HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 3 MAY 2017
U.N. SYRIA ENVOY VOICES CONCERNS OVER STEPPED UP CLASHES
- Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, spoke to reporters in Astana today and told them that the United Nations is very concerned at the reports of escalation in Syria, including reports of alleged air strikes. He noted those reports had come at a delicate moment in the Astana discussions where proposals to de-escalate the conflict are under very serious discussion.
- The Special Envoy called for an immediate investigation and for the immediate institution of measures to ensure that all strikes are halted. He urged all parties in Astana to press ahead tomorrow with de-escalation discussions and confidence-building measures.
SYRIA: U.N.-BACKED CONVOY DELIVERS AID TO BESIEGED AREA IN EASTERN GHOUTA
- Yesterday, a UN-International Committee of the Red Cross-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy delivered life-saving humanitarian assistance for 35,000 people in need in besieged Duma in eastern Ghouta, Rural Damascus. The area was last reached on 19 October 2016.
- The convoy included wheat flour, nutrition and health supplies, food rations, education materials, clothes and other much needed emergency items. Some surgical supplies, medicine and health equipment were removed or reduced in quantity prior to loading.
- The convoy to Duma highlights that when there is enough political will, security and access challenges can be overcome and life-saving assistance can reach those in dire need of assistance.
- The UN remains deeply concerned by the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in eastern Ghouta. Plans are in place to reach other areas in eastern Ghouta, as approved under the April/May plan. Some 400,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance in eastern Ghouta overall. We call on the parties and those with influence over them to take the necessary actions to ensure that other areas in eastern Ghouta can be reached as soon as possible.
HEAD OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME WRAPS UP VISITS TO LEBANON, SYRIA
- The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, today concluded a three-day visit to Lebanon and Syria where he assessed the growing humanitarian needs of vulnerable Syrians and met senior government officials and partners to discuss humanitarian operations in both countries.
- In his first visit to WFP operations since assuming office last month, Mr. Beasley spent time with Syrian refugee families in the Bekaa Valley and Beirut, and met displaced women and children at a WFP food distribution centre in Damascus.
- In his meetings, Beasley appealed for regular, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to deliver urgently needed food assistance to people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas across war-torn Syria. He commended Lebanon for its generosity in hosting over one million Syrian refugees.
SOUTH SUDAN: NO GOVERNMENT SOLDIERS TRANSPORTED ON U.N. FLIGHTS
- In response to questions on accusations by the Sudan People's Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO) against the UN Mission in South Sudan claiming the mission participated in operations to airlift government soldiers, the Spokesman confirmed that no government soldiers were transported on UN flights.
ITALY BECOMES 93RD U.N. MEMBER STATE TO PAY FULL DUES
- Italy has paid its regular budget dues in full, becoming the 93rd Member State to do so.
***The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Yukio Takasu, Under-Secretary-General for Management, who spoke to journalists on the financial situation of these United Nations.