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

12 August 2015

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 Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon, apologies for the delay.

**Central African Republic

As you will have just heard, the Secretary-General just said a few minutes ago at the Security Council stakeout on the Central African Republic — for those who missed it, the Secretary-General said he had accepted the resignation of Babacar Gaye, his Special Representative and Head of the UN [Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization] Mission in the Central African Republic, otherwise known as MINUSCA.  And the opening statement is already online and we are working on the Q&A for you as quickly as possible.

**Youth Day

Earlier this morning, the Secretary-General spoke at an event commemorating International Youth Day.  He emphasized the role that today’s young people can play in helping to realize the sustainable development goals.  The Secretary-General noted that this is the largest generation of young people in history — and that with this new agenda, they can shape history.  He called on the world’s young people to join forces with the United Nations.  “Use your strength to advance our goals for a better future.  Together, we can create a life of dignity for all,” said the Secretary-General.

Also today, Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, said that, at a meeting where nearly 1,000 Global Youth Ambassadors from across the world, led by an initiative known as “A World at School”, are marking International Youth Day by stepping up campaigning for an end to youth exploitation and the right to universal education in an attempt to deliver a multi-million UpForSchool petition to the United Nations next month during the General Assembly.  And on 28 September, a town hall rally will be held in New York, led by youth leaders standing alongside Graca Machel and other world leaders to highlight their demands for change.

**Security Council

At 3 p.m. this afternoon, the Security Council will hold closed consultations on Yemen.  Council members will receive a briefing by video conference from Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Yemen, who has been travelling in the region this week, including in Oman and Riyadh, to meet with the Yemeni parties and other regional representatives.  In the morning, the Security Council held closed consultations concerning chemical weapons in Syria, as well as [sanctions on] Liberia — two separate agenda items, rather.

**Yemen

Meanwhile, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien, arrived in Aden today, by ship from Djibouti, to assess the situation and humanitarian response in Yemen.  He met with the authorities and humanitarian partners.  Mr. O'Brien saw extensive damage in the city, after shelling and airstrikes that had destroyed homes and other residential areas.  Almost the entire population of Aden needs some form of humanitarian assistance — the entire population.  He also visited the Inma School in the city, which is hosting hundreds of displaced people.  Speaking to journalists, Mr. O'Brien said that people need an end to the fighting, and that the world must not let them down.

**Somalia

The newly appointed Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, has just completed his first official visit to Puntland and Somaliland.  According to UN agencies and humanitarian partners, an estimated 220,000 people are internally displaced in Puntland and Somaliland.  They are seriously in need of food, water and shelter.

Moreover, more than 28,000 people have arrived in Somalia since April, fleeing the conflict in Yemen, including returning Somalis, as well as Yemeni refugees.  Mr. de Clercq also visited reception centres in the coastal cities of Berbera and Bosasso, and he met with people who have just arrived.  The Deputy Special Representative also stressed the need for a concerted and rapid response by international actors, and national and local authorities to avert a humanitarian crisis.

**Syria

And the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, has concluded just a visit to Jordan, during which she met Syrian refugee families and heard the hopes and fears of young people.  Her visit comes at a time when WFP reduced the level of assistance it provides to nearly half a million Syrian refugees living outside of camps in Jordan, due to a severe lack of funding.

The cuts in the value of voucher assistance, combined with reductions in support from other humanitarian agencies, have a negative impact on the food security of the majority of refugees.  Many have taken drastic measures, such as taking their children out of school to send them to work and incurring debilitating levels of debt.  And WFP needs $45 million to continue providing vital food assistance to more than half a million Syrian refugees living in Jordan until the end of the year.

**Libya

And the latest round of UN-facilitated talks with Libyan parties have concluded today — as you know, they were being hosted by our colleagues at the UN Office in Geneva.  The talks were presided over by the Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino León.  And Mr. León says that the talks were held in a positive atmosphere and the parties have reiterated their conviction that there can be no alternative to [peace] in Libya outside this dialogue process.

**Burundi

And a team of international envoys for the Great Lakes region, including the UN Envoy for the Great Lakes, Said Djinnit, are calling for restraint, leadership, and vision from all concerned citizens of Burundi to prevent further violence.  The envoys called for an immediate end to violence, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the resumption of an inclusive political dialogue.

They urged Burundian government to immediately seize the opportunity for dialogue, forge a new path for Burundi — agreed upon by all peaceful political parties, civil society, and the people of Burundi — with the support of the East African Community (EAC), African Union, United Nations and the international community.  That statement is online.

**Nigeria

I had been asked earlier about the bombing that took place yesterday in north-eastern Nigeria and I can say the following:  that the Secretary-General is indeed saddened by the attacks yesterday at a crowded market in the town Sabon Garithat, in north-east Nigeria, which reportedly killed over 40 people and injured many.  He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to all those injured.

The Secretary-General reiterates his message that there is no justification for indiscriminate killings.  He reaffirms his solidarity with the people of Nigeria and reiterates the UN’s support to the Nigerian Government in its fight against terrorism that is grounded in international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

**Ebola

And a note from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners who are helping to implement practice to make schools in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone safe from Ebola transmission.  An estimated 5 million children lost months of education as schools remained closed from July 2014 until the first few months of this year.  Today, the UN agency and its partners are working to make sure that the temperature of students and school staff are taken, as well as handwashing stations are available in schools.  They also have distributed soap and chlorine, and have trained tens of thousands of teachers and administrators on maintaining safe hygiene practices and standards.

**Polio

And marking a year since the last wild polio case was detected in Africa, the WHO [World Health Organization] today highlighted the important progress toward eradication around the world.  Nigeria was the last polio-endemic country in Africa.  If no new cases occur for two years, the continent would be certified polio-free by the Africa Regional Certification Commission.  Today, polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan only.  More information on WHO’s website.

**Myanmar

And our colleague, Renata Dessallien, the UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar, has wrapped up a visit to the Sagaing Region, where she visited communities affected by the floods and observed ongoing relief efforts.  She said she was deeply moved by the stories of people whose lives have been shattered.  Ms. Dessallien said that the response to the floods has been ably led by the Government, but noted that the rainy season is not yet over, and that the UN and its partners are concerned by additional forecasted rains.  She thanked the international community, which has been quick to fund immediate life-saving assistance and has pledged to provide support for recovery and reconstruction.

**Appointment

And almost lastly — senior personnel announcement.  The Secretary-General has appointed Farid Zarif of Afghanistan as his new Special Representative (SRSG) for Liberia and Head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).  He will succeed Karin Landgren of Sweden, who completed her assignment in July. The Secretary-General is, of course, grateful to Ms. Landgren’s service, including during the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease.  Mr. Zarif, as you know, is currently the SRSG to Kosovo and Head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).  He has extensive experience in diplomatic, international and UN affairs.

**Press Conference Today

After we are done here, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Kaha Imnadze, the Permanent Representative of Georgia.  Mr. Lee?  Could you wait two seconds?  I just called on your colleague, Mr. Lee.  I will call on you.  Don't worry.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  Sure.  Thanks a lot.  I wanted to ask what I was trying to ask at the stakeout, which is, what's the role of the head of UN peacekeeping, Hervé Ladsous, in all this?  Given the Secretary‑General noted correctly that there had been scandals in other missions as well, and it seems extraordinary that the Secretary‑General is the one calling the Mission chiefs who ultimately work for Ladsous.  So, when is the last time he spoke to him?  Did he consider Mr. Ladsous taking responsibility rather than Mr. Gaye?  And, finally, I'm looking at Mr. Gaye's letter, and this is why I'm asking the question.  Mr. Gaye says:  "Going forward…" to the Secretary‑General… "Going forward, you may wish to consider there could be a systematic problem warranting consideration at the highest level of the organization".  So, what do you say to that?  It seems extraordinary that you jump a level and then there's no answer as to the man in the middle.

Spokesman:  You know, I think… a couple of things:  First of all, the Secretary‑General has full confidence in Mr. Ladsous, the peacekeeping department, and, of course, Mr. [Atul] Khare, the head of the Department of Field [Support].  Both DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and DFS [Department of Field Support] are dedicated to ensuring the highest level of standards and accountability among personnel.  And I wanted to add that Lieutenant General Paul Cruz, who is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at DPKO/DFS, which is a role akin to an inspector general role, will leave for Central African Republic to examine systematic challenges of dealing with conduct and discipline issues, particularly sexual exploitation and abuse, including prevention, training, as well as reporting management and any further help that is required for Headquarters.  As for Mr. Gaye, he is, indeed, the head of the UN Mission, but he, like the other heads of the UN missions, has another title, and that's Special Representatives of the Secretary‑General.  They represent the Secretary‑General.  The action taken by the Secretary‑General this morning was not taken lightly, but I think he spoke very eloquently as to the reasoning behind it, and I think, if you look at the comments by the Secretary‑General, he will speak very strongly to all his Special Representatives as well as police commissioners, force commanders tomorrow to deliver a strong message, and that message [is] that people will be held accountable.

Question:  I guess my question is, going back to, let's say, Darfur, in Darfur, there was an allegation of mass rape in the city of Thabit, and the peacekeeping mission put out a press release saying it didn't happen; everything was fine.  This was found to be problematic by the Council.  The SRSG isn't gone.  What's the status of that?  And what's the connection of this case to the French peacekeepers?

Spokesman:  I think this is… as you know, the Secretary‑General did not take this action based on one particular case.  He took it based on the repeated number of cases of sexual abuse and misconduct that have taken place in the Central African Republic.  According to our numbers, we had 57 allegations of possible misconduct in the Central African Republic reported since the beginning of the mission in April 2014.  And that includes 11 cases of sexual abuse, possible sexual abuse.  Those cases are being investigated.  And the Secretary… I think today the Secretary‑General sent a strong message on accountability.

Question:  Can you provide similar numbers for the other missions?

Spokesman:  We'll try to do that.  I will come back to you.

Correspondent:  [Inaudible] have it for one mission.

Spokesman:  Edie, and then we'll come to you.

Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  How unprecedented is it for a Secretary‑General to fire a Special Representative or, for that matter, an Under‑Secretary‑General, somebody from his cabinet?

Spokesman:  I would agree, I think, that what's happened today is unprecedented.  It is not something that I have seen in terms of Special Representatives in the field in the 15 years that I've been here, an action taken like this by a Secretary‑General.  Is this somebody's tape recorder?  Oh, okay, great.  Just curious to know what's sitting in front of me.  Evelyn?

Question:  Yes.  Have the suspects in the latest sexual abuse and indiscriminate killings been identified?  Amnesty says they're from Rwanda and Cameroon.  Are they still running around loose, or will the [Secretary-General] identify them?

Spokesman:  The investigation is still ongoing.  It's ongoing by the mission, and when we have an update, I will share that with you.

Question:  And also, on your other peace question, was not Mr. [Ruud] Lubbers nicely pushed out?

Spokesman:  You know, I will… I think there have been departures of senior officials under different circumstances, and we can… those of us who have been here some time can go back and examine each case, but I would stand by my description of today's events as somewhat unprecedented.  Yes, ma'am?

Question:  [Inaudible]?

Spokesman:  If you could use your… my colleague Edie… my friend Edie will tell you how to use the microphone, and I will answer your question.  Okay, go ahead.

Question:  Today is the seventh anniversary of the signing of the six-point ceasefire agreement of the Russia‑Georgia war in 2008.  And while Georgia abides by all provisions of the document, Russia remains in material breach of it.  So, what's the position of the United Nations as one of the co‑chairs of the Geneva's group of… which works on implementation of the document?  In particular, of Russia's illegal activities and movement on the line, occupation line, and including the…

Spokesman:  Sure.  I mean, I hear your…  I hear your question.  Obviously, the Secretary-General very much recalls that this is the seven-year anniversary of the devastating August 2008 conflict.  From the very beginning of the conflict, the UN was actively engaged in calling for a quick cessation of hostilities, which culminated in the signing of the six-point ceasefire agreement on 12 August 2008.  The United Nations remains firmly committed to the Geneva International Discussions, otherwise known as the GID, which are jointly co-chaired by the United Nations, the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which started following the signing of the ceasefire agreement.  The Secretary-General notes that the Geneva International Discussions remains the only platform recognized by all participants to address the issues stemming from the conflict.  He commends the efforts of the United Nations Representative, Ambassador [Antti] Turunen and his team, working closely with their EU and OSCE counterparts, to help the GID participants move the discussions towards more substantive issues leading to a final peaceful resolution.  On this occasion, the Secretary-General calls on the GID participants to redouble their efforts to make concrete progress on all issues that are under discussion in the GID. He is also concerned about reports of continued “borderization” along the South Ossetia and Abkhazia administrative boundary lines.  He once again urges all relevant actors to continue to use existing mechanisms, including the GID and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), to discuss issues of concern, including the full implementation of the 12 August 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement.

Question:  [Inaudible]?

Spokesman:  Sorry?

Question:  Would you call it creeping annexation?  Because it continues since they signed this agreement.

Spokesman:  I'm sorry.  Would I call it what?

Correspondent:  Creeping annexation.

Spokesman:  I would stick to the words I've just used.  I think what's important from the Secretary‑General's point of view is that there are existing mechanisms that have been agreed to by all parties, and those need to be used and respected.  Mr. Abbadi, and then we'll…

Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  You mentioned some good news regarding Libya at the Geneva meeting.  How does one square that with the latest news that Prime Minister Abdullah al‑Thinni is stepping down?

Spokesman:  The latest reports we've seen on that is that, in fact, he was not stepping down.  But, we can check further.  Somini?

Question:  Can you just clarify what the Secretary‑General said about the Security Council session tomorrow; what's going to be discussed in the Security Council session tomorrow?  And second, does he… has he had any recent conversations with officials in France about their investigation into allegations against their soldiers?

Spokesman:  No, the meeting tomorrow will be for the Secretary‑General to deliver, I would imagine, a similar version of the message you heard today to the press.  He has changed the leadership of a Security Council‑mandated mission.  I think it is only normal for him to go to the Council and speak to the Council on that issue and, also, obviously, raise the broader issue of sexual exploitation, abuse and misconduct by peacekeepers.  As the Secretary‑General said, this is not a fight he can fight alone.  The Member States have a clear role in there.  I'm not aware of us having received any update.  Again, I think I addressed this yesterday from my limited knowledge of the French judicial process.  An investigation is being led by an investigative judge.  They are not in the habit of briefing outside parties as to where they are.  So, we're obviously very much looking forward to the conclusion of that investigation, but we do not have an update.  Yes, the gentleman next to you, and then we'll…

Question:  Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe of Japan reads a statement on the seventieth anniversary of the war's end.  As you know, there's lots of interest from the Japanese media and countries, too.  My question is:  what is the Secretary‑General's position on this?

Spokesman:  Sure.  I think the… if you look back, the Secretary‑General has been taking very consistent position during his various meetings with leaders of the region, including the leaders of Japan.  And that position is that they should move forward for a better future through genuine reconciliation and in the spirit of cooperation based on humble reflection of past history.  As you mentioned, now, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the Secretary‑General reiterates his sincere hopes that the anniversary will serve as a somber occasion to reflect on past history and to encourage all countries in the region to move forward together.  Yes, go ahead?

Question:  I want to ask about the figures you just referenced in terms of accusations made against MINUSCA.  You said 57 and 11.  Now, my understanding is that could mean that there's more than one victim for each allegation if, in fact, it involves victims.  Is that the case?  And also, if so, what is the kind of guidelines for when we're informed about those allegations?  We've been told about, I think, three or four now.  You said there was 11.

Spokesman:  I think there is annual reporting in the Secretary‑General's report to the General Assembly.  We try to report them as soon as we're able to, as we get them from the mission and our colleagues in DPKO.  Your questions about whether the 57 allegations refer to cases or individuals is an extremely valid one and one I should have thought about before reading it out.  So, I will get the details.  Mr. Klein, and then we'll move to the right, if we can move to the right after… I'm sorry, Joe.

Question:  That's okay.  I appreciate the commentary.  With regard to UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] and the statement you read out from the Secretary‑General earlier in the week, a couple related questions.  First of all, last year, UNRWA, under pressure from Hamas, suspended its human rights curriculum, and there have been statements since from Hamas that UNRWA has moved its curriculum in that area a lot closer to what Hamas wanted.  So, I'd like to know whether they're… A, if that's true and the Secretary‑General's opinion on that, and B, as I understand it, there's a $130 million some‑odd shortfall in the annual budget, much of which they would like to be able to replenish for education.  And I'm wondering why Jordan, which has about half of the Palestinian refugees, many of whom are now Jordanian citizens and they get $91 million or so, according to the most recent report I saw, just for education in the UNRWA budget.  Why isn't some of the money diverted from that, given that Jordan should have the responsibility to take care of its own citizens now who have been assimilated and move to… you know, to replenish this shortfall?

Spokesman:  On the first part of your question, I'm not aware there's been any change in the human rights curriculum of UNRWA.  I think UNRWA has been… has had a very strong… historically very strong curriculum on human rights, and I'm not aware of any change in that format.  On the money shortfall, I think we're talking about $101 million.  If that money is not forthcoming quickly, the school… the start of the school year will have to be postponed in over 700 schools, UNRWA schools, that are run through the region, with the devastating effect on children, who are not able to go to school.  I'm not sure I understand your part about Jordan.  Jordan has… hosts a large Palestinian refugee population, a number… you know, those who benefit from UNRWA’s educational system is following UNRWA's… obviously, following UNRWA's mandate.  I think Jordan as a whole, one would… could very well clearly say that is under tremendous pressure, financial pressure, for the various refugee communities they are hosting, most notably the Syrian refugees that have been streaming into the country.

Correspondent:  Well, I'm focusing on the question of Jordan's assimilation and making of citizens of… Wait, let me… the vast majority of the… those who with so‑called refugee status.  Normally speaking, when a refugee is absorbed into another country and given citizenship, its refugee status ends.  That's not the case with UNRWA still funding $90 million plus just for education to many Jordanian citizens and why Jordan is not asked to assume that responsibility if there's a shortfall.

Spokesman:  I think a lot of that has to do with the choices of the Jordanian Government, which I won't comment on.  UNRWA operates under a very specific mandate, and who has access to its services is also… comes under that mandate.  So, I don't have anything to add.  Yes, then we'll go to the back?

Question:  Thank you.  About sexual abuse allegations, there are certain media reports that say the UN Headquarter peacekeeping unit was only aware of these Amnesty International's concern two days ago, while the peacekeeping… peacekeeping commanders in Bangui were aware of this on 4 August.  So, it's, obviously, either failing to coordinate or intentionally not reporting.  My question is about the scope of investigation.  Will the commanders in Bangui be investigated in this?  And can you elaborate more on the scope…?

Spokesman:  I have no… I don't dispute the facts that you've just said, that, basically, the Secretary‑General himself became aware of this yesterday and so did the… so did the senior leader… you know, the peacekeeping officials here in… peacekeeping officials in New York became aware on 10 August, the day before the issuance of the press release.  I think you've highlighted a… an issue.  And so, I have no comment on what you've just… what you've just said.  And I would refer you back to the Secretary‑General's strong comments on the need for these things to be investigated and reported… reported thoroughly.  There is an investigation under way.  There are procedures in place when these allegations come up.  These are not troops that are not under… or police that are not under the UN mandate.  These are police officers and soldiers that are working under the direct UN mandate.  There are procedures in place.  Those procedures are being followed.  An investigation is going on.  If I have more to share, I will share that with you.  And, in addition, as I've just said, the inspector general of the… of peacekeeping is also going to Bangui himself.  I'll come back to you, Matthew.

Question:  [Inaudible] the Secretary‑General or his Special Envoy, de Mistura, in the loop on the current context taking place between the United States and Russia on Syria?  And, secondly, any progress on the establishment of mechanism for the use of chemical weapons in Syria?

Spokesman:  We are… we're still under the 20‑day mark, so we're obviously at work.  We will deliver in time… I very much hope we will deliver in time what we've been requested to deliver by the Security Council.  We're obviously following those… all the diplomatic moves on Syria extremely closely.  Yes, and then we'll go to Masood and…

Question:  Firstly, regarding Yemen, the World Food Programme recently made statements basically pointing out the illegality of deliberate starvation in war situations.  Can you… can you expound on what's actually taking place and who's to blame?  Are people being deliberately starved in Yemen?

Spokesman:  The deliberate starving of population is, indeed, a war crime and goes against international law.  What we're seeing here in Yemen is a failure to halt the fighting, which has blocked us from delivering the amount of aid, food, medicine and other aid, that we need to deliver.  And that's why we've been consistently calling on all the parties involved to deliver a humanitarian pause.

Question:  And just to follow up on Syria real quickly, Bashar Ja’afari, when he addressed the Council, he said that repeatedly he had brought reports about anti-Government fighters and anti-Government militants in Syria using chemical weapons to the Council, and he gave the impression that these reports were not taken seriously.  Is that accurate?

Spokesman:  I haven't seen those particular remarks.  We're obviously concerned at all the reports of fighting.  Masood?

Question:  Yes, sir.  On this continued sexual attacks against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, particularly after that incident in Duma, now, it seems that the Palestinians and now these so‑called vigilante gangs so that they can defend themselves against the settlers.  Is the Secretary‑General's Special Representative going to talk…?

Spokesman:  I think… I would refer you back to what the Secretary‑General has recently said on that, which is to call for a halt… halt of the violence and obviously restart to the peace process.  Yes?

Question:  Syrian opposition groups claim that dozens of civilians were killed yesterday in a US‑led coalition attack in the village of Atmeh, Idleb.  Do you have anything on that?

Spokesman:  I haven't seen those particular reports…

Correspondent:  That was an attack from…

Spokesman:  From the beginning of the conflict in Syria and from the beginning of the use of airstrikes by certain countries in Syria, we have called on all those involved to ensure that the greatest efforts are made to avoid any type of civilian casualties, and it's incumbent on those who are conducting airstrikes to ensure that they do not hit civilians.  Mr. Lee?

Question:  Sure.  The question is Burundi and something else, but on CAR [Central African Republic], and just as an aside, I'd like you to consider when there's a UN scandal or… like this, staying on topic until the questions are exhausted just so they can… one, so you can move on and, two, so we can get to the bottom of it.  When you say that the senior "leadership" of UN peacekeeping only became aware on 10 August, you're referring to Mr. Ladsous as the head of UN peacekeeping?

Spokesman:  I said… it's my understanding UN peacekeeping officials in New York were informed about the Amnesty International press release on 10 August, a day prior to…

Question:  Is it fair to ask who the head… when the head of UN peacekeeping became aware of it and if he will be on the call tomorrow and if the Secretary‑General has spoken with him?

Spokesman:  The acting… the head of the peacekeeping right… department right now is Mr. [Edmond] Mulet, as Mr. Ladsous is on leave, but Mr. Ladsous has been fully briefed and has been in touch with senior people here at Headquarters.

Question:  Including the Secretary‑General?

Spokesman:  And he's… the Secretary‑General's not spoken to him directly, but he has been in touch fully and he's fully aware of the current situation.  As to who will be on the call tomorrow, we will let you know once the call happens.

Correspondent:  And can I ask on Burundi, there's a document that's emerged where the Government has suspended all leave for military and police, given the unrest in the country.  So, I wanted know, one, if there's a comment on that and, two, more… bigger picture, whether there's any impact on this unrest of Burundi as a UN… as a peacekeeping contributor, both in the CAR, which we're talking about today, and in Somalia and whether the topic of Burundi's continued presence in these peacekeeping missions came up in the Secretary‑General's call with President [Pierre] Nkurunziza.

Spokesman:  I do not believe that came up in the Secretary‑General's call.  There are a number of Burundian troops still on.  Obviously, when the rotations happen, the human rights screening policy is fully applied.  As to your comment as to how I run the briefing questions, it's really… I hear you, but it's my prerogative.  Evelyn and then… Evelyn and then we'll…

Question:  What about Legionnaire’s Disease?

Spokesman:  You know what?  I will get you something on that, because I have something, but I don't…

Correspondent:  But I have a question.

Spokesman:  But I… okay.  Okay.  Go ahead, Evelyn.  Go ahead.

Question:  Okay.  I remember… is there any way to streamline the process of punishing perpetrators?  I remember Prince Zeid's report on peacekeeping and what should be done many years ago, which was, more or less, rejected.  Is there any chance of reviving parts of it?  Because it's very difficult for the UN…

Spokesman:  Prince Zeid's report had suggestions for the Secretariat, which quite a large number of them were followed.  But, it also had some very strong recommendations for Member States, and, again, as I said, I think to Somini, I would refer you back to what the Secretary‑General said, which is that this not a fight for him alone, that Member States have also to live up to their responsibilities in ensuring that those who are accused of abuse and misconduct are fully prosecuted.

Question:  Do you see any movement there?

Spokesman:  You know, I think you are a better observer of movement than I am.

Question:  Has the UN tested its facilities for legionella?

Spokesman:  E-mail me the question, and I will get you an answer.

Question:  Is it exempt from New York City rules?

Spokesman:  No, I have something on that, but I will…

Question:  Will you be responsive to the questions?

Spokesman:  I will be responsive.  Don't forget the ambassador of Georgia is coming, and I will go get him.

For information media. Not an official record.