|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
Good afternoon. Welcome to the briefing.
The Security Council delegation to Uganda and Sudan began its day in El Fasher, meeting with the Wali of North Darfur.
At the start of the meeting, the Council's leader for this part of the mission, UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, expressed the Security Council's concern over increased levels of violence, the protection of civilians, sexual violence and the illegal flow of weapons. He said that the Council wanted to show its support for the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, UNAMID, and mentioned yesterday's abduction of a UNAMID staff member.
The Council members followed their meeting with a visit to the Abu Shouk camp for internally displaced persons, where they met camp residents, and with a visit to its police community centre, where they received a briefing. The Council delegation has now arrived in Khartoum.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that UN agencies and their partners have delivered a total of 169,000 metric tons of food in Pakistan since the start of the crisis caused by the floods there. Approximately 8 million people are being targeted for food assistance in October, and some 500,000 people received monthly rations this week.
The United Nations and its partners have also provided medicines to cover the health needs of 5.15 million people, and clean water for daily usage to 3.7 million people. Overall, more than 260,000 tents and 413,000 tarpaulins have now been distributed, serving the needs of some 467,000 households.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs adds that the province of Sindh remains one of the hardest-hit areas, with 1 million people in need. Huge numbers of people continue to depend on life-saving assistance. However, access to remote areas is improving.
This evening at UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General will host a screening of Killing in the Name, an award-winning documentary film depicting the lives of victims of terrorism. He will deliver remarks at that screening about the need to support the victims of terrorism, and what we can learn from them.
A panel discussion will follow the screening with the Secretary-General; Ashraf Al-Khaled, whose family members were killed in an Al-Qaida attack; the film’s executive producer, Carie Lemack; and UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] Senior Programme Adviser Carla Khammar, who survived the attacks on the UN compound in Algiers in 2007.
In response to a question yesterday on interpreters for the police element of the Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, I can confirm that there is a provision for roughly 200 interpreters in the Mission’s budget that will be presented to the General Assembly in a few weeks time.
Also, on the question of the need for more personnel, there are currently no plans to deploy additional troops or police. I would like to note that the deployment of an additional 2,180 UN police, authorized by the Security Council after the earthquake, is still in progress. This deployment has already helped to significantly increase the police presence in and around the major camps in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. However, given that there are an estimated 1.5 million displaced people scattered across 1,300 camps, it is virtually impossible to ensure complete coverage of all the camps all the time. And as you know, the Haitian National Police, which comprises close to 10,000 officers, has primary responsibility for ensuring the security and safety of the population, including internally displaced persons.
So that’s what I have for you. Questions, please?
**Questions and Answers
Question: I heard you were giving the update on this Pakistan flood thing. Do you have an idea as to how much the second appeal has been funded, as new funding, because there were fears that there is not enough money coming in for various reasons?
Spokesperson: The last figure that I am aware of is around 40 per cent. But let’s get a precise updated figure for you.
Question: First one or the second one? The first one was funded 77 per cent.
Spokesperson: Overall. Let me get a figure for you. But that was my recollection. But let us get an updated figure for you. We’ll be able to squawk it and e-mail it around afterwards.
[The Spokesperson later added that the Floods Emergency Response Plan and Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan are funded at 33 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively.]
Question: Is there also an update on the health situation over there following the floods?
Spokesperson: Well, you’ve heard me just mention a little bit about that. I know that my colleagues in Geneva, at the World Health Organization (WHO), probably have a lot more detail on that. And as you know, they have a briefing earlier in the day, so I would urge you to contact them.
Question: I just wanted to ask you one more question about this occupied Gaza. I mean, obviously, we don’t want to ask questions about Gaza because there is an ongoing talks going on in the Middle East. Whether they are successful or not, that’s not… But basically, has the Secretary-General spoken about the opening of the crossings? I know he has been having a conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister over a period of time on this issue. Has there been lately any conversation with the Secretary-General and the Israelis over this?
Spokesperson: This is consistently raised, and in the most recent conversations this will have figured as well. Yes, Edie?
Question: Martin, does the Secretary-General have any comment or reaction to today’s announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize going to Liu Xiaobo?
Spokesperson: He is obviously aware, and you can anticipate a statement a little later. Okay, any other questions? Okay, thank you very much. Have a good weekend.
[The Spokesperson later issued the following statement on the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize:
The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo of China is a recognition of the growing international consensus for improving human rights practices and culture around the world.
The Secretary-General has consistently emphasised the importance of human rights along with development and peace and security as the three main pillars of the work of the United Nations.
Over the past years, China has achieved remarkable economic advances, lifted millions out of poverty, broadened political participation and steadily joined the international mainstream in its adherence to recognized human rights instruments and practices.
The Secretary-General expresses his sincere hope that any differences on this decision will not detract from advancement of the human rights agenda globally or the high prestige and inspirational power of the Award.]
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