HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 15 AUGUST 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS JORDANIAN AND PALESTINIAN LEADERS
- The Secretary-General started the day in Amman with a meeting with the Jordanian Foreign Minister. The Secretary-General then flew to Aqaba to meet King Abdullah.
- The Secretary-General has also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. He has also met other Palestinian leaders and he was due to speak to reporters.
- From Ramallah, the Secretary-General was due to travel to Jerusalem for meetings with Israeli leaders on Thursday and Friday. The focus of his various meetings is on the Middle East Peace Process.
- The Secretary-General also took part in a Model UN event in Ramallah on Thursday, with a video link to Gaza, and he will attend a similar Israeli event on Friday.
- The Secretary-General visited the grave of Yasser Arafat on Thursday and will be visiting Yitzhak Rabin's memorial on Friday.
- While in Ramallah, the Secretary-General also launched a new UN Development Assistance Framework that outlines how the United Nations works with the Palestinian Authority.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CALLS ON ALL SIDES IN EGYPT TO STEP BACK FROM BRINK OF DISASTER
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, appealed on Thursday to all sides in Egypt to step back from the brink of disaster after a day of bloody violence left hundreds dead or injured. She urged the Egyptian authorities and security forces to act with the utmost restraint. She also called for an independent, impartial, effective and credible investigation of the conduct of the security forces.
- Ms. Pillay added that reports of attacks on public buildings and religious sites by opponents of the Government are also extremely worrying and those responsible for such criminal acts should be brought to justice.
- Reacting to the announcement by the authorities of a month-long national state of emergency, the High Commissioner stressed that it should be implemented in conformity with Egypt’s obligations under international law. In this context, it is of utmost importance that the rule of law and human rights be respected and protected.
- Asked further about human rights investigations, the Spokesperson noted that normally, they are conducted by the national authorities. A mandate would be needed for any international investigation.
U.N. SAYS THAT SYRIA ACCEPTED MODALITIES FOR COOPERATION WITH CHEMICAL WEAPONS INVESTIGATION TEAM
- In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the Secretary-General announced the Government of Syria’s formal acceptance of the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. The departure of the team is now imminent.
- As agreed with the Government of Syria, the team will remain in the country to conduct its activities, including on-site visits, for a period of up to 14 days, extendable upon mutual consent.
- The Secretary-General believes that an effective mechanism to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons can serve as an important deterrent against their employment.
U.N. ASKS FOR $98 MILLION TO RESPOND TO HUMANITARIAN PRIORITIES IN D.P.R.K.
- The United Nations has called for $98 million in funding to respond to urgent humanitarian priorities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The humanitarian programmes being implemented by five UN agencies in the DPRK remain drastically underfunded. Of the overall funding requirement of $150 million for this year, $98 million is still urgently needed for food and agricultural support, health and nutrition, water and sanitation interventions.
- Around 2.4 million very vulnerable people in the most food insecure provinces need regular food assistance.
AFRICAN UNION MISSION IN SOMALIA INVESTIGATING REPORTS OF ALLEGED RAPE BY ITS SOLDIERS: Asked about reports of a rape allegedly by soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Spokesperson noted that AMISOM is investigating.
U.N. SAYS HUMANITARIANS WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE IN SOMALIA: Asked about the withdrawal of an NGO from Somalia, the Spokesperson said that the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini, says that humanitarians will continue to mitigate risks and provide assistance to those most in need, including by supporting Somalia’s health authorities.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO MONITORING CASE OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT ARRESTED: Asked about a member of the Congolese parliament who was arrested on charges of insulting the president, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission, MONUSCO, is aware of the media reports and is closely monitoring the case. He added that the United Nations does not comment on judicial proceedings by independent courts.