HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PRESS BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL
TUESDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2013
SECURITY COUNCIL SCHEDULES CONSULTATIONS ON SYRIA
- The Security Council has scheduled consultations at 4:00 pm on Tuesday on Syria.
- Asked about the effort to secure chemical weapons in Syria, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has consistently called for Syria to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention and to fully abide its responsibility to maintain the physical security of any chemical weapon stockpiles in its possession.
- Regarding discussions on the matter, Nesirky said the situation was evolving and officials at the United Nations were in touch with key Member States.
- He noted that the Secretary-General remarked on Monday that he was considering a proposal to get the Syrians to get their chemical weapons stocks and precursor stocks to a safe location where they might be destroyed.
- The Secretary-General, he said, clearly welcomed the remarks made on Monday by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
- Asked about Lakhdar Brahimi’s reaction to the recent developments on Syria, the Spokesperson said he was following developments.
- He noted that the Secretary-General had emphasized on Monday the need to hold an international conference to more forward with the political process.
- Asked about a potential Security Council resolution, the Spokesperson declined to speculate on Council discussions but reiterated the Secretary-General’s emphasis on the need for a political solution.
- The Spokesperson declined to say when the chemical weapons team would complete its work but added that their work was in progress. He said the team was working in accordance with its mandate.
MORE THAN 100 SYRIAN REFUGEES DUE TO LEAVE LEBANON FOR GERMANY, U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS
- On Wednesday, 107 highly vulnerable Syrian refugees are due to leave Lebanon under a temporary Humanitarian Admissions Programme that was announced by Germany in March of this year. The group is headed for Hannover, and is the first to be assisted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in this process.
- Germany's Humanitarian Assistance Programme provides for up to 5,000 places for Syrian refugees, and it is the biggest relocation programme currently in existence for the Syria crisis. UN Refugee Agency teams in the Syria region are preparing additional referrals for this programme.
SITUATION IN LIBERIA REMAINS FRAGILE, U.N. ENVOY SAYS TO SECURITY COUNCIL
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Liberia, Karin Landgren, briefed the Security Council on Tuesday morning on the situation in the country, which is celebrating ten years of uninterrupted peace.
- In her remarks, Ms. Landgren said that Liberia should be proud of its achievements. She said that those achievements remain fragile however, with a sense of a unified nationhood still a work in progress, and small-scale outbreaks of violence still routine.
- The Special Representative said that the United Nations stands with the Government, its partners, civil society and others in their shared dedication to prevent any return to the ways of the past.
PRODUCTION OF CANNABIS ROSE IN AFGHANISTAN LAST YEAR, U.N. OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME SAYS
- A joint report prepared by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter-Narcotic says that the overall production of cannabis in Afghanistan rose by eight percent last year, compared with 2011. At the same time, though, there was a 17 percent decline in the total land area used for commercial cannabis cultivation in 2012.
- The report says that the main reason for the increase in production was better cannabis yields compared with the previous year.
AID DELIVERED IN MYANMAR CAMP, U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICE SAYS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday that the first aid convoy since December 2011 to the town of Laiza in Myanmar’s Kachin state had succeeded in delivering humanitarian aid to displaced communities in the Woi Chyai camp.
- More than 4,000 people have received food, medicine and other aid from UN agencies and partner organizations. These supplies are supplementing the assistance delivered regularly by local organizations.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that there are 53,000 people in need in areas such as this which are not controlled by the Government. The UN and its humanitarian partners in Myanmar said that it is essential that Tuesday’s convoy be the first of many to assist the displaced.
U.N. ENVOY FOR YEMEN PRAISES CONSTRUCTIVE SPIRIT OF NATIONAL DIALOGUE CONFERENCE
- Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen, took part in the National Dialogue Conference in the capital, Sana’a, on Tuesday.
- Mr. Benomar praised the positive and constructive spirit and stressed that the goal is to reach a consensus on the Southern question to secure progress in the National Dialogue Conference and the political process.
- An agreement for the return of Hirak was announced on 8 September, provided that the UN would help facilitate and support the Southern Working Group, and ensure that the demands of people in the South are being addressed, including the launch of a Trust Fund to compensate those unfairly dismissed from the civil and military services and for land confiscation.
- Mr. Benomar congratulated Hirak over their decision to return to the dialogue, stating that they “demonstrated high responsibility, political awareness and courage to overcome obstacles and continue to invest in this historical opportunity.”
U.N. MISSION IN DARFUR RECOVERS REMAINS OF SECOND OF FOUR PEACEKEEPERS REPORTED MISSING FOLLOWING FLOODS
- The joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reports that on Monday it recovered the remains of the second of four peacekeepers who where reported missing following floods late in August.
- On 25 August, six peacekeepers were swept away by powerful currents while escorting World Food Programme (WFP) trucks. A rescue team found two peacekeepers alive.
- The mission said that the search for the remaining two peacekeepers continues.
PARTIES TO CONFLICT MUST DO MORE TO MINIMIZE KILLING AND MAIMING OF CHILDREN, U.N. SENIOR OFFICIAL SAYS
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, said on Tuesday that parties to conflict must do more and can do more to minimize killing and maiming of children in the conduct of military operations.
- In her remarks to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Zerrougui also said that international treaties banning cluster munitions and chemical weapons must be respected.
- The Special Representative also said that of the eight Government security forces currently listed for recruitment and use of children in the Annex of the Secretary-General’s Annual report on Children and Armed Conflict, seven have now adopted Action Plans and there is an active dialogue with the Government of Sudan.