Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

11 October 2011

Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

11 October 2011
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
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 Vannina Maestracci, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Hello, and welcome to the briefing.

**Noon Briefing Guest

Today the guest at the noon briefing is Angela Kane, the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Management.  And you have the floor Ms. Kane.

[Briefing by Ms. Kane issued separately.]

Okay, I have a few notes for you.

**Secretary-General’s Travels

The Secretary-General arrived this morning in Copenhagen, where he addressed the Global Green Growth Forum, also called the “3GF”.  He said these three Gs must respond to social, economic and environmental challenges equally.  We need to marshal all forces to power progress in a way that protects our planet and promotes the welfare of all people, he said.

The Secretary-General went to the Royal Palace, where he had an audience with Queen Margrethe II.

At the Ministry of Defence, he also held separate meetings with the Defence Minister and the Minister for Climate, Energy and Buildings.

The Secretary-General also had a working lunch with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt in her office, and he spoke to the press after that, and we have a transcript of those remarks in our office.

The Secretary-General then toured the UN City in Copenhagen and met with United Nations staff there.

He later went to the Foreign Ministry for separate meetings with the Foreign Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General met with the [former] President of the International Court of Justice, Mohammad Bedjaoui.

And this evening, the Secretary-General is scheduled to attend a dinner for participants in the Global Green Growth Forum.


The Joint Special Representative and Head of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Ibrahim Gambari, has strongly condemned the attack, yesterday night, that killed three peacekeepers and injured six others.

UNAMID reports that three peacekeepers where killed last night when a patrol came under attack by armed assailants in Zam Zam internally displaced persons camp.

Gambari has called on the Sudanese authorities to do a full investigation immediately, and to find and bring to justice the perpetrators as soon as possible.

**Security Council

And as you know, the Security Council held closed consultations this morning on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

And Jamal Benomar, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Yemen, also briefed the Council and he talked to you at the stakeout following that briefing.

** Yemen

And also on Yemen, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, today said that for far too long, the international community has failed to give enough attention to the humanitarian crisis in the country.  Conflict, poverty, drought, soaring food prices and collapsing State services have created a daily struggle for survival for millions of people in Yemen, she said.

And on Libya, Ms. Amos said yesterday that she is extremely concerned by the impact on civilians of intense fighting in and around the city of Sirte.  She called on all parties to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities, and to comply with international humanitarian law.

** Cyprus

The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities met today, and their talks focused on the European Union, economy and internal security issues.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, said it was a productive meeting and that they are looking forward to continuing the constructive process.

The leaders will meet again on Friday.


And the Secretary-General is announcing two senior appointments today.

The first is Farid Zarif of Afghanistan as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).  Mr. Zarif succeeds Lamberto Zannier of Italy.

The other appointment is Aisa Kirabo Kacyira of Rwanda as the Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UN-Habitat.  She succeeds Inga Björk-Klevby in this position.  And we have more on both of these appointments in our office.

And that’s what I have for you, and I’ll take a few questions, if there are questions.  Any questions?  Matthew?

**Questions and Answers

Question:  Sure.  First I wanted to know, is there any UN comment on the, the sentencing of Ms. Tymoshenko in Ukraine to seven years? A lot of, you know, people have looked out and said it’s a violation of due process, violation of human rights.  Is there any UN system comment on it at all?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes.  The Secretary-General has noted the concerns voiced widely regarding the judicial proceedings involving the former Ukrainian Prime Minister and other officials.  And the Secretary-General expects the judicial proceedings, currently still ongoing, to be conducted in a fair and impartial manner and to follow due process.  And that’s what I have for you on that.

Question:  Okay.  I want to ask, there is a, there is a report in yesterday’s Daily News about an incident that took place in the, in the South Korean Mission on Saturday evening, where Ban Ki-moon was at a, supposedly, at an event involving, among others, South Korean pop stars.  A reporter tried to ask him a question and, as described by the Daily News, the reporter was pushed back by the security detail and was told, you can’t ask Ban Ki-moon that.  This is in yesterday’s Daily News and I wonder, since I assume that you guys have seen it, is it true, is it false?

Associate Spokesperson:  This is an event when?

Question:  Saturday, before he left.

Associate Spokesperson:  I’ll check.  I wasn’t on duty Saturday.  I’ll check where he went Saturday.  Yes, anything else?  No?

Question:  Actually, just kind of a long shot to see if you have a comment on it.  Today is the beginning of the trial of noted accused arms dealer Viktor Bout.  So I am wondering, given that the UN system has settled his… there are some allegations that the UN system used to use Mr. Bout to move things in DRC and elsewhere, but given the importance of the issue, is there any UN, do you note it, what’s the, is there any, are you, does the Secretariat have any comment on it?

Associate Spokesperson:  I don’t have any comment on that right now.  If I do, I’ll let you know, yes?  Okay, thank you.

* *** *

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