HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 11 AUGUST 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES STEPS TAKEN TO FORM IRAQI GOVERNMENT, CONCERNED OVER POLITICAL TENSIONS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General said that he welcomes the forward movement toward government formation in Iraq. He also commends Iraqi President Fuad Massoum for having charged Dr. Haider al-Abbadi, in accordance with the the Iraqi Constitution, with the formation of a new government. He encourages Dr. al-Abbadi, Prime Minister-designate, to form a broad-based government acceptable to all components of Iraqi society, in accordance with the constitutional time-frame.
- The Secretary-General is concerned that heightened political tensions coupled with the current security threat of Islamic State (IS) could lead the country into even deeper crisis. He strongly urges all political parties and their supporters to remain calm and respect the political process governed by the Constitution. The people of Iraq deserve to live in a safe, prosperous and stable country – one that all groups in Iraq, including religious and ethnic minorities, can meaningfully contribute to and feel as their own.
- For his part, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, today welcomed the decision of the President of Iraq, Dr. Fuad Masoum, to accept the nomination of the largest bloc in Parliament, Dr. Haider al-Abbadi, as prime minister-designate, to undertake the formation of a new government.
- Mr. Mladenov said that President Masoum has fulfilled his role in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and asked the nominee of the largest political bloc to form a government. It is important now for all political groups in Parliament to cooperate in forming an inclusive government that reflects the wishes of the Iraqi people for security, prosperity and democracy.
- He urged all political leaders to work within the framework of the Constitution and show moderation in their statements and actions. The Iraqi Security Forces should refrain from actions that may be seen as interference in matters related to the democratic transfer of political authority.
GAZA: SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES HOPE THAT CEASEFIRE LEADS TO DURABLE PEACE
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General welcomed the ceasefire between the Israelis and Palestinians.
- The Secretary-General expresses his strong hope that this will give the two sides, under Egyptian auspices, another chance to agree on a durable ceasefire for the benefit of all civilian populations and as a starting point to address the underlying grievances on both sides.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that, as of yesterday, there were more than 230,000 internally displaced people taking refuge in 90 schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza. Nearly 40,000 more were hosted in 23 government and private schools and public facilities, and 25,000 families are registered by the Ministry of Social Affairs as being with host families.
- People need water, emergency food and other basic assistance. Most of Gaza’s households reportedly have no water supply, or receive water for a few hours every five days. Fuel is needed to operate critical water and sanitation facilities until repairs of the electricity grid can lead to the resumption of the former power supply level. Preventive health services for displaced people in shelters are required to prevent the outbreak of communicable diseases.
- UNRWA and the World Food Programme (WFP) were already regularly providing basic food assistance to over one million Palestinians in Gaza before the current hostilities. The two agencies are now also providing food rations to all displaced people sheltered in UN schools or government schools every day and continue to provide food assistance for people living with their relatives, and to patients, as well as hospital staff.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS GATHERS EXPERTS IN MEDICAL ETHICS TO DISCUSS EXPERIMENTAL EBOLA THERAPIES
- The World Health Organization (WHO) says that experts in medical ethics met today in Geneva to assess the role of experimental therapies in the Ebola outbreak response.
- The recent treatment of two health workers infected with the Ebola virus with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people should be used in the outbreak.
- The panel discussed whether it is ethical to use unregistered interventions with unknown adverse effects for possible treatment or prophylaxis, and what criteria should guide the choice of intervention.
- Under the leadership of the World Health Organization, activities in the field, in all four countries impacted by the outbreak, include infection prevention and control, community mobilization and tracing of people who have been in contact with Ebola patients.
DESPITE DROP IN FIGHTING, INTER-COMMUNAL CLASHES CONTINUE TO THREATEN DARFUR
- The African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, said today that fighting between Government forces and armed movements reduced considerably during the past months, but he added that inter-communal violence and acts of banditry and criminality continue to be a challenge for the civilian population of Darfur, AU-UN peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel.
- Speaking to reporters in Khartoum, Mr. Chambas also said that the troops and police of the African Union- UN Mission in Darfur was becoming more proactive and adopting a most robust posture in protecting civilians.
- Concerning the recent mediation efforts, he said that he had intensified coordination with the African Union High-level Implementation Panel and the Secretary-general’s Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. And he added that they had agreed to look into organizing a preparatory meeting, as soon as possible, with representatives of the armed movements and the Government of the Sudan. The meeting would explore ways of addressing the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur; deliberate on how the parties can bridge their differences and make progress towards a comprehensive settlement of the Darfur conflict.