31 January 2007


31 January 2007
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


And the spokesperson for the General Assembly president


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, Ashraf Kamal.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Good afternoon.

**Secretary-General Travels

The Secretary-General is flying from Nairobi to Amsterdam on his way to The Hague, the last leg of his first visit in office to Africa and Europe.

The Secretary-General met this morning with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki. They discussed the partnership between the United Nations and Kenya, Sudan, the Great Lakes region and the situation faced by Somali refugees.

After that, he went to UN headquarters in Nairobi and addressed a closed meeting of the Staff Management Consultative Committee, which brings together representatives of about 38,000 staff from all duty stations. He also spoke to a packed Town Hall meeting with hundreds of UN staff in Nairobi.

The Secretary-General is expected to arrive late tonight and will begin his programme in The Hague on Thursday morning. While there, he will visit the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and he’ll also meet with the Dutch Prime Minister.

**Security Council

Right now, the Security Council is holding an open debate on post-conflict peacebuilding. Among the forty speakers is Carolyn McAskie, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.

In remarks made earlier this morning, McAskie said that, in the long run, peacebuilding must not be another layer of work for Governments or the UN or donors on the ground.  Instead, it should help ensure that we can most effectively respond to the immediate needs of a post-conflict society and keep the peace process on a sustainable track.

We have her full remarks upstairs.

In related news, today is the last day of the Russian Federation’s Presidency of the Security Council. Tomorrow, Slovakia will assume that role.

**Security Council Sanctions Committees

Out as documents today are two letters from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council, re-appointing experts to the Monitoring Team dealing with the sanctions on al-Qaeda and the Taliban and to the Experts Panel dealing with Liberia sanctions.

** Iraq

Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, called on Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, to discuss recent developments in Iraq and the role of neighbouring countries in supporting efforts to reduce violence and promote stability. His meeting was part of a regional tour to hear the views of governments in the region.

Qazi expressed the need for greater regional cooperation in supporting the Iraqi Government’s reconciliation initiatives.

**Irwin Arieff

Today is the street fair day outside the building, and, as we have done on so many Wednesdays, we at the Spokesperson’s Office enjoyed a gift of apples brought to us by Irwin Arieff. But it’s a little sad to eat these particular apples, because Irwin is moving on, and will end his six years covering the United Nations for Reuters at the end of this week.

Irwin says he’ll take a bit of time off, and then find ways to save the world, and we can hardly wait; the world needs saving. But until we read about your exploits, Irwin, know that we will miss your wit, your inquisitiveness, your kindness – oh, and your apples, too.

**Press Conference

At 1 p.m. Mr. Christian Wenaweser, Chairman of the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, will brief on the definition of the crime of aggression and on the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction with regard to that crime. The briefing is been sponsored by the Mission of Liechtenstein to the UN.

I will take your questions and I will invite Ashraf Kamal, the Spokesperson for the President of the Assembly, to come to the podium.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  There was an announcement out of the African Union Summit yesterday that Abdullahi Yusuf, Somalia’s interim President, is going to sponsor a national reconciliation conference with the clans in Somalia. I know the EU is taking an active step in this conference – but is the UN going to be invited or is it going to be participating, especially since they were part of the interim government installation…?

Spokesperson:  I assume the Special Representative of the Secretary-General will be there, Mr. Francois Lonseny Fall, but I don’t have any other indication on who will be there and who will participate but I’ll ask more about it for you.  [She later said the United Nations Political office for Somalia was expected to participate, but the United Nations is looking for further details.]

Question:  Is the Secretary-General and his staff preparing a more comprehensive report or more detailed proposal to be distributed to the Fifth Committee and the ACABQ, because it seems that a lot of the member States prefer that it happen, it go through those channels first before…

Spokesperson:  Well, there is going to be a consultation with the general membership on Monday, when the Secretary-General returns from his trip.  And those consultations will determine what the next step will be.  And the Secretary-General is going there to listen to what member States have to say.  And he might modify his proposals if he gets interesting feedback, which I’m sure he will, from the member States. 

Question:  But at the moment…document (inaudible)?

Spokesperson:  Not yet.

Question:  Just in terms of sequencing, is he going to make any more appointments before restructuring or does the restructuring have to come first before the appointments?

Spokesperson:  The restructuring will come first, before the appointments.

Question:  It came yesterday, the UNEP Director pressuring Mr. Ban to hold a world summit on climate change. Is there any update as to what his thoughts are on that or what might have come out of meetings yesterday in Nairobi? 

Spokesperson:  I don’t think anything concrete came out in terms of the support of that conference. Mr. de Boer suggested that summit takes place but there has been no reaction on that formal request of a summit for September, which was the date that Mr. de Boer suggested. We don’t have a definite… he had said September, but the Secretary-General has not given his opinion on this. He met with Mr. de Boer, spoke with him, when he was here in Headquarters, but they did not discuss, specifically, a conference.

Question:  What’s the possibility the UNEP Director was also discussing this with Ban yesterday in Nairobi?

Spokesperson:  Yes. And as you know there is a climate change conference taking place in Paris at the end of the week. So, all these are being discussed. Climate change is being discussed and we expect there will be steps taken forward on that agenda, but I cannot confirm at all that there will be a conference or a summit as was said.

Question:  Does the Secretary-General have any sense of the pros and cons of pursuing this idea of a summit? Just looking for a little bit of thinking…does he have any actual thinking on this himself?

Spokesperson:  Well, he has been thinking a lot about it. About the issue, about the specific conference, I don’t think so.  The suggestion came and has not been examined yet.

Question:  As you know, tensions between the United States and Iran have clearly heightened.  Does the Secretary-General have any plans to try and ease those tensions?  And does he also have any plans to visit some hotspots like Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran?

Spokesperson:  Well, he’s definitely been stressing regional approach to most of these issues. The Iranian issue, he has been talking about a regional approach and trying to consult member States in the region.  But…

Question:  He’s not in contact with the leadership on the two countries – United States and Iran?

Spokesperson:  Yes, he is in contact with the leadership of both, yes.

Question:  Today, Shimon Peres in Qatar said that the use of cluster bombs in south Lebanon was conducted by the army alone, without the knowledge of the Government. Knowing that Israel has a lot of weapons of mass destruction, if the army can use the weapons unilaterally, without going back to the Government, isn’t that a threat to the peace in the area and will that be put to the Israeli Government by the United Nations or any interference in order to prevent such incidents from happening in future wars, because they nuclear weapons. And if the army has this free hand to use weapons wantonly.

Spokesperson:  We are talking about an issue of peace and security that is as you know, that the Security Council will examine. It is not … the Secretary-General is not going to give an opinion on that.

Question:  It now appears as if the consultations on restructuring will take some time, especially if the Sectary-General presents a written plan and Governments may want to refer to their Foreign Ministry for instructions.  What in this case would happen to the case of senior officials whose contracts expire or are about to expire?

Spokesperson:  Well most of the contracts will expire in February, as you know.  The Secretary-General will take decisions as the consultations develop.  As you know, the consultations did not start with that meeting that will take place on Monday.  Consultations have been taking place since the Secretary-General started, which means 2 January, he has been consulting member States about the issue of restructuring.  So it’s not a new thing. Some exchanges have already taken place on this issue and there has been some give and take on both sides on the issue.

Question:  Did some contracts of senior officials expire at this stage?

Spokesperson:  Not that I know of. But as you know, the Secretary-General asked that ASG’s submit their resignations, which a number of them have done. What will be…they will stay on until they are replaced.

Question:  Have some not tendered their resignations?

Spokesperson:  Some of the people in the field have not, yes.

Question:  Who were asked by the Secretary-General to do so? Have not?

Spokesperson:  Everyone was asked, but they might not have yet done it even though the deadline is passed. But, so far, as far as I know, we have about [53 offers of resignation from Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General].

Question:  You said earlier there were about 60 I think?

Spokesperson:  [55.]

Question:  Can we get the names of the people who haven’t submitted their resignation?

Spokesperson:  No I don’t think you can. We cannot give the names. I mean they submit their resignations, but the Secretary-General is not going to give the list of the people who actually resigned and those who did not resign.

Question:  Those contracts were expiring anyway, why did he bother making this an issue of having some people submit their resignations.  He could choose to let those contracts expire and not rehire them, which he’s probably going to do…  Why did he feel it necessary to make it a public issue of them submitting resignations?

Spokesperson:  Because he felt that there needed to be some changes and he wanted all of them to be part of that change by voluntarily offering their own resignations.

Question:  Rather than quietly doing it when the contracts expired?

Spokesperson:  Yes.

Question:  Thank you. Do you know if Mr. Roed-Larsen will stay?  (inaudible) Mr. Roed-Larsen?

Spokesperson:  Well, actually, if you are talking about the Special Envoy to the Middle East, it’s not Mr. Roed-Larsen, as you know, its Alvaro de Soto.

Question:  1559?

Spokesperson:  OK, I’ll check on that one for you. That I don’t know, but I do know that Alvaro de Soto is the person who has replaced him.  [She later said that Mr. Roed-Larsen was not among the officials asked to resign.]

Question:  One AU question and one audit question. The AU apparently has endorsed the Ivory Coast President Gbagbo and his direct negotiation with the rebels.  The question is whether there’s a whole UN process that was set up including the Prime Minister Banny - he seems to have no role in it.  Has the Secretary-General – does he fully embrace the direct negotiations? Or does he feel they comply with resolution 1721? Or has he or his envoys had any statement about this new development?

Spokesperson:  There has been no statement yet but there has been, we have had exchanges all throughout the African trip, starting with different people, different parties in the Ivory Coast situation.  I can give you details of who he meet a little later, if you want to.

Question:  On this audit question, Ban Ki-moon had said they would focus on hard currency and independence of hiring.  The Food and Agricultural Organisation has now given Inner City Press a written response that says their staff is provided by the DPRK government and is paid in hard currency – and it’s paid through UNDP, in figures that UNDP didn’t actually include in the presentation they made here. I’m wondering, even though it’s a specialized agency, since the issues are identical with UNDP, if FAO, for example, will be included in this first round of audits, specifically North Korea, or whether it’s put off for some later date through the Chief Executive Board and how that process would work.

Spokesperson:  I don’t know yet how the process would work in terms of calendar. I know that the process has been, is supposed to encompass a number of hard currency situations and a number of agencies. I don’t have the exact schedule yet and I think I will refer you to the Board of Auditors on this. 

Question:  Because, maybe we can get them here. I don’t know, how would you suggest we get an answer from the Board of Auditors?  Mr. Sach, when he was here, said the same thing. He couldn’t answer, go ask them. But I’m not sure how were supposed to ask them…

Spokesperson:  OK, we can give you some phone numbers, people you can reach, to have answers to your questions.

Question:  On the financial disclosure, you said that you would be able to tell us Ban Ki-moon’s approximate net worth.  And also, what is the procedure for any other UN officials who choose to follow his example and post their financial holdings?

Spokesperson:  I don’t think the procedure has been devised yet. He has started the process by, as you know, putting it on the web. I don’t know whether any other person will follow suit but you’ll find out soon enough about it.  And as you know, the Secretary-General’s disclosure form provides information on his assets of over $10,000 which includes an apartment and two land lots.  In addition, the Secretary-General had declared holding two bank accounts valued in the range of $50,000-$100,000.  And his wife holds a bank account in the range of $10,000-$50,000. 

Question:  What’s the bottom-line?

Spokesperson:  I don’t know, how do you add, well we can try to add them up for you. But I think you can do the math? Actually you have the whole list is on the internet and you can go and do your own addition and whatever…

Question:  You assume too much.

Spokesperson:  I assume too much?  Yes.

Question:  Has Andrew Toh, who is an ASG, submitted his resignation or was he asked to submit his resignation?

Spokesperson:  I don’t think he was asked because as you know there was an ongoing investigation. I can ask about this case specifically for you. But I do know that since his case was ongoing, in terms of audit and everything else, I think, I can check for you. I will check for you on that, whether or not he was asked to resign. And if so, whether he did.  Yes.

Question:  Do you know when was the last time the Secretary-General had contact with the Iranian leader and what kind of media did they use for their communication?

Spokesperson:  What type of media?

Question:  Did they use the phone? Did they use some third party to talk about it?

Spokesperson:  You’re talking about which country?

Question:  Iran.

Spokesperson:  About Iran.

Question:  I think one of the fellow journalists said, he asked about if the Secretary-General had any contact with the US officials and the Iranian officials, and you said yes.  I want to see when was the last time that the Secretary-General had contacted…

Spokesperson:  OK, I can check for you.  He met a number of people on the margins of his different trips, so I can check for you when was the last time. And when there were phone exchanges also, I can check on that for you. Yes.  [She later said the Secretary-General met the Iranian Foreign Minister on Tuesday.]

Question:  While you were away, I raised the question if it’s possible to invite here a spokesman for the AU.  I was told that I’m going to get an answer. Can I raise…

Spokesperson:  This is really not the proper venue for it but… 

Question:  The problem is that certain things that we were told were different from what the AU are saying themselves. And I’m coming back to the old question of the reason for the meeting in Addis Ababa and what went on in Addis Ababa. There are several questions, those general topics, and eventually I suggested we get the AU to speak for themselves so we can actually ask them why they needed to meet in Addis Ababa.

Spokesperson:  I think why they were meeting in Addis Ababa was pretty clear. You just look at their website and you can see everything they discussed.

Question:  The thing is I did that and the meeting was about adaptation to climate change. There are certain things that happened now in Africa which have to do with what happens when you have climate change – which means loss of grass land, there is warfare going on, there are tribal competitions over …which creates conflict.  Now, the whole point of my question is that we have a chance to look into the reasons for those conflicts and that we can hear only from the AU themselves.  Because, otherwise we are dealing only with the problems which are day-to-day problems, which are actually the warfare itself.  We do not deal with the reasons for those war…except when we had somebody like Jeffrey Sachs here.

Spokesperson:  Excuse me, but you want an AU spokesperson, this is the United Nations Secretariat, OK? The AU is an independent regional organisation -- we work with the AU on a number of issues, as you know. Climate change is one of them.  However, it’s not quite a venue for me to get a spokesperson to fly from Addis to come here to answer your questions.  I think you can have your questions answered in a different way.

Comment:  The AU has a representative in New York.

Spokesperson:  They have a representative in New York – why don’t you call them?

Question:  Any follow-up into the UNIFIL investigation into the famous balloons?

Spokesperson:  Well, the investigation, UNIFIL has determined that the balloons were not harmful. That’s all I can say.

Question:  If they are not harmful, how come eight people including a journalist were taken to a hospital five minutes after approaching them?

Spokesperson:  I can only tell you what UNIFIL told us -- that their investigation had determined that the balloons were not harmful.

Question:  What kind of gas was…

Spokesperson:  Don’t ask -- I mean I have suggested to you that you go and talk to them directly, OK? I hope you have done so and…but you know, they said they were not harmful.

Question:  We have eight names of eight people, not virtual ones, who really suffered from that, including a journalist from Anahar, who could not even wait five minutes and she lost consciousness once approaching the balloons. I think they need more investigation – laboratory investigations from UNIFIL.  Besides, about the enrichment uranium, there are two reports which aired today on Al-Jazeera and they even expressed concern about radioactivity on UNIFIL forces 12,000 there.

Spokesperson:  Well, we don’t have anything on that. OK. And we don’t comment on press reports, we comment on investigations.

Question:  (inaudible) laboratories?

Spokesperson:  Please, I’d like to see that.

Question:  Prior to taking up his duties, at press conferences, as well his recent trip to Africa, the Secretary-General has underlined priorities including North Korea, UN reform major objectives, Middle East, Darfur, Africa, climate change. Does he see these priorities as vertical – some more priority than others or something horizontal.  Are they all more priority questions?

Spokesperson:  It would be more something horizontal -- they are all priority questions.

Question:  Just going to have two quick technical questions. What happened with the timing – how much time the Secretariat needs to translate all documents on Kosovo – did you find anything on that?

Spokesperson:  No, I didn’t find out about how long it would take.  [She later added that he timing was difficult to estimate at this time.  Speed of translation depended on urgency and availability of capacity.]

Question:  All right.  And then follow-up to Mark Turner’s request a few days ago, when he asked somebody come to brief us on the restructuring mobility and all these kind of issues – that would be very fine if he organized that, inside of the house.

Spokesperson:  On the Kosovo issue, I can tell you that Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari is aware that a portion of the proposal for Kosovo’s status settlement has been published in the press. He’s aware of that and he intends to provide the parties with the Kosovo status settlement proposal on 2 February. OK, so this is where we are in the process.  He will engage the parties during the month of February for more discussions and before finalising the proposal and sending it to the Secretary-General. Then, we’ll have a translation problem. Yes.

Question:  Save the Children issued a study today saying that the UN’s new Central Emergency, I forget the exact Fund, was actually causing new obstacles for aid agencies. That there wasn’t any ability to give the money to aid agencies who got onto the ground first and it was complaining that basically the mechanism was inefficient and not working very well.  I was wondering whether you had any comment on that, or could get some comment on that.

Spokesperson:  Yeah, I can inquire about that, yes.

[“OCHA administers the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which was established by GA Resolution 60/124.  The rules and regulations governing its use are also determined by the Member States, and OCHA is bound by those rules.  Any modification to the use of the CERF would, therefore, have to be approved by the General Assembly.

“However, OCHA also believes that the CERF needs to evolve as time passes, and we would welcome seeing the day when a wider array of aid partners can access the Fund in order to maximize its ability to be responsive to the needs of beneficiaries in crises.   The CERF Advisory Group is also keenly interested in the matter of how NGOs benefit from the CERF.

“In 2006, the CERF has committed 261 million for 331 projects in 35 countries.  These funds represent additional humanitarian funding.”]

Question:  I see that on Friday the Italian mission and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs are co-sponsoring a concert by a man, Ennio Morricone, however, I’m wondering if you could give us an update on the status of the investigation on DESA, particularly?

Spokesperson:  Well, about the concert, we’re planning to talk about it tomorrow.

Question:  The concert I’ve got no problems with.

Spokesperson:  This investigation, I didn’t get a date or a special deadline on this.

Question:  They said that they…

Spokesperson:  No, the investigation is not ready yet.

Question:  Just to clarify, there are a couple of different investigations into various aspects of DESA.  There is the one into the Greek Governance Centre which I believe is completed. Can you tell us where that is in the pipeline so that we can try to…

Spokesperson:  I can check on the different…on the process.  I know that some of them are not completed. I will find out for you when they are going to be disclosed.

Question:  That one I believe has been completed. Secondly, there was the one into potentially improper hiring of contractors and staff intimidation and related issues in the Department of Administration and Development.  And I think that’s it for now, that’s open. But these are two separate one so…

Spokesperson:  OK, we can find out for you.

Question:  Thank you.

Question:  On the conflict resolution meeting, I came very late, will there be a conflict resolution meeting next week?

Spokesperson:  There is one in the Security Council now, yes.

Question:  Now. Do you know if Lebanon will be on the agenda?

Spokesperson:  I don’t know what the details are. But you can find out. You’re probably going to have a stakeout afterwards.

Question:  On Brammertz. Brammertz met yesterday with Siniora -- do you have anything to add, to say about this meeting?

Spokesperson:  No, I don’t but I will ask Mr. Brammertz whether we can have, what was discussed and how are they doing on that tribunal.  What is the status?

Question:  Anything new on the tribunal?

Spokesperson:  We don’t have anything new, no. As you know, the ball is in the Lebanese camp.

Question:  Back to Betsy’s questions about …

Spokesperson:  About the concert?

Question:  No, about the investigation.

Spokesperson:  Yes.

Question:  There’s a conference in Vienna in June, sponsored by DESA and hosted by Guido Bertucci, who’s one of the individuals and I know they’ve invited and I know that Ban Ki-moon has confirmed that he will be attending and key-noting this event. Is there some way to know his schedule, I guess when he confirms an attendance you could know that. But its Vienna, June 26, hosted by Guido Bertucci, it’s called the Global Forum on reinventing Government.

Spokesperson:  I will check for you whether he has received the invitation and whether he’s going or not.  [She later said it was too early for such a trip to be schedule.]

Question:  OK.

Spokesperson:  And about the investigation, as I said, my answer remains the same. I have to check on which investigation is where. At this point, I don’t have the answer and the Board of Auditors would have then answer.

Question:  I know a number of us have an outstanding request to have OIOS. If they came, then I think it would be a lot easier on you. Then we’d ask them. And I have one other question about the AU. On Somalia, troop contributions, seems like they raised commitments for 4,000, rather than the 8,000 they’re seeking. Is the plan to deploy with the 4,000? To await getting the 8,000?

Spokesperson:  Well, I cannot second-guess the AU. Those are decisions that they take.

Question:  Given that Lonseny Fall’s been very involved in trying to get that force on the ground, it seems to me that there are questions…what’s the UN thinking about…

Spokesperson:  Well, the UN, right now, as you know is on the sideline. Its going to be an AU operation at this point and what has been suggested is that in six months time the UN would take over. This case has to of course be examined by the Security Council, it’s not the Secretariat’s decision. So it’s going to depend on what the Security Council is going to say. Yes. That’s all. So, Ashraf, it’s all yours.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly

The good news is that I have nothing to report on. There were two items that I was asked about yesterday and this should make everybody’s life easier.  This diagram we have for all of you in the Spokesman’s Office. It shows exactly which line of reporting is followed in the UN system-wide. Specialized organisations are completely independent.  You can check with them directly and that includes the WMO. Anything else within the purview of the General Assembly, I would be more than happy to respond to.  Anything to do with the Secretariat, Michele is going to take care of.  So, please take one of these, they are very, very useful.

And the other one, was Joe’s question about the Trusteeship Council.  Yes, it was paragraph 176 of the 2005 Summit Outcome document, where they resolved to abolish the Trusteeship Council. But as you know, this requires an amendment of the Charter and they have yet to come to an agreement on this.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  It was suspended on 1 November, 1994.

Spokesperson:  I’m sorry?

Question:  The Trusteeship Council suspended their operations on 1 November 1994, when Palau became an independent country.

Spokesperson:  Yeah?

Question:  Just adding that.

Spokesperson:  Of course.

Question:  Recently the President issued a communication to Member States regarding Security Council reform, and to get that ball rolling again I think … the Open-Ended Working Group is going to meet again in February and she’s going to be organizing some sort forums for States to start talking again?

Spokesperson:  That’s correct.

Question:  Was she prodded by any Member State or Member States to get this initiative going?

Spokesperson:  No, not at all.

Question:  This is her own independent …sort of…

Spokesperson:  Yeah.

Question:  Also, about the Open-Ended Working Group, there was the discussion in the General Assembly in December -- is this the outcome of that discussion? Because there was a statement that there were 70 people who spoke and that there would be some activity of the General Assembly with regards to…

Spokesperson:  Security Council reform is an ongoing process, and every time they reach a particular point, they basically regroup and say, OK, we are going to take it from there.  So this is just the continuation of the process, there is nothing new.

Question:  Is there any documents of where they’re up to, to sort of see where that meeting is going?

Spokesperson:  Every time there’s a meeting, there’s always the PV of the meetings, if it’s open. And this tells you exactly where they’re at right now.

Question:  I believe 4:00 pm or so, Monday, black Americans stood across the street from then UN in petition to the issue of human rights violations by police officers in departments of law enforcement in this country.  Any reaction? Or is the UN even aware that they were over there?

Spokesperson:  This was Monday?

Question:  Yes. So the UN is not aware then?

Spokesperson:  I was not aware of that.

Question:  What was your excuse?

Spokesperson:  But I don’t represent the UN. So I apologize.

Question:  But does the General Assembly have any awareness that the Africans in the diaspora of North America stood across the street of the UN, petitioning…

Spokesperson:  No, I wasn’t aware of that.

Question:  Please tell me how high on the agenda for the President of the General Assembly is the reform of the Security Council?

Spokesperson:  Could I check with her first? But I am sure it’s pretty high.

Question:  In that list that you have about bodies, where’s the University for Peace in that?

Spokesperson:  It’s not a UN organisation.

Question:  Was it founded by the General Assembly?

Spokesperson:  It was a resolution that approved the founding of it. But it’s basically a completely independent entity. The only relationship is that the Secretary-General is an honorary President of that University. 

Question:  But did the General Assembly found that University?

Spokesperson:  It adopted – I can get you the resolution if you want and then you’ll find out if they founded or not or what was the relationship.  I think we distributed something like this last week, but I can get it for you if you want.

Question:  Just a follow-up on that, I’m not sure I understand. On their website, number one, they use the UN logo all over, and they call themselves UN-affiliated and UN-mandated, so its kind of…I don’t know if it’s a grey zone. You’re saying they’re not UN, they’re saying they are UN, and they receive UN funds…

Spokesperson:  They are UN as far as they carry the logo but we do not have…of course you can apply.  The major point I’m making here is we have no direct, supervisory relationship with the University for Peace.

Question:  I’ve seen on their website they have a Report to the General Assembly. If you click on it, it’s a PDF, they providing annual…

Spokesperson:  I will repeat it as many times as you want.  We have no direct reporting relationship with the University for Peace.

Question:  Did you read the report? Does anybody at the GA read that report?

Spokesperson:  I read every report that comes out. You’ll have to ask the members of the GA.

Question:  Also related to the Trusteeship issue and the other items, that all requires an amendment to the Charter of the UN?

Spokesperson:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.

Question:  In the 2005 Outcome Document, they also agreed to delete the enemy states clause in the UN.

Spokesperson:  That is also pending. That’s actually the paragraph right after the Trusteeship.

Question:  So that is just up in the air? They’re not organising to get that done yet?

Spokesperson:  Still not there. It’s up to them.  Sovereign Member States decide when they want to do something, and when they do something, we report.

Question:  Does the President think that the Charter amendments should all be done in one big bang resolution – Trusteeship, enemy States?

Spokesperson:  I am sure some Member States believe so.

Question:  It has to come from a Member State basically?

Spokesperson:  Yes. Absolutely.

Question:  One follow-up on that, maybe you can find this out because I think this could cut to the heart of it. Can the University for Peace give people laissez-passer and G4 visas to the United States?

Spokesperson:  You’ll have to ask the University for Peace.

Question:  Two days ago I asked them, and they said they would respond yesterday -- they didn’t. Maybe, from this side…

Spokesperson:  You have to push them, just like you push me and then you’ll get your answer.

Question:  Does the UN have any propriety rights for the logo of the UN? Can anybody…

Spokesperson:  Yes, nobody can carry the logo of the UN without the approval of the UN.

Question:  So, if it turns out that a body carries the logo of the UN without…

Spokesperson:  If the UN determines that anybody’s in violation of the logo rights or property rights, yes, they can go back and say no, you cannot use the logo anymore -- if that’s your question.

Question:  Will that avenue, since you’re saying the University for Peace is not affiliated with the UN…

Spokesperson:  I did not say it was not affiliated. I said we do not have a direct reporting relationship with the University for Peace.

Question:  So, does direct reporting relations entail the rights, having no direct, whatever…

Spokesperson:  These are two separate issues.

Question:  If the UN has no direct reporting over a body – can that body carry the UN logo?

Spokesperson:  Well, obviously, they carry the UN logo and they don’t have a direct reporting relationship with us.

Question:  If according to you, they can be pursued for that, maybe its time to pursue them for that…

Spokesperson:  Pursue them for what?

Question:  For carrying your logo without having…

Spokesperson:  But that was approved by the UN, it’s not a violation. We’re not talking about a violation by the University of Peace.

Question:  So there’s no violation. By carrying…they’re not violating any rules…

Spokesperson:  Of course not, no.

Question:  They call themselves a treaty organisation. Are they a treaty organisation? Are there other UN treaty organisations?

Spokesperson:  If they call themselves that, they must be a treaty organisation, but I guess if you talk to them, they’d be able to tell you more about this.

Question:  To further complicate this, the United Nations University has a closer relationship…

Spokesperson:  That’s different. That’s a very different…

Question:  That is a UN…what is that? What is the UN University?

Spokesperson:  I’ll print it on my T-shirt tomorrow [holding up the United Nations system organizational chart mention at beginning of briefing].

Question:  One more. Forget the University of Peace as it relates to this. Who in the UN system controls the giving out…or which agencies can give out laissez-passer and G4 visas?  That seems to be a pretty important function for the UN to have…

Spokesperson:  Well, once we check with the University for Peace…  You haven’t gotten the answer yet. Once you get that answer, we’ll see if they were authorised to do this – if this was part of their functions. But you have to get an answer from them, if they do issue laissez-passer.  I’m only aware that only UN organs can do that.

Question:  And this is back to the President of the General Assembly. Has she met with the Staff Council on the topic of internal justice reforms?

Spokesperson:  I’m not aware of that. If it happened, it must have happened while I was still in Beirut.  But I’ll check, remind me when she comes back.  Last question so we can all have lunch, please.

Question:  Let me repeat to you the question. The first time that I asked about the AU coming here to speak.  Would it be possible through the aegis of the General Assembly to have the groups that are part of the General Assembly to come here – that you bring them here? And you don’t have to bring someone from Addis Ababa – you bring the representative, to tell us actually about the activities.

Spokesperson:  But they have a representative.

Question:  Yes, to bring that person here for a press conference.  To bring them here.

Spokesperson:  Here in the briefing room?

Question:  Yeah, in the briefing room. So that on the record, we can ask them questions. It’s a completely different story to ask a question in private to somebody and to have in here, actually, make it on the record, a statement that can be questioned…

Spokesperson:  In all honesty, I don’t think we can force anybody to come here unless they…

Question:  Of course, but try to invite – that’s my whole point.

Spokesperson:  That would be Michele’s baby, not mine.

Question:  You cannot do this under the General Assembly?

Spokesperson:  No, thank you.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.