HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON
FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 2 AUGUST 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION OF JOINT SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA
- The Secretary-General has announced the resignation of Kofi Annan, the UN-League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy for Syria.
- The Secretary-General said, in his statement, that Mr. Annan had informed the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Nabil El Araby, and him of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on 31 August 2012.
- The Secretary-General expressed his deepest gratitude to Mr. Annan for the determined and courageous efforts he has made as the Joint Special Envoy.
- He said Kofi Annan deserved our profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments.
He said he would continue to draw on Mr. Annan’s wisdom and counsel, and on the work of the Office of the Joint Special Envoy.
The Secretary-General has already started to consult with the League of Arab States Secretary-General about a successor to Mr. Annan who can carry on this crucial peacemaking effort.
- The Secretary-General remains convinced that yet more bloodshed is not the answer. He said the United Nations remains committed to pursue through diplomacy an end to the violence and a Syrian-led solution that meets the legitimate democratic aspirations of its people.
- Asked about the six-point peace plan, the Spokesperson said that the plan has the support of the Security Council, adding that the UN remains committed to pursuing an end to the violence through diplomacy. He said that the six-point plan remains the best hope for the way forward.
- The Secretary-General, he said, will continue to push for the plan as he looks for a successor to carry on Mr. Annan’s work.
- Nesirky noted that the UN Mission on the ground has done work under extremely difficult circumstances. The Joint Special Envoy’s office will continue to go about its work while a successor to Mr. Annan is found.
- Asked further about the resignation, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General is extremely grateful for Mr. Annan’s work and will rely on the Joint Special Envoy’s office as its work continues.
- Asked about communications between the Secretary-General and Kofi Annan, the Spokesperson noted that the two met in London a few days ago. The two have been in constant contact over the past month and spoke by telephone this morning.
- Asked about the factors hindering mediation, the Spokesperson read out from the Secretary-General’s statement, which said, “Both the Government and the opposition forces continue to demonstrate their determination to rely on ever-increasing violence. In addition, the persistent divisions within the Security Council have themselves become an obstacle to diplomacy, making the work of any mediator vastly more difficult.”
- The statement added that diplomacy can only succeed – indeed any peacemaking effort can only prosper – when the parties to the violence make a firm commitment to dialogue, and when the international community is strongly united in support.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES AUGUST PROGRAMME OF WORK
- The Security Council held its first consultations on Thursday morning under the Council Presidency of France and approved its programme of work for August.
- In the afternoon, the Security Council held consultations and was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, on the work of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).
U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH FAMILIES OF LEBANESE KIDNAPPED IN SYRIA
- On Thursday, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, received a delegation from the families of the eleven Lebanese kidnapped in Syria since last May. The families briefed Mr. Plumbly on their concerns, which he said he will convey to UN Headquarters.
- Special Coordinator Plumbly stressed the importance of the release of the abductees and their safe return without further delay. The Secretary-General has also expressed his concerns about the matter, and we will continue to be in contact with the Lebanese authorities and others about this.
FLOOD-RAVAGED D.P.R. KOREA GOVERNMENT REQUESTS THAT U.N. RELEASE EMERGENCY SUPPLIES
- Torrential rains across the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have resulted in widespread flooding, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
- The state media have estimated that more than 100 people have died and that tens of thousands of people have lost their homes.
- The Government has requested that the UN release its pre-positioned emergency stocks, including food and fuel.
- Earlier this week, the UN agencies took part in a wider mission to assess the damage in some of the most affected areas of the country.
GLOBAL STAR BEYONCÉ JOINS U.N., AID PARTNERS IN PROMOTING WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY: International star Beyoncé, the United Nations and humanitarian aid organizations are launching a global campaign today to shine a spotlight on humanitarian work, in advance of World Humanitarian Day, which falls on 19 August. The World Humanitarian Day music video for Beyoncé’s song “I Was Here” will be filmed in the General Assembly Hall in New York in front of a live audience.
U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF URGES INVESTIGATION INTO SITUATION IN MYANMAR’S RAKHINE STATE: Asked about the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the Spokesperson noted the call by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, for a prompt investigation, as well as for full humanitarian access. He noted that the special rapporteur dealing with Myanmar was visiting the state.