HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 27 JULY 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES HOPE FOR CONTINUED DIALOGUE IN WAKE OF CRISIS IN JERUSALEM’S OLD CITY
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the news that the crisis in the Old City of Jerusalem has been defused, in line with the status quo at the holy sites before 14 July. He hopes that the dialogue will continue and contribute to creating an atmosphere of trust amongst the communities. The Secretary-General will remain engaged with all stakeholders to this effect.
DESPITE DIP IN VIOLENCE, CIVILIANS CONTINUE TO FACE DIFFICULTIES IN SYRIA, SENIOR U.N. RELIEF OFFICIAL TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
- Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller briefed the Security Council on the latest humanitarian developments in Syria by videoconference from Amman, Jordan. She was speaking on behalf of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien.
- She told the Council that, while we continue to see a reduction of violence in some areas since the 4 May Memorandum on de-escalation, and particularly in Dar’a governorate in the last weeks, the humanitarian and protection situation remains extremely difficult for civilians in many parts of the country. She noted the resumption of military operations in the besieged area of eastern Ghouta in Rural Damascus and Jobar neighbourhood in Damascus city.
- She said that the United Nations and partners are responding to those who have been displaced and is ready to provide support in Raqqa city, as soon as access and security conditions allow. The health situation, particularly the low availability of trauma care services, is a major concern, in view of the intense fighting and shifting frontlines. She added that we continue to engage with relevant parties on the ground to ensure that medical care is available to those who need it, but a lot more needs to be done.
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF U.N. MISSION IN CYPRUS
- This morning, the Security Council passed a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January of next year.
- The Council welcomed the progress that has been made in the leader-led progress since 2014 and encouraged the sides and all participants involved to sustain their commitment to a settlement under UN auspices.
U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF SADDENED BY DEADLY CRASH OF U.N. HELICOPTER IN NORTHERN MALI
- In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said he is deeply saddened by the news of a helicopter crash yesterday near Tabankort, in Gao region in northern Mali. The crash claimed the lives of two German peacekeepers.
- The helicopter was conducting surveillance over Tabankort in the aftermath of violent clashes between the signatory armed groups, Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad and Plateforme, which erupted on 11 July.
- We join Mr. Lacroix in conveying our profound sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims and in expressing our condolences to the Government of Germany, and to the personnel of the UN Mission.
D.R. CONGO: LEADER OF ARMED GROUP SURRENDERS TO U.N. MISSION
- Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, founder and leader of Nduma defense of Congo (NDC) has surrendered yesterday to the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
- He has been transferred to Goma. Mr. Sheka is wanted since 2011 under a national warrant for crimes against humanity including for mass rapes.
- Mr. Sheka presented himself to MONUSCO in full awareness of the fact that he is wanted by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to stand trial for alleged crimes.
- MONUSCO is committed to supporting the relevant judicial authorities in pursuing criminal prosecutions for all human rights violations, in accordance with the rule of law.
- MONUSCO has a standing agreement with the DRC government to ensure that all persons in the Mission’s care who are handed over to the national authorities are treated in accordance with all relevant human rights standards.
U.N. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ELECTS NEW BUREAU
- The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected its new Bureau for 2017-2018 at its Organizational Session today.
- The new President of ECOSOC is Ambassador Marie Chatardová of the Czech Republic. The other Bureau members are Ambassador Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov of Tajikistan; Ambassador Inga Rhonda King of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Ambassador Marc Pecsteen of Belgium; and the forthcoming member of the Bureau from the Region of Africa.