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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 13 AUGUST 2013

 

IN ISLAMABAD, SECRETARY-GENERAL PRAISES PAKISTAN’S LEADING ROLE IN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS

  • The Secretary-General arrived in Islamabad overnight, and he held the first of his planned meetings with Pakistani leaders.
  • The Secretary-General also inaugurated the Centre for International Peace and Stability at the National University of Sciences and Technology. In his remarks, the Secretary-General praised Pakistan's leading role in peacekeeping operations and outlined challenges facing the United Nations. 
  • The Secretary-General later took part in an event at the Islamabad College for Girls to promote education, especially for girls and women.
  • On Wednesday, the Secretary-General will have further meetings with Pakistani leaders, including the Prime Minister, the President and women parliamentarians. He will also attend part of Pakistan's Independence Day celebrations.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO THE MIDDLE EAST

  • The Secretary-General will travel to the Middle East later this week.
  • In Jordan, he is scheduled to meet with King Abdullah II as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • The Secretary-General will then go to Ramallah, where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.  While in Ramallah, he will also visit the gravesite of President Yasser Arafat.
  • The Secretary-General will then travel to Jerusalem, where he will hold meetings with several officials, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will also visit the memorial and grave of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at Mount Herzl.
  • During his visit, the Secretary-General will also be meeting the lead Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, as well as the United States Special Envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk.
  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s specific message to the leaders of the region, the Spokesperson said it would be a message of support for the Middle East peace talks.
  • He added that the Secretary-General is involved in the Middle East peace process as one of the principal members of the Quartet.

U.N. CHEMICAL WEAPONS TEAM HAS COMPLETED LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR VISIT TO SYRIA

  • Regarding the work of the chemical weapons team dealing with Syria, the Spokesperson said that over the weekend, the investigation team led by Dr. Ake Sellström completed all the necessary logistical arrangements for its visit to Syria.
  • In the meantime, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, has continued her consultations with the Government of Syria with a view to reaching agreement as soon as possible on the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the Mission.
  • Once the Government of Syria confirms its acceptance of the modalities, the Mission will depart without delay.
  • Asked about the modalities for the mission’s work, the Spokesperson reiterated that the details are being worked out.
  • Also on Syria, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that humanitarian workers successfully delivered aid to Idleb city, with convoys arriving on 3 and 12 August, for the first time in around 30 days.
  • The United Nations hub in Tartous coordinated with UN agencies to supply sixteen trucks loaded with food, high-energy biscuits, medical supplies and educational and recreational kits for children.
  • These convoys provided food support for 17,750 people, high-energy biscuits for 50,000 people and three months' supply of primary health care medicines for 45,000 people, among other key items.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CALLS FOR DIALOGUE BETWEEN UPROOTED PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT OF MYANMAR

  • On Tuesday, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) repeated its call for peaceful dialogue between uprooted people and the Government in Myanmar following clashes in Rakhine state last week that left one person dead and some 10 others injured.
  • The Agency says that dialogue is crucial to avoiding further violence.
  • It notes that some 140,000 people remain internally displaced in Rakhine following last year’s violence. An additional 36,000 people in isolated areas and host communities in the state have also been adversely affected, with little to no access to work and basic services.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNED ABOUT ARREST OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER IN BANGLADESH

  • The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday it is concerned about the arrest of a prominent human rights defender in Bangladesh and urged the Government to secure his immediate release.
  • Adilur Rahman Khan, the director of a well-known human rights organization in Bangladesh, was arrested at his home on 10 August.
  • He is reportedly accused of publishing false information about violence by Government forces during demonstrations in May.
  • The Office called on the Government to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Khan, whose arrest might be linked to his work as human rights defender.

NUMBER OF DISPLACED PEOPLE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC CONTINUES TO GROW, U.N. REFUGEE SAYS

  • The UN Refugee Agency said on Tuesday that it was extremely concerned at reported lawlessness in the Central African Republic where the number of people displaced inside the country or forced to flee to neighbouring countries continues to grow.
  • Inside the Central African Republic itself, there are now an estimated 206,000 internally displaced people.
  • Since mid-July an additional 4,125 refugees have arrived in the Moissala area of southern Chad. There are now more than 62,700 refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries since the latest crisis erupted last December.
  • The Refugee Agency again called on the Government to do more to ensure the safety of people and their property across the country, to avert further displacement and suffering.
  • Also, the World Health Organization said that its assessment has shown that 70 per cent of people in the Central African Republic do not have access to health services. Many health facilities are not functioning due to looting, the movement of health workers, non-payment of wages and the breach of the medicines supply chain.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the measles outbreak is one of the major health concerns in the country. Health partners are preparing a nationwide vaccination campaign to respond to this continued outbreak.

NEW DIRECTOR APPOINTED FOR U.N. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME REGIONAL BUREAU FOR ASIA AND PACIFIC

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Haoliang Xu of China Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • He will replace Ajay Chhibber of India, who will return to his Government
  • Mr. Xu has been Deputy Regional Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States since 2010.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NEGOTIATIONS UNDER WAY FOR RELEASE OF HELICOPTER CREW IN DARFUR: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that on 3 August 2013, the helicopter of an African Union/United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) contractor, tasked with delivering supplies to various UNAMID locations in South Darfur, made an emergency landing due to severe weather conditions. The Spokesperson said that negotiations are under way for the safe release of the crew.

U.N. SAYS KIDNAPPINGS IN LEBANON ARE DISTURBING: Asked about recent kidnappings in Lebanon, the Spokesperson said that the situation was disturbing.