Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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ENGLISH 16-Jun-2017 00:23:23
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, met today with President Joseph Kabila, in Kinshasa, as part of a five day trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Throughout his visit, Mr. Lacroix reaffirmed the UN's commitment to support the full implementation of the 31 December Agreement and the UN Mission’s efforts to help create a peaceful environment conducive to the holding of free, fair and inclusive elections by the end of the year.

Mr. Lacroix conveyed the UN's deep concern over the continuing violence and grave human rights abuses in the Kasais. He underscored the importance of ensuring accountability for crimes committed by all sides and pledged the UN's full support in ensuring that those responsible for the killing of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán are brought to justice. On Wednesday, he travelled to Kananga, the capital of Kasai province, to express the UN's solidarity with the people of the region and discuss ongoing efforts to strengthen the UN Mission’s presence there.

In Goma, Mr. Lacroix exchanged views with the Governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, on how the UN Mission can best help address security challenges and inter-communal tensions in the province.

The Office of the Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has completed two days of joint technical meetings at the United Nations in Geneva with opposition experts from the High Negotiations Committee, the Cairo platform and the Moscow platform. These meetings took place in the context of the consultative process on constitutional and legal issues established by the Special Envoy during the sixth round of the intra-Syrian talks.

The opposition experts worked to develop joint technical options regarding the schedule and process for drafting a new constitution and its popular approval, and the principles involved, in the context of a negotiated political transition process within the framework of relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

Participants looked forward to continuing technical discussions in advance of a future round of the formal intra-Syrian talks. To this end, they agreed to consult their political leadership and to meet again at the invitation of the Office of the Special Envoy in early July.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, briefed the Security Council this morning. He said that there had been tangible progress over the past months in the implementation of the peace agreement, including with the holding of the conference for national harmony and the installation of interim authorities in five regions.

However, Mr. Annadif warned that these positive developments could be annihilated by tensions between the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad and the Plateforme, which have turned into inter-community conflict. He called on the leaders of these two movements to put an end to the killings of innocent people.

Mr. Annadif further noted that the UN Mission in Mali would strengthen its support to the implementation of the agreement; increase its good offices role; continue to support the international mediation; and strengthen its partnership with the Malian armed forces to enhance their capacity and their redeployment across the country.

The members of the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon welcome today's agreement of a new electoral framework. The ISG sees this as a further step towards the reactivation of Lebanon's institutions of state and the normalisation of Lebanese political life, which will in turn be conducive to addressing pressing concerns of Lebanon's citizens, and to enhanced cooperation with the international community.

In the spirit of continued political progress, members of the ISG stress that the timely conduct of peaceful and transparent parliamentary elections, in accordance with the Constitution, and reflecting the country's democratic traditions, will be important to sustain progress achieved to date.

UNICEF warned today that at least 750,000 children could be cut off from safe drinking water after a surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine.

UNICEF warns that nearly 3 million people rely on water infrastructure which is now in the line of fire.

Some 400,000 people – one quarter of them children – were not able to access water this week following the destruction of filtration stations by shelling. Urgent repairs were completed last night.

UNICEF says that children cut off from clean drinking water can quickly contract water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, stressing that all sides of the conflict must allow urgent repairs when water sources are destroyed and immediately stop the indiscriminate shelling of vital civilian infrastructure.

Yesterday at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, 144 countries and the European Union approved a set of guidelines to help countries ensure that artists and producers benefit fully and fairly from digital information technologies at the stages of creation, production and distribution.

The guidelines address the issue of fair pay for artists as well as the need to ensure an inclusive offer of content to the public that will not discriminate against cultural goods on the basis of provenance, language or social factors. They also reaffirm the need to respect human rights in the digital environment, notably freedom of expression, artistic freedom and gender equality.

Today is the International Day of Family Remittances. The Day recognises the significant financial contribution migrant workers make to the well-being of their families back home and to the sustainable development of their countries of origin.

The Day also aims to encourage the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, to collaborate to maximize the impact of these funds in the developing world.
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