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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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 28 MAY 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WRAPS UP VISIT TO BELGIUM

  • The Secretary-General is now on his way back to New York after wrapping up his visit to Brussels, Belgium, earlier today.
  • After meeting with the Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, the Secretary-General spoke to the press thanking the Belgian Government for their contributions to the UN, including its support for efforts to promote peace in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • He then met with the European Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and they discussed the plight of migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean and how to address this problem in a comprehensive way.
  • The Secretary-General received an honorary degree from the Catholic University of Leuven. He said that this year’s 70th anniversary of the UN is a good moment to reflect on the past, but even more importantly, a time to have a conversation about what we can do to build a better future.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS TO PRESIDENT OF YEMEN, REITERATES BELIEF THAT THERE IS NO MILITARY SOLUTION

  • The Secretary-General spoke by phone yesterday with President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi of Yemen and expressed his concern about the escalation of fighting on the ground and air strikes since the end of the humanitarian pause. The Secretary-General reiterated his firm belief that there is no military solution to the conflict.
  • The Secretary-General recalled that he had asked his Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to redouble his efforts to consult with the Yemeni Government, Yemen’s political groupings and countries in the region with the aim of convening the Yemeni consultations in Geneva at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • He appreciated President Hadi's reaffirmation of his commitment to UN-brokered negotiations and full support for, and participation of his Government in, the Geneva consultations. The Secretary-General hopes that the consultations could resume as soon as possible.
  • The Special Envoy will be heading to Sana'a by the end of this week for consultations with the parties on the ground. After that, he intends to travel to Riyadh to meet with President Hadi and other key officials.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO BRIEF ON SYRIA

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, will brief the Security Council during consultations later today on the humanitarian situation in Syria. The briefing is expected to be her last scheduled briefing to the Security Council as Emergency Relief Coordinator.
  • Earlier today, the Security Council held consultations on the work of the sanctions committee dealing with resolution 1718, which concerns the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the work of its Sudan sanctions committee.
  • The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, continued meetings within the framework of the Geneva Consultations today.
  • The Special Envoy met with Dr. Aref Dalila, who shared his views on the situation in Syria and the evolution of the ongoing conflict. They also discussed ways to support Syrian sides in launching a political process.
  • Mr. de Mistura also met with a delegation of elected Security Council members from Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain and Venezuela. They discussed the ongoing political efforts and possible role of the UN.
  • At the end of today’s meetings, the Special Envoy pointed out that the absence of a political solution is complicating the conflict in Syria. He stressed that what is critically needed now is action on the basis of a convergence among all actors, before it is too late.

OVER 85,000 IRAQIS DISPLACED SINCE MID-MAY

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that, since 15 May, more than 85,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled Ramadi District.
  • More than 180,000 families have been displaced from Ramadi District since 8 April. Conditions in locations where IDPs are concentrated are cause for concern.
  • At an IDP site in Abu Ghraib District in the Baghdad Governorate, sanitation facilities are inadequate and a high incidence of diarrhoea is affecting children under five years, according to a humanitarian assessment conducted earlier this week.
  • The UN and its partners continue to provide shelter, water and sanitation, and food assistance in all areas where displaced people are concentrating.

DEPUTY SECERTARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED FOR PARTNERSHIPS TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CONCERNS

  • The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, spoke at the annual Economic and Social Council Partnership Forum on the post-2015 development agenda today.
  • Speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, Mr. Eliasson stressed that no single entity, nation or organization, can solve global problems alone. He said that the world needs a new model for problem solving today – one that puts problems at the centre and mobilizes all actors to achieve effective change.
  • Mr. Eliasson urged the international community to establish inclusive partnerships at all levels - local, national, regional and global – in order to achieve ambitious agendas, including on climate change and sustainable development.
  • The partnerships will only work if they are transparent, inclusive and accountable and in line with the values and principles of the UN, he added.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF UNDERLINES NEED FOR STEPS TO PREVENT VIOLENCE IN BURUNDI

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman met with the chargé d'affaires of the Prime Minister of Burundi today and underlined that the government must take concrete steps to prevent and investigate political violence and killings, as well as violence targeting journalists and other civil society representatives.
  • Mr. Feltman added that there must be security of the electoral process; security for political and civil society actors; disarmament of armed civilians; strengthening of the national independent electoral commission (CENI); and provisions for the vote of refugees. He also stressed that respect for the Arusha Agreement is key.
  • Mr. Feltman stressed that the risk of escalation of violence remains and recalled that the Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, arrived in Bujumbura today.
  • In the country, the consultative political dialogue resumed today, under the facilitation of Said Djinnit, the UN Envoy, with all parties being represented. 
  • In a phone call yesterday to the President of Tanzania, President Kikwete, the Secretary-General expressed hope that this dialogue will be resumed soon and said it was vital that Burundian stakeholders take concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and create an enabling environment for credible legislative elections to take place.

U.N. CONVOY HITS LANDMINE IN MALI

  • A convoy of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) hit a mine on the road between Teherdge and Timbuktu. Three peacekeepers were injured according to the Mission.
  • The Mission strongly condemned this terrorist act and stresses that mines affect UN personnel and civilians without distinction.

SOUTH SUDAN: PEACEKEEPER INJURED IN MALAKAL

  • The Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) reported new firing outside of its compound in Malakal, injuring one peacekeeper.
  • The Mission is deeply concerned that despite reassurances given by both parties, such an incident occurred this afternoon and reiterates its strong call upon all the parties to respect the sanctity of UN installations and staff.

CONFLICT AND DISPLACEMENT ESCALATE IN SAHEL, WARNS HUMANITARIAN ENVOY

  • The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Robert Piper, gave a press conference today in Geneva, saying that conflict and displacement have escalated dramatically in the Sahel in the past year.
  • In a little over 12 months, the number of people displaced by conflict - both internal and fleeing across international borders - rose from 1.5 million to 3.6 million people.

U.N. ENVOY FOR CYPRUS WELCOMES NEW STEPS FOR UNIFICATION

  • In a statement delivered today, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, welcomed the next latest steps taken by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders towards fulfilling their joint vision for a united federal Cyprus.
  • Mr. Eide said that both leaders have underlined again their shared will and determination to reach a comprehensive settlement.
  • They have agreed to five concrete steps moving forward, including to work towards opening more crossing points. They have also agreed to make a strong joint appeal on the crucial humanitarian issue of missing persons.  
  • Mr. Eide’s statement comes after two weeks of meetings between negotiating teams from both sides. The outcome of their negotiations was then presented to the leaders, and more meetings are expected in June and July.  

U.N. FOOD AGENCY FORMS PARTNERSHIP TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE

  • A new partnership was signed today in Budapest between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Union of Wholesale Markets aiming at developing best practices for reducing food waste.
  • Roughly one third of the food produced globally for human consumption – that is approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, metric billion tonnes, every year — is lost or wasted, mostly in cities.
  • The new collaboration aims not only to cut down on food losses and waste but also to enhance producers' access to markets, improve food handling, and make fresher, safer produce equally available to city consumers.

 

***The guest at the noon briefing was Jean-Paul Laborde, the Executive Director of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).