HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PRESS BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2013
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SYRIA MEETS U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE IN GENEVA
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted that Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, had met in Geneva on Thursday with US Secretary of State John Kerry and was expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday. This was part of his continuing diplomatic efforts, including his work to arrange an International Conference on Syria.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s views on Russia’s efforts, Haq said that the Secretary-General welcomes the efforts by the Russian Federation to advance a possible agreement. The Secretary-General hopes the US-Russian meetings this week will be productive in moving toward a process for addressing the Syrian chemical weapons threat to which all parties will be committed.
- In response to questions about the work of the chemical weapons team, Haq said that there was no timeline for when the team’s work would be completed and presented to the Secretary-General. He said that the Secretary-General has not received the report.
- Asked about efforts to expedite the team’s work, he noted that it was using four laboratories, rather than two, for the analysis of its samples, which should help to speed up the process while maintaining the necessary scientific standards.
- Asked about documents sent by the Syrian Government, the Spokesperson confirmed that the United Nations had received a letter from Syria that was being translated and studied, concerning accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention. He added that the letter would be circulated as a document in due course.
SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS FROM U.N. ENVOY FOR GREAT LAKES REGION BRIEFS, EXPRESSES CONCERN AT SECURITY SITUATION
- The Security Council held consultations on Thursday morning on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They received briefings by videoconference from Mary Robinson, the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and Martin Kobler, the head of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- In a press statement read by the Council President afterward, Council members reiterated their concern on the fragile security situation on the ground.
- Then, at 3:00 on Thursday afternoon, Council members will hold a formal meeting followed by consultations on Somalia, to receive an update on the situation there from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay.
- Mr. Kay will be available to speak to reporters at the Council stakeout following Thursday afternoon's meeting.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO VISIT IRAN
- UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos will visit Iran, starting Friday, in a visit lasting until 16 September. The mission is Ms. Amos’ first official visit to the country in her capacity as UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
- Ms. Amos is expected to meet senior officials in Tehran. She will focus on expanding regional cooperation on humanitarian assistance and enhancing the partnership between Iran and the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
YEMEN: U.N. RELIEF AND FOOD PROGRAMME CHIEFS CALL FOR INCREASED SUPPORT FOR HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS
- Also, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, and the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, wrapped up a four-day visit to Yemen by calling for increased support, especially from the Gulf region, for humanitarian relief efforts in the country.
- Speaking at the end of their joint visit, they acknowledged the positive political developments in the country but noted that the humanitarian situation in Yemen remains critical.
- Ms. Amos said that Yemen is a country wracked by chronic poverty and underdevelopment, and millions of Yemenis are struggling to cope. People need food, water, education and health care, and we urgently need more funding to help those in need.
IRAQ: LAST GROUP OF CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS RELOCATED, SAYS U.N. MISSION
- The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has announced that the last group of Camp Ashraf residents has successfully relocated to Camp Hurriya, pending their resettlement outside Iraq.
- The Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, Gyorgy Busztin, said that the tragic events of 1 September, when 52 residents lost their lives in a terrorist attack, with seven others still unaccounted for, was a somber reminder of the necessity to conclude the final phase of the relocation process without further delay.
- He added that resettlement outside Iraq is now the priority, and it is urgent that countries ready to host the residents come forward to accept them, providing them a safe future outside Iraq.
U.N. COORDINATOR CONDEMNS KILLING OF TWO AID WORKERS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic, Kaarina Immonen, has condemned the killing of two aid workers in Bossangoa, 300 km north of the capital Bangui over the weekend.
- In a press release, Ms. Immonen expressed her deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victims, and to all humanitarian colleagues who tirelessly provide assistance and protection to people in need in the Central African Republic. She urged the authorities and all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians and the respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as of humanitarian personnel and assets.
** The guest at today’s Noon Briefing was Mr. Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. He briefed journalists on a range of peacekeeping activities.