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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 MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON

FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 

FRIDAY, 3 AUGUST 2012

 

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS CONFLICT IN SYRIA IS A TEST OF EVERYTHING THAT THE U.N. STANDS FOR
 

  • The Secretary-General spoke at the General Assembly’s meeting on Syria on Friday, saying that the conflict in Syria is a test of everything that the United Nations stands for. He said that, despite repeated verbal acceptances of the Six-Point Plan endorsed by the UN Security Council, both the Government and the opposition continue to rely on weapons, not diplomacy, in the belief that they will win through violence.
  • He said that all of us have a responsibility to the people of Syria. We must use all of the peaceful means in the UN Charter to help them unite around a Syrian-led transition process that is based on dialogue and compromise, not bullets and arrests.
  • The Secretary-General once more expressed his regret over the divisions that have paralyzed action in the Security Council, adding that the immediate interests of the Syrian people must be paramount over any larger rivalries of influence.
  • He said that a successor is being sought to replace Kofi Annan as Joint Special Envoy for Syria, but he said that mediation can only succeed where there is a commitment to solving conflict through dialogue and real leverage to back it up.
  • Asked whether Kofi Annan will return to New York during the remainder of his term as Joint Special Envoy, the Spokesperson said he was not aware of any requirement for him to appear in New York over the coming weeks.
  • Asked whether the Secretary-General believes that the UN Mission should continue to do its work in Syria, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General today praised the commitment and courage of all those in the UN family who are working in Syria. The Secretary-General said, “I shudder to think how much worse the situation would be if the UN were absent, and I urge Member States to continue to provide support and the mandate for our work.” 
  • The General Assembly later adopted a resolution on Syria by a vote of 133 in favour to 12 against, with 31 abstentions.

 

MORE AND MORE PEOPLE IN SYRIA FORCED TO ABANDON THEIR HOMES, SAYS U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY

 

  • The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said on Friday that more and more people in Syria are being forced to abandon their homes to seek safety. As many as many as 1.5 million remain in Syria, uprooted and taking refuge with host families or in makeshift shelters.
  • UNHCR has delivered basic materials with the help of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to enable families to set up makeshift homes.
  • The majority of displaced people approaching the Refugee Agency report fear, physical harm, the need to relocate due to lack of safety, robbery and direct threats. Many are hiding in schools, which are not equipped to host a large number of people.
  • Hundreds of people continue to cross international borders to find safety, security and aid. In Turkey, the numbers crossing range from 400 to 600 a day, most from Aleppo and the surrounding villages.
  • In Jordan, the increase in numbers crossing in recent weeks has led to 9,500 new people registered in July alone.
  • In Lebanon, there is no refugee camp, and people are living with host communities, and the majority there are women and children.


UNDER-SECRETARY GENERAL AMOS TO TRAVEL TO D.R. CONGO AND RWANDA

 

  • Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is scheduled to travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Rwanda from 6 to 9 August
  • During her visit, she intends to draw attention to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the DRC and the effect on the region. She is expected to discuss ways of strengthening relief efforts and mobilizing additional assistance, including financial support, with the Congolese and Rwandan authorities and other humanitarian partners.
  • Fighting in North Kivu has led to the displacement of more than a quarter of a million people in recent weeks, including tens of thousands across the borders into Rwanda and Uganda. Since 2009, armed conflict in the eastern Congo has internally displaced some 2.2 million people.
  • Ms. Amos is scheduled to travel to North Kivu to see first-hand the humanitarian impact of the conflict and the relief efforts, and on 9 August, she is expected to travel to Rwanda, where she plans to visit a camp hosting Congolese refugees.

 

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

U.N. SAYS IT’S UP TO IRAN TO DEMONSTRATE THAT ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAMME IS FOR PEACEFUL PURPOSES: Asked about Israel’s statements concerning Iran’s nuclear programme, the Spokesperson noted that it was up to the Iranian authorities to demonstrate that their programme is for purely peaceful purposes. At the same time, the Secretary-General has made clear that the issue must be resolved through purely diplomatic means and dialogue. The Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has been involved in diplomacy concerning this issue for some time, both in public and in private.

 

WATER IN THE SECRETARIAT BUILDING IS BEING TESTED: Asked about problems with the drinking water at Headquarters, the Spokesperson said that on Tuesday, 31 July, staff in the main Secretariat Building was advised to temporarily refrain from drinking water from the taps. The floors occupied by staff were supplied with water coolers. The water from a pipe feeding the Secretariat Building was stagnant and cloudy. The water from the affected pipe is being flushed out and the water in the Secretariat Building is being tested. Nesirky said that the test results show that the water in the building meets the standards for drinking water. There will be additional tests next week, after which the Capital Master Plan team will confirm to staff that water from the faucets in the Secretariat Building can be enjoyed again. The test results will be shared with staff and posted on the internal website. Asked about the elevators in the renovated UN Headquarters, the Spokesperson said that there have been a few minor programming problems with some of the elevators, which have been fixed.

 

 

 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
4 – 10 AUGUST 2012

(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)


 

Saturday, 4 August
 

There are no major events scheduled for today

 

Sunday 5 August
 

There are no major events scheduled for today


Monday, 6 August

 

There are no major events scheduled for today

 

Tuesday, 7 August

 

Today, in the morning, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA). In the afternoon, the Council will hear a briefing by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) in a closed door session.


Wednesday, 8 August

 

Today, in the morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing on Peace and Security in Africa, followed by closed consultations on the situation in Mali.

 

Thursday, 9 August
 

Today is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.

 

This morning, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on Sudan/South Sudan and on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). In the afternoon, troop-contributing countries will meet on the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).

 

At 2.30 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples co-organized by the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Department of Public Information and the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.


Friday, 10 August

 

There are no major events scheduled for today