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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

THURSDAY, 16 AUGUST 2012

 SECRETARY-GENERAL INFORMS SECURITY COUNCIL OF NEED FOR EFFECTIVE, FLEXIBLE U.N. PRESENCE IN SYRIA

  • The Security Council held consultations on Thursday on the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet briefed Council members on recent developments.
  • In a letter to the Council, the Secretary-General writes that the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in violence by all sides, sufficient to allow the UN Mission to implement its mandate, have not been achieved.
  • He writes that the United Nations cannot discontinue its support and assistance to the Syrian people in helping to find an end to this crisis. Rather, we must adapt to the situation while pursuing our efforts.
  • The Secretary-General intends therefore to work in the immediate future towards establishing an effective and flexible United Nations presence in Syria. That presence will support our efforts with the parties to end hostilities and, where possible and agreed, support the Syrians in taking the steps they identify towards a negotiated and inclusive political settlement.
  • Asked about the contingency planning for a follow-on presence, the Spokesperson said that the Secretariat has been planning for a presence to remain once the Mission’s mandate ends. The Mission’s mandate, he noted, would end on 19 August.

UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL AMOS THANKS LEBANON FOR ITS GENEROSITY TO SYRIAN REFUGEES

  • Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, was in Beirut on Thursday, where she met with Lebanon’s Minister for Social Affairs and spoke to the press afterward. She thanked the Government of Lebanon for keeping its borders open and for being so generous to the Syrian refugees who have continued to cross the borders.
  • Ms. Amos has completed a two-day visit to Syria, and expressed her concern about the intense and often indiscriminate violence there. As many as 2.5 million people are in need of assistance, and the need among displaced Syrians for health care, shelter, food, water and sanitation are growing.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS TIMOR-LESTE HAS MADE TREMENDOUS PROGRESS IN EDUCATION

  • The Secretary-General wrapped up on Thursday his second day in Timor-Leste by focusing on education, and a new global initiative he plans to launch formally next month in New York during the General Debate.
  • The Secretary-General visited a rural primary school along the coast from the capital, Dili, and delivered a lecture at the University of Timor-Leste. He said he had chosen to highlight his Education First initiative in Timor-Leste because it had made tremendous progress in the short years since regaining independence.
  • He said the world needs a bold new push for education. We must widen access for all boys and girls, improve the quality of learning, and strengthen values-based education to make young people global citizens.
  • The Secretary-General also visited the Headquarters of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) to thank staff for their hard work over the years. That Mission is scheduled to wind down by the end of the year.

 OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

MORE THAN 435,000 DISPLACED PEOPLE IN MALI, U.N. SAYS: More than 435,000 people have been displaced by the complex humanitarian emergency in Mali, according to the latest report by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Wednesday.Nearly 262,000 of these people live as refugees in neighbouring countries, including Niger, Burkina Faso and Algeria. More than 60 per cent of the internally displaced population lives in the northern towns of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. Many of these people urgently need food, shelter and water.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT THE SITUATION OF ROHINGYAS IN MYANMAR: Asked about the situation of Rohingyas in Myanmar, the Spokesperson said that the situation was of concern to the Secretary-General, and the United Nations was discussing the matter with the relevant authorities.