HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 6 AUGUST 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES OIL DEAL BETWEEN SUDAN, SOUTH SUDAN
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the deal reached by the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan on oil and financial arrangements. It is an important milestone for building good neighbourly relations between the two states.
- The Secretary-General is encouraged that the two Governments have significantly narrowed their positions on contentious issues. He regrets, however, that they have not met the 2 August deadline set by the United Nations Security Council in endorsing the African Peace and Security Council Road Map. He urges the Sudanese and South Sudanese leaders to muster the necessary political will to resolve all outstanding issues.
- The Secretary-General commends the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/North for signing, separately, Tripartite Memoranda of Understanding with the African Union, League of Arab States and the United Nations on humanitarian assistance to war-affected civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. He urges the Government of Sudan to expeditiously enable the delivery of aid to the populations concerned.
- The Secretary-General commends the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, led by former President Thabo Mbeki, and his Special Envoy for their efforts in helping the parties make progress.
HEAD OF U.N. MISSION VOICES CONCERN OVER CONTINUED VIOLENCE IN SYRIA
- Lieut. Gen. Babacar Gaye, the interim head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), said on Monday that he was extremely concerned about the continued violence in Syria, and, in particular, the significant deterioration in Aleppo and its impact on the civilian population.
- He urged the Parties to protect civilians and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. Civilians must not be subjected to shelling and use of heavy weapons.
- General Gaye called on all Parties to take all necessary steps to open a dialogue as the only way to alleviate the suffering of civilians and bring this conflict to an end.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General was moving ahead in the search for a successor to the Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan. Wide consultations would precede any such high-profile appointment, he added.
- Asked about reported al-Qaeda involvement in Syria, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General does not believe that the further militarisation of the conflict in Syria is helpful.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO REPUBLIC OF KOREA, TIMOR-LESTE
- The Secretary-General will be leaving New York on Friday for a visit to the Republic of Korea and Timor-Leste.
- In the Republic of Korea, the Secretary-General will visit the southern city of Yeosu to take part in the closing ceremony for the 2012 Expo. The Secretary-General will speak at an international conference there on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea during which he will launch the UN Oceans Compact.
- In Seoul, the Secretary-General will hold talks with a number of officials and he will also visit two universities to highlight women's empowerment and global health.
- In Timor-Leste, the Secretary-General will hold talks with the President and Prime Minister and deliver a speech in Parliament. He is also expected to visit the country's police academy.
- Also while in Timor-Leste, the Secretary-General will meet with key education actors, visit a school and give a lecture at the University of Dili on the role of education in nation building. This will be in advance of the launch of Education First initiative on 26 September, his new global effort to promote universal access to quality, relevant and inclusive education. He will be accompanied by the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ms. Irina Bokova, and his Special Envoy on Global Education, Mr. Gordon Brown.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on 17 August.
U.N. HOPEFUL THAT BANGLADESH WILL CONTINUE AIDING MUSLIM REFUGEES FROM MYANMAR
- Asked about a dispute concerning Rohingya refugees who had tried to leave Myanmar for Bangladesh, the Spokesperson noted that, over the past years, the Government of Bangladesh has discharged its international obligations by providing and facilitating humanitarian support and assistance to the refugees that have entered its territory.
- Given its traditional hospitality for the people fleeing violence and unrest, and notwithstanding the challenges posed by the present situation in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State, the Spokesperson said, the United Nations hopes that the Government of Bangladesh continues to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to Muslim refugees from northern Rakhine State.
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF KICKS OFF VISIT TO D.R. CONGO, RWANDA
- Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, began her three-day mission today to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
- After meetings in Kinshasa she is due to travel to the east of the country tomorrow, where she will see for herself the humanitarian impact on hundreds of thousands of people recently displaced by intense fighting in the Kivu provinces.
- She is scheduled to give a press conference in Goma on Wednesday.
SUDAN: WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME STAFFER KILLED IN ATTACK
- The World Food Programme (WFP) has confirmed the death of one its drivers in a attack in the state of South Kordofan, in Sudan.
- WFP’s driver, Jamal Al Fadil Farag Allah, was killed in an armed attack on 4 August near Hilat Yatu, some 80 kilometres north of Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan state.
- WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said that it is unacceptable for humanitarian workers to face attacks while they are working on the frontlines of hunger in countries like Sudan.
- The Secretary-General is saddened to hear this news and he shares the views of the Executive Director.
U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY EXPRESSES REGRET OVER ISRAEL’S DECISION ON ACCESS TO WEST BANK
- Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has said he regrets the decision on Sunday by the Government of Israel to bar the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, Cuba, Indonesia and Malaysia from access to the West Bank.
- The foreign ministers had intended to attend the extraordinary meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Committee on Palestine yesterday in Ramallah.
- Serry said that the denial of access was yet another step that contradicts the credibility of the Oslo arrangements.
- Mr. Serry called upon the Government of Israel to reconsider its decision.
IRAQ: U.N. OFFICIAL CONCERNED OVER DELAY IN SELECTION OF BOARD MEMBERS OF ELECTION BODY
- Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, has expressed concern over the delay in selecting the new Board of Commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC).
- He said that any further postponement in appointing the new Commissioners would pose a serious threat to the democratic process in Iraq, and he called for the selection process to be completed. Mr. Kobler also repeated his call for the parties to ensure that women are represented in the new Board of Commissioners.
TOP U.N. SECURITY OFFICIAL STEPS DOWN
- The Secretary-General announced on Monday that the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, Gregory B. Starr, has conveyed his intention to leave the position of Under-Secretary-General towards the end of 2012 due to personal and family reasons. The Secretary-General has accepted Mr. Starr’s decision with regret, and will initiate the process of selection to identify a suitable successor.
- The Secretary-General is deeply grateful to Mr. Starr for the dedicated services he has rendered to the Organization and for so ably leading, during nearly four years, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security at a critical and challenging juncture within heightened serious security risks facing the Organization world wide. The Secretary-General is particularly appreciative of the great leadership and exemplary commitment displayed by Mr. Starr in the implementation of his mandate.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DISTRESSED ABOUT ATTACK ON SIKH TEMPLE IN U.S.: Asked about an attack over the weekend on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General was deeply distressed by the news of the attack. Any such attack is to be condemned, Nesirky said.
MONEY STOLEN FROM SUDANESE BANK NOT PROPERTY OF U.N.-AFRICAN UNION MISSION: Asked about a robbery in Darfur, the Spokesperson said that the robbery was of money belonging to a Khartoum bank, in which an undisclosed amount of money was taken. The money did not belong to the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).