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DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

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

6 January 2005

Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Marie Okabe, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon.

**Tsunami Update – Egeland

Starting the briefing for us today is Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, here to give us our daily update on the tsunami assistance.

Over to you, sir.

[Covered separately.]

We will conduct the daily noon briefing immediately after Mr. Egeland leaves the room.

**Secretary-General Launches Tsunami Appeal

Good afternoon.

I am not going to go too much into detail on the tsunami round-up. You can read it in the highlights of the briefing later since we’ve just had a lengthy briefing by Jan Egeland.

But just to let you know that the Secretary-General, at his press conference in Jakarta at midday after he launched the flash appeal, urged the international community to “stay with us for the longer term”.

He said he would encourage an early warning system for South Asia and pledged to work for its establishment.

He also held a number of bilateral meetings with the leaders of 10 countries in the margins of that meeting. And the recurrent themes in these meetings were the coordination efforts for the victims of the tsunami, elections in Iraq and UN reform.

The text of his as-delivered text of the Secretary-General’s statement, as well as copies of his press conference transcript, are available upstairs, as are a number of press releases from the various UN agencies on their part of the flash appeal that was just launched.

**Security Council

And here in New York, the Security Council is holding consultations on the Central African Republic this morning, and the Secretary-General’s Representative, General Lamine Cissé, briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s report on that country.

In that report, the Secretary-General says that the general situation in the Central African Republic is gradually improving in spite of well-known shortcomings in governance and human rights. In the political field, the situation is developing under acceptable conditions, as was evident in the successful holding of a constitutional referendum last month.

We expect the Security Council President to read a press statement on the Central African Republic following this morning’s consultations.

Then this afternoon, at 3, the Council will hold consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will be briefed on the latest report on the UN Mission in that country by the head of that mission, Special Representative William Swing.

**DRC/SG Report

The report, which I just mentioned, is out today on the Web site. And in it, the Secretary-General calls for the governments of the DRC and Rwanda to work together to restore peace in the eastern part of that country -- that’s the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He adds that the DRC’s neighbours have yet to provide the support necessary to establish peaceful conditions in the country’s east.

He also notes that the human rights situation remains deeply disturbing, and that the difficulties encountered in reforming the DRC’s security sector remain daunting.

And to remind you, tomorrow, William Swing, the Special Representative, together with Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will join us here to brief you on the latest developments in the DRC at the noon briefing.

We will also have our daily update on the tsunami as well.

**Iraq

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi meanwhile, today represented the United Nations at the Conference of Foreign Ministers of Iraq’s Neighbouring Countries, which ended in Amman, Jordan, with a call for all segments of the Iraqi people to participate in the upcoming elections.

The conference, in its final statement, also recognized the leading role of the United Nations in supporting the political process in Iraq and expressed appreciation for its role in promoting national dialogue and consensus building regarding the constitution that is to be decided by the people of Iraq in 2005.

In an address to the conference, Qazi reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to continue to support the Iraqis during the transitional process and to do whatever possible to help Iraq.

Earlier in the day, Qazi held bilateral talks with senior officials from neighbouring countries participating in the Conference, meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Kuwait and Turkey and the head of Iran’s delegation to the Conference.

Talks focused on the situation in Iraq and efforts made to advance the political process, as well as the role the United Nations is playing in this regard.

**Iran

And the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it will be sending inspectors in the coming days to the Parchin military site in Iran. The inspectors will take environmental samples, to determine whether nuclear activity has taken place there.

Iran agreed to the Agency’s request for access to the site, on the basis of transparency, following allegations that the site was linked to nuclear weapons testing.

**SmallIslands Conference

And finally, we have two press releases regarding the upcoming conference on the small island developing States taking place in Mauritius from 10 to 14 January.

And that’s all I have for you.

And if you have any questions for me, I’ll take them. If not, have a good afternoon.

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