briefed in an open meeting by Hilde Johnson, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan, on the eve of the country’s second anniversary.
- Speaking from South Sudan, Ms. Johnson pointed to progress made since independence with the support of the UN Mission, UNMISS, including becoming a more stable and democratically accountable country.
- However, she noted that despite these achievements, progress has been hampered in other areas, including the security situation in Jonglei and human rights violations by both armed groups and national security institutions.
SECRETARY-GENERAL: U.N. DETERMINED TO PROMOTE BETTER STANDARD OF LIFE FOR ALL
- The Secretary-General spoke this morning at a General Assembly thematic debate on inequality, saying that the United Nations is determined to promote social progress and better standards of life not for some, but for all.
- In his remarks, he said that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been remarkably successful in generating global action across a range of issues. He also said that progress has been uneven within and among countries and that in many countries, rich and poor, social and economic inequalities are widening.
- The Secretary-General said that tackling inequality, eradicating poverty and promoting shared prosperity must be at the heart of the UN sustainable development agenda.
BAN APPOINTS SENIOR OFFICIALS FOR NEW U.N. MALI MISSION
- The Secretary-General has appointed his two Deputy Special Representatives in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA): Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal and David Gressly of the United States of America.
- Mr. Bathily has been serving as Senior Minister in the office of the President of Senegal since 2012 and Mr. Gressly has most recently served as Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel.
- Mr. Gressly will also serve in MINUSMA as United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ATTACKS ON NIGERIAN SCHOOL
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that the deaths of students in another attack on a school in Northeast Nigeria should be condemned absolutely by all communities.
UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa Manuel Fontaine said that there can be no justification for the deliberate targeting of children and those looking after them.
- UNICEF called for those responsible to be brought to justice and for communities to demand that schools be considered as places of safety.
- The Secretary-General shares these views.
- Asked about reports of military activities in Mali, the Spokesperson said that on Saturday 6 July peacekeepers were attacked by armed combatants and that one uniformed staff member was injured. The Mission has reinforced its presence in Kidal.
U.N. OFFICIAL SADDENED BY KILLING OF AID WORKERS IN DARFUR
- The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, has expressed sadness over the killing in Nyala, in South Darfur, of two Sudanese staff members working with the non-governmental organizations, World Vision International.
- A third World Vision staff member was also critically injured in fighting between Government forces and an armed group.
- Mr. Al-Za’tari said that the incident highlights the continuing unstable security in this region that threatens to disrupt the flow of the much needed humanitarian assistance, destabilise reconciliation efforts and derail progress towards greater economic and social development.
U.N. SOMALIA ENVOY EXPRSSES SORROW AT KILLING OF JOURNALIST
- Nicholas Kay, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, has expressed his sorrow at the killing in the city of Gaalkacyo of a TV reporter, the fifth journalist to be murdered in the country this year.
- Nicholas Kay noted that this is a politically tense period in Puntland ahead of local elections and called for restraint on the part of all political actors.
- He said that the new UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) is dedicated to working with Somali authorities to strengthen the security and justice sectors in order to ensure that Somalia is safe and that perpetrators of violent crime are brought to justice.
TOP U.N. OFFICIAL IN IRAQ WELCOMES RELOCATION OF CAMP LIBERTY RESIDENTS TO GERMANY
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, has welcomed the relocation of a first group of seven residents of Camp Liberty to Germany.
Mr. Kobler said that these are the first of approximately 100 residents that Germany has agreed to accept for relocation.
- He thanked the Government of Germany for offering a new home to these people in need of international protection.
TOP U.N. ENERGY OFFICIAL TAKES UP POST
- Mr. Kandeh Yumkella of Sierra Leone officially took up his post as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sustainable Energy for All at the beginning of this month.
As Special Representative, Mr. Yumkella will seek to mobilise action toward a sustainable energy future and accelerate the implementation of the Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
Mr. Yumkella most recently served two terms as the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) from 2005 until this year. Before joining UNIDO, Mr. Yumkella served as Minister of Trade, Industry and State Enterprises of Sierra Leone.
- While serving as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mr. Yumkella will continue to chair UN-Energy, the coordination body of United Nations agencies dealing with energy related issues.
- Asked about the Secretary-General's reaction to the visit to Lampedusa by Pope Francis today, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General shares the Pontiff's concerns about the plight of refugees around the globe.
- Asked about the violence in Egypt and the clashes overnight, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General remains very concerned about the situation.