HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 7 AUGUST 2018
SECRETARY-GENERALTO MEET JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER IN TOKYO
- The Secretary-General has arrived in Tokyo.
- Tomorrow, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before traveling to Nagasaki, where he will meet with the city’s Mayor and also with some hibakusha, or survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- On Thursday, he will take part in the 73rd Nagasaki Peace Ceremony.
ZIMBABWE: U.N. CHIEF SPEAKS TO PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF OPPOSITION IN PHONE CALLS
- The Secretary-General spoke by telephone yesterday with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and with Nelson Chamisa, President of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance.
- In his two calls, the Secretary-General made clear that he counted on the President of Zimbabwe to ensure that the security forces show maximum restraint. He also encouraged the opposition to pursue their electoral grievances through legal channels. He added that any legal decision taken by the court on the election results would need to be independent.
- In his conversations, the Secretary-General stressed the UN’s continued support for Zimbabwe in the post-electoral period and his hope that all Zimbabweans will move forward in unity.
U.N. RELIEF AGENCY SAYS LACK OF FUEL CREATES RISKS FOR POPULATION IN GAZA
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that emergency fuel stocks at a number of critical health, water and sanitation facilities in Gaza have almost run out, creating enormous risks for the population. These facilities depend on emergency fuel to power back-up generators that are required due to Gaza’s energy crisis, which leaves the population with no more than four hours of electricity per day.
- Humanitarian partners estimate that at least 60,000 litres of emergency fuel should be swiftly delivered to 47 critical health and water sanitation and hygiene facilities across Gaza to ensure minimum service provision over the coming four days.
- The immediate lack of fuel is due to Israeli restrictions on fuel imports into Gaza. These restrictions were imposed last week in response to continued launches of incendiary kites from Gaza into Israel, which have caused extensive property damage.
- Fuel restrictions also apply to UN-procured emergency fuel for Gaza. By mid-August, funding for UN-supported emergency fuel programmes will run out.
- To avoid a major crisis, restrictions on the entry of fuel need to be lifted, and donors are urged to provide $4.5 million to cover emergency fuel support in Gaza through the end of the year.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES NEW STEP IN REVITALIZATION OF AGREEMENT BY SOUTH SUDAN PARTIES
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General welcomed the signing of the Agreement of Outstanding issues on Governance and Responsibility Sharing by the South Sudanese parties in Khartoum, Sudan, on 5 August, as an important step in the revitalization of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).
- The Secretary-General urged all parties to work in good faith and demonstrate their commitment to fully implement and to finalize the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict as soon as possible.
HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN C.A.R. MEETS WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS OF VOLATILE PK5 NEIGHBORHOOD
- The peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, reports that as part of continued efforts to restore peace in the volatile PK5 neighbourhood of the capital, Bangui, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Parfait Anyanga Onanga, met with 18 community leaders from that neighborhood and surrounding areas.
- Elsewhere in the country, the Mission reports that it increased its patrols in Kouango, in the central prefecture of Ouaka, after receiving information that anti-Balaka elements had clashed with Union for Peace (UPC) elements in recent days.
- Also in Ouaka, over the weekend, UN peacekeepers exchanged fire with anti-Balaka elements close to Grimari after encountering two roadblocks erected by the group; no casualties were reported.
- Further west in Nana-Gribizi, peacekeepers were recently deployed to protect the population in Dere village after clashes between anti-Balaka elements and members of the Fulani community prompted displacement of the local population to a nearby village.
HEAD OF W.H.O. TO VISIT D.R.CONGO TO SEE FIRST-HAND EBOLA RESPONSE
- In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the number of confirmed Ebola cases stands at 16, with a probable 27 additional cases – a total of 43 cases, including 34 deaths.
- WHO also says there are 31 suspected cases being currently observed.
- WHO has 30 staff on the ground and a Mobile Lab has been deployed as of 2 August. Contact tracing has started and so far over 900 contacts have been registered in the town of Mangina that was the epicenter of this outbreak, some 30 kilometres from Beni.
- A WHO vaccination team will also be deployed soon.
- The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Deputy Director-General Dr. Peter Salama will be travelling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Thursday to see first-hand the response being put in place.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY ASSISTS RETURN OF SOMALI REFUGEES FROM YEMEN
- The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, today said more than 2,000 Somali refugees have returned to their home country from Yemen since 2017.
- The returns are part of an assistance programme carrried out jointly with the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and authorities in Yemen and Somalia.
- Yemen currently hosts over 270,000 refugees, the vast majority of whom are Somali. The ongoing conflict in Yemen has affected not just Yemenis but also refugees and this has added to the urgent need to increase humanitarian support and find lasting solutions for these people. Through the programme, UNHCR provides a cash grant to procure basic necessities for the journey back while IOM assists with transportation and medical care. UNHCR also facilitates exit permits and travel documentation in cooperation with the Yemeni and Somali authorities.
U.N.H.C.R. WELCOMES REOPENING OF BRAZIL-VENEZUELA BORDER AFTER BRIEF CLOSURE
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today welcomed the decision by the Brazilian Supreme Court to overturn a decision by a federal judge to close the border with Venezuela and suspend admission of people fleeing that country.
- The border was briefly closed yesterday and UNHCR reported that some 200 Venezuelans were not able to finalize their immigration procedures.
- Until yesterday, the Brazilian Government had been ensuring access to its territory for Venezuelan refugees and migrants in need of protection and provided them access to basic rights and services. UNHCR has been supporting the Government as it keeps the borders open and allows people to enter the country to find a safe place to restart their lives.
- UNHCR has a team present at the border and will continue to monitor the situation.
U.N. AND RUSSIAN FEDERATION HOLD FOURTH ANNUAL AVIATION TALKS
- On 6 August 2018, the United Nations and the Russian Federation held their fourth annual aviation talks at the UN Headquarters in New York. The United Nations was represented by Mr. Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, while the delegation of the Russian Federation was led by Mr. Alexander Neradko, Director General of the Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA).
- The parties discussed issues pertaining to the Russian Federation aviation services being provided to the UN peace operations. The two parties also discussed aviation safety and aviation security related issues. Both parties acknowledged the increasing dangers of operating in peace operation environments including certain airspace where little or no air traffic control exists. The UN briefed the Russian delegation on the measures that have been put in place by the Organization to mitigate risks. In this regard, the importance of air operators promptly reporting any incidents to the UN was acknowledged by both parties. This joint effort will help to prevent future incidents and will contribute to aviation safety and security in the UN field missions.
- Both parties also agreed to continue enhancing the appropriate information exchanges between the UN Department of Field Support and FATA.
- The United Nations briefed the Russian Federation on the UN management reform process with a focus on Supply Chain Management as well as on the Request For Proposal solicitation methodology. The UN further communicated how this methodology benefits the UN and the entire international market including Russian vendors. The registration statuses of some Russian Federation aviation service providers were also discussed and the need of those interested vendors to follow the standards and current UN Technical and Operational Evaluation Criteria used to evaluate new vendors was explained to the delegation. At the request of the Russian Federation, the UN agreed to organize a business seminar for Russian air operators in the nearest future and to conduct such seminars as an aside to future annual aviation talks. Both parties agreed on the importance of ensuring the transparency of the RFP, and the United Nations agreed to continue the practice of holding international conferences for the UN aviation vendors on a regular basis.
- The Russian Federation noted the efforts of the Organization to ensure timely payment for services provided by air operators, and the UN expressed appreciation for the Russian Federation’s strong commitment to the UN aviation and in ensuring that the UN air operators uphold aviation standards and international requirements.
- The United Nations and the Russian Federation agreed to continue holding regular annual meetings, with the next meeting to take place in Moscow tentatively in the summer of 2019 in conjunction with MAKS-2019.