DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York
27 July 2005
Following is a near verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
The Security Council just held closed consultations to consider a request from British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry for a Security Council meeting to discuss the report on the fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe, made recently by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka. Those consultations have ended and the Council is going into a closed meeting on that same subject.
This afternoon, at 3, the Council will hold a closed meeting, followed by consultations, on Georgia. During the afternoon consultations, Security Council members will also consider the text of a draft presidential statement on the attacks that took place over the weekend in Sharm el-Shaikh, Egypt, with a view to holding a meeting afterward to adopt the statement.
Turning to Côte d’Ivoire, the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire, Major General Abdoulaye Fall, yesterday visited
Anyama and Agboville to assess the situation in the ground, following the reports of attacks on those two towns. He was accompanied by the Chief of Staff of Côte d’Ivoire’s armed forces, as well as the chief of the United Nations Human Rights section in that country.
As a result of the visit, the Force Commander established that there was no evidence of significant combat operations between the Ivorian security forces and the alleged assailants. There was also no evidence of large-scale killings or illegal detentions of the civilian population. And we expect a press release with more information later today from the Mission.
The report transmitted by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the work done by a three-member Commission of Experts concerning serious crimes in what was then East Timor in 1999 is now out as a document.
The Commission recommends that Indonesia strengthen its judicial and prosecutorial capacity by receiving advice from a team of international judicial and legal experts, preferably from Asia. It further recommends that Indonesia’s Attorney General’s Office review its prosecutions and reopen some, as may be appropriate.
If the recommendations are not implemented within six months from a date to be determined by the Secretary-General, the report adds, the Commission recommends that the Security Council adopt a resolution to create an ad hoc criminal tribunal for Timor-Leste. And that tribunal would be located in a third State.
Turning to Kyrgyzstan, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that it has started airlifting 455 Uzbek refugees from Jalal-Abad and Osh, in western Kyrgyzstan, to that country’s capital, Bishkek, pending a further humanitarian transfer.
UNHCR has called for the emergency resettlement of this group, over concerns for their safety and the sensitive asylum climate in Kyrgyzstan. UNHCR is currently discussing the next stage of the transfer from Bishkek with various countries but plans are still being finalised. And we have more detail in information released by UNHCR available upstairs.
**Democratic Republic of Congo
Out on the racks today is a report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, recommending, among other things, that the existing sanctions regime be maintained until well into the post-electoral period.
The Group observes that the inter-State cooperation in the Great Lakes region is one of the most powerful tools available to counter violations of the arms embargo, which has been in effect in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2003 and countrywide since April of this year.
And we have a humanitarian update from Niger. The World Food Programme said today that it will be using a series of airlifts to deliver emergency rations to 80,000 victims of the current food crisis. This is in addition to supplies already being trucked in to the victims.
The first airplane will take off Thursday morning from WFP’s humanitarian depot in Brindisi, Italy, and will take supplies to Niger’s capital, Niamey. It will be followed by two more flights over the coming days. And a press release from WFP is also available upstairs.
United Nations agencies meeting in an AIDS conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are calling for caution in response to findings that circumcision could be effective in reducing HIV infection among men.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),says that more research is needed and that even if the findings are confirmed, it won’t mean that men are able to prevent HIV infection through circumcision alone. And we have the Agency’s full statement available upstairs.
The informal General Assembly consultations on the revised draft outcome document for the September summit, which were to start this morning, have been rescheduled to begin tomorrow morning, at 10.
**Press Conference by Japanese Foreign Minister
And lastly today, at 4:30 p.m., the Foreign Minister of Japan, Nobutaka Machimura, will be here, accompanied by Kenzo Oshima, the Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, and Mr. Hatsuhisa Takashima, the Press Secretary for the Japanese Foreign Ministry. And they will be available here at the press briefing room at 4:30.
And that is it for me. Any questions?
**Questions and Answers
Question: I want to know what the Italian ambassador said yesterday in a speech. He accused one of the Member States of using some extraordinary means, I mean illegal means, to influence the voting on the resolution and so forth, on the UN reform project. Does the United Nations have an idea as to what this is, which MemberState has done this, and [inaudible]...
Spokesman: You know, I think we’ve all seen the statements, heard the statements, made in the General Assembly over the past few days. The
Member States are currently in an intense debate on reform of the Organization, and especially Security Council reform. The Secretary-General would urge all the parties to continue to engage in these discussions in a constructive and calm manner.
Question: Also, can you tell me, now that Mr. Maurice Strong is gone, does the Secretary-General intend to appoint any other person in his place for the North Korea talks...
Spokesman: The situation is unchanged. As you know, we are not one of the six parties in the six-party talks, but we are continuing to follow the situation closely with our staff in the Department of Political Affairs.
Question: Louise Arbour is going to brief the Security Council tomorrow. Is she going to specifically speak on Zimbabwe, do you know the agenda?
Spokesman: No, I’ll have to check. I don’t believe she’s speaking specifically on Zimbabwe, but I can get you guidance right after the briefing. [The Spokesman’s Office later announced that the topics for Ms. Arbour’s meeting with the Council would include the Sudan, her trip to West Africa, Afghanistan and Timor-Leste.]
Question: I may have missed if this has been asked, but I notice that there was a report from Zimbabwe newspaper saying that Mrs. Tibaijuka had admitted that she was under pressure to produce a negative report on Zimbabwe’s clean-up operation. It quotes President Robert Mugabe as saying it emerged that China has told Britain not to bring the damning report on the agenda of the Security Council. Can you tell us what actually happened?
Spokesman: I think, on the second part of your question about the discussion in the Council, they’re exactly that -- discussions in the Council -- and we’ll see what comes out.
On the reports from Harare that you quote, I think that Ms. Tibaijuka’s report is clear, complete on the situation on the ground and on the humanitarian situation. And we’re not going to go any further in responding to those allegations made in newspapers in Harare.
Question: No pressure?
Spokesman: It’s clear. The report speaks for itself, and we’ll leave it at that.
Question: It seems that the situation in Niger is not getting much better. Only one third of the assistance promised has arrived, and a few days ago, 20 NGOs have met and deplored the lack of mobilizing [inaudible] on the part of international institutions. Is the decision of the World Food Programme to fly some food to some other areas in response to that criticism?
Spokesman: Not that I’m aware. I think we, from this podium, and other colleagues in United Nations agencies have been flagging to the international community the growing crisis in Niger, and we’ve brought it to the attention of the donor community. So we have mobilized with the resources we have on hand. Obviously more money is needed for that, this specific project -- and I understand more money has been coming in -- so this specific WFP response is really part of the growing trend over the last few weeks or months, in fact, in reaction to the crisis in Niger.
Question: I’m sorry, one last Zimbabwe question. Can you tell us who in the Secretariat has been in contact with Mr. Mugabe since the report was issued, and specifically, do you know if Mrs. Tibaijuka has spoken with Mr. Mugabe?
Spokesman: No, I’m not aware of any phone conversations between United Nations officials and Mr. Mugabe since the Secretary-General spoke to him a few days ago, and you’d been made aware of that situation.
Thank you very much.
* *** *
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|