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

2 November 2011

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

2 November 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 Eduardo del Buey, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Nihal Saad, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Noon Briefing.

**Noon Guest

Today I have as my guest, Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission to the Republic of South Sudan.

I will begin by reading a statement on the Secretary-General’s trip to Libya, after which the Special Representative will make her presentation and take questions, after which I will continue reading other statements I have for you and take questions.

And at 12:30 p.m., Nihal Saad, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, will brief you on General Assembly business.

** Libya

Okay, on Libya, as you will have seen, the Secretary-General has made a short visit to Tripoli today, together with the President of the General Assembly.  The Secretary-General is leaving for Cannes about now to attend the G-20 summit meeting.

The Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly have been meeting members of the National Transitional Council and civil society.

In remarks to the press, the Secretary-General said he was honoured to be visiting Tripoli at this historic moment and to salute the brave people of Libya.  He said Libyans had paid a heavy price for freedom.  He offered his condolences and sympathies to those who lost family members or were wounded.  The Secretary-General said the path to democracy was not easy.  Building a State with effective and accountable institutions would take time.  But, the Libyan people have shown that they have the skills, resources and strength of character to rise to the challenge.

The Secretary-General said that as Libya moves forward, it would be critical that the people find consensus on major issues and remain united.  That, in turn, will require a great deal of pragmatism and compromise, especially during this very important initial phase.  He said Libyans inspired the world in throwing off tyranny.  In building a future of peace and dignity for all, he was confident that they would inspire the world again.  He said the United Nations was in Libya to help — in every way we can and in any way Libyans choose.  We hope to have a transcript of that press encounter soon.

The Secretary-General also visited a mass grave site and met with the families of the pro-revolution sympathizers who were killed there.  The Secretary-General reiterated during the visit to Tripoli that questions of transnational justice must be resolved with wisdom and restraint.  He said that it was important to hold perpetrators of human rights crimes to account, as well as promote national reconciliation.

That is a statement on Tripoli.  I will now ask Ms. Johnson to make her presentation and take your questions.

[Press conference by Ms. Johnson is issued separately.]

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to read some statements I have, and then I will pass the floor over to Ms. Saad, whose time began a minute ago.  Thank you for your patience.

** Central America

Catherine Bragg, Assistant-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, began a four-day visit to Nicaragua and El Salvador to highlight the impact of recent flooding in Central America.

Last week, the United Nations launched flash appeals to help Nicaragua and El Salvador countries cope with the impact of devastating floods for the next six months.

For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) is helping people in Central America affected by the flooding.  The Programme’s Regional Director says that recurrent natural disasters are exacerbating the food security situation of both rural and urban populations in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.  These people are also suffering from the impact of high food prices, he added.

**Security Council

This afternoon, at 3 p.m., the Security Council will meet to discuss the situation in Libya.

At 6:15 p.m., the President of the Security Council, José Filipe Moraes Cabral ( Portugal), will hold a press conference to set out the Security Council’s programme for November.

**Press Conference

At 5:30 p.m., in this room, there will be a press conference by Luis Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

That’s all I have for you today.  One question.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  Okay, my question is about this announcement recently from Jerusalem that Israel has tested a missile capable of reaching Teheran, and that exasperates the tensions in the Middle East, Israel being the only country in the Middle East having, or reportedly having, 200 nuclear weapons.  Has the Secretary-General got to say anything about it?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Well, we have seen the reports of that in the media, but we have to have confirmation of that from our people on the ground.  So, once we have something to say, we will say it.

Question:  This is being said by Israelis themselves.  I mean, what kind of confirmation do you need?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Well, once we have something to say, we will say it.  We don’t have anything to say right now.

Question:  The Secretary-General has not made any observation yet?

Deputy Spokesperson:  He hasn’t made any observation, now he has been in Tripoli.

Question:  [inaudible], subject.  Today, the Syrian Ambassador at the United… the General Assembly said that the resolution of 1981, regarding the inspection of Israeli nuclear facilities, has not been implemented yet.  Is there anything the Secretary-General can do to push for the implementation of such a resolution?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Well, I will have to check, and I don’t have any information on that right now.

[The Deputy Spokesperson later said that the Secretary-General expects all Member States to abide by Security Council resolutions.]

Okay, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.  Nihal Saad, the floor is yours.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

Good afternoon to all.

**General Assembly President in Libya

As Eduardo has just mentioned earlier, the President of the General Assembly Mr. Nassir Abulaziz al-Nasser was on a one-day trip to Tripoli, Libya with the Secretary-General.

President Al-Nasser held meetings with the Chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, and members of the NTC.  He also met with the newly appointed Prime Minister Abdel-Rahim Al-Keeb.  The discussions focused on a wide range of issues including stabilization of the security situation in Libya, the reconstruction efforts and reconciliation.  In his meetings, President Al-Nasser urged the Chairman and the members of the National Transitional Council to provide exemplary leadership and continue their efforts to promote full national reconciliation.  He also underlined the important need for Libya’s transitional authorities to exercise full sovereignty by extending control over all Libyan territory, in order to prevent and curb the use of any illegal or unauthorized weapons.

The President of the General Assembly spoke a short while ago in a joint press conference with the Secretary General and the Chairman of the National Transitional Council.  He reiterated his call on all Libyans to unite at this important moment in their nation’s history so that they could build a new nation that is free, democratic and guided by the rule of law and respect for human rights.  He stressed the strong commitment of the United Nations to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.

And we will be having a statement, a press statement later in the day, on all the meetings that the President of the General Assembly had.  But, let me add this also, that the President met with the Libyan civil society with the Secretary-General, and he visited a gravesite where he met with victims’ families and expressed his condolences over the lives lost during the conflict.  President Al-Nasser stressed the need to respond urgently to the humanitarian needs of the Libyan people.

**International Atomic Energy Agency

On other issues, the President of the General Assembly met yesterday with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, Yukiya Amano.  And we have issued a readout yesterday, I hope you have all got that on your e-mails, and we have it available on our website.

And that’s all.  Any questions, please?  Mr. Abbadi?

**Questions and Answers

Question:  You mentioned several issues having been raised by the President of the General Assembly with the Libyan authorities, has the President raised the issue of the investigation on the murder of Colonel Qadhafi?

Spokesperson:  Well, as I said, Mr. Abbadi, we are going to be issuing a statement on all the issues that has been discussed during the meetings that the President of the General Assembly had together with the Secretary-General.  So you will find the information that you need in the statement that we will be releasing.  Yes?

Question:  With reference to your statement that they are trying to see to it that they have secured all the various weapons that exist in the country, had done… what had been… both sides, there were reports that those weapons, some of the smaller rockets, have shown up two countries to the east in Gaza.  What are they doing, or has there been any discuss… have there been any discussions as to how to prevent that and how to keep them in the country for the benefit and defence of the Libyan people?

Spokesperson:  As I said earlier in the briefing, in my notes, I said that one of the issues that has been discussed, or one of the things that the President of the General Assembly discussed, is that he underlined the important need for all the Libya trans… for Libya’s transitional authorities to exercise full sovereignty by extending control over all the Libyan territory in order to prevent and curb the use of any illegal or unauthorized weapons and that is… these are the lines I have on that issue.

Question:  They have indicated — just following up — they have indicated that they are seized of this particular aspect of that.

Spokesperson:  Well, I mean, as you know that… excuse me?

Question:  [inaudible], particular need within that policy?

Spokesperson:  Yes, but as you know also, there is the Security Council adopted a resolution a few days ago, and it was asking all the United Nations specialized agencies to provide Libyan authorities with all the assistance that they need in that regard.  And the resolution also clearly calls upon the Libyan authorities and the neighbouring States to take all necessary measures to prevent the proliferation of all arms.  And that’s what I have regarding your question.  Yes, sir, please?

Question:  Regarding the meeting with the IAEA and the President of the Assembly, was there any discussion about the next report about Iran?  That’s one question.  And regarding the… if there is any news about the Palestinian question they are going to raise the issue in the General Assembly soon.

Spokesperson:  Regarding the issue, the meeting with the President, the Director-General of the IAEA, we have issued a readout.  I don’t know if you’ve got the copy of the readout in your e-mail.  But those are the issues, it contains all the issues that had been discussed or raised between the President of the General Assembly and Mr. Amano.

Question:  The Iran issue, was it discussed?

Spokesperson:  It’s in the readout, I’ll be happy to forward you the e-mail again, if you can just give me your e-mail, I will be happy to forward the readout again, thank you.  On the Palestinian issue, the General Assembly, well, as you know, that issue is still with the Security Council.  So I have nothing to add regarding that.  You can direct your questions about what sort of developments are going on regarding the Palestinian issue to the Security Council.

Question:  [inaudible], go to the General Assembly, so I don’t know if you have some [inaudible].

Spokesperson:  We have not received anything yet from the Palestinian side, at the General Assembly.  Yes, Mr. Raman?

Question:  Thank you.  With regard to the President of the General Assembly meeting with the Libyan civil society, I am a little bit intrigued, because I know as a matter of fact it does not exist in Libya.  So I am quite curious what kind of civil society did the President meet with?

Spokesperson:  Well, if the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General has met with members or representatives of the Libyan civil society, then I do believe they exist.

Correspondent:  Okay. [laughter]

Spokesperson:  And as I said, you will find more details about that in the readout or the statement, the press statements that we will be releasing later today.

Question:  I am sorry, a follow-up.  Was there any assessment for the development need and the reconstruction in Libya at this moment?

Spokesperson:  Come again, please?

Question:  Was there an assessment done by the President of the General Assembly discussing with the Libyan leadership about the need for the development in the immediate future?

Spokesperson:  I will have to get back to you regarding that issue with more details.  But the issue of the reconstruction efforts has definitely been brought up in the discussions with the relevant Libyan authorities or leadership.  Yes, please?

Question:  Is the President going to any other country in the region following his visit to Libya?

Spokesperson:  He is coming back to New York.  The President of the General Assembly is coming back to New York.  Any more questions?

Thank you, you have a wonderful day.

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