Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon.  Welcome to the briefing.

**Security Council

Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, spoke at the Security Council’s open meeting on the Middle East this morning, and he said that it is a moment of increased risk and instability across the region, with a need for quick and concerted action to address the humanitarian situation, both inside and outside Syria.

Mr. Feltman said that the United Nations is still in discussions with the Government of Syria on the scope and modalities of the technical mission to investigate alleged uses of chemical weapons in Syria.  The Secretary-General’s position is that, at this time, the mission should investigate the allegations pertaining to incidents in Aleppo and Homs.  While awaiting access to the Syrian territory, the experts of the mission are studying the information on the alleged incidents of the use of chemical weapons provided to them by Member States.

He also noted that, in an encouraging development, Israel and Palestine reached an important agreement yesterday at the executive board of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, which allows for an expert mission to the Old City of Jerusalem in mid-May. Mr. Feltman added that the moment of opportunity for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process must not be lost.

**United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

And just to add on UNESCO, they said today that the expert mission will examine the state of conservation of Jerusalem’s Old City and its Walls, which is a World Heritage site.  The last monitoring mission to there took place in 2004, and the next one will take place following requests by the World Heritage Committee in 2010, 2011 and last year.  There is more information on this available on UNESCO’s website.


**Richard Falk

We were asked yesterday about Professor Richard Falk’s latest commentary.

I can tell you the Secretary-General has seen the commentary and he has been briefed on it.  The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments.  The Secretary-General immediately condemned the Boston Marathon bombing and he strongly believes that nothing can justify such an attack.

Professor Falk is appointed by the Member States of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, not by the Secretary-General.  The Secretary-General is hopeful that Special Rapporteurs such as Mr. Falk understand that — while they have independent status — their public comments can undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations.


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For information media • not an official record