Daily Press Briefing
Elements of the Noon Briefing:
SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN NEGOTIATIONS
I have a statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General on the Sudan and South Sudan negotiations.
The Secretary-General is concerned by the lack of progress in the negotiations on post-independence issues and the possibility of further escalation of tensions following unilateral decisions taken by both Governments over their oil dispute.
The Secretary-General calls on the parties to re-commit to the negotiation process scheduled to start today in Addis Ababa and reach agreements on all outstanding issues. The moment has come for the leaders of both countries to make the necessary compromises, once again, that will guarantee a peaceful and prosperous future for both Nations.
This morning the Security Council was briefed in closed session by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe and discussed Sudan sanctions.
This afternoon, the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, will brief the Council in closed session to discuss South Sudan.
And also on South Sudan, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says that 30,000 Sudanese refugees have already been registered in Ethiopia and South Sudan so far this year.
Since June of last year, more than 130,000 Sudanese have been driven to these two countries following the fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The agency adds that, in Ethiopia, the pace of relocation from border areas has picked up in recent weeks and the two existing camps in the Assosa region have reached full capacity.
The Refugee Agency is seeking additional funds of $145 million to relocate the refuges from the border areas, provide them with basic relief items and services, and build additional refugee settlements.
The Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Helsinki over the weekend to deliver a keynote speech on global governance.
She will then continue on to Doha to represent the Secretary-General at the closing ceremony of the Non-Aligned Movement’s 3rd Ministerial Meeting on the Advancement of Women.
The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York on Thursday of next week.
Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, is concerned about reports of the deteriorating conditions of a Palestinian in administrative detention who is on a hunger strike.
Mr. Serry has called on the Government of Israel to do everything in its power to preserve the health of the prisoner and to resolve the case while abiding by all legal obligations under international law.
During his recent visit to the region, the Secretary-General discussed the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody with the Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs.
Mr. Serry’s office is following up on some of the issues related to the question of prisoners, particularly on the use of administrative detention, which should only be employed in exceptional circumstances, for as short a period as possible, and without prejudice to the rights guaranteed to prisoners.
The United Nations Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) has expressed its serious concerns to the authorities about an incident involving attacks against Tawerga internally displaced people (IDPs) on the morning of 6 February at the Janzur Marine Academy near Tripoli.
The Mission has confirmed that seven people were killed – three inside the Academy and four during a street demonstration by the Tawergas. Three of the dead were children and two were women. Nineteen people were injured.
The Mission welcomes the action by military police of the national army in restoring security, and calls upon the government to conduct an investigation into the incident and bring those responsible to justice.
Today at 3 pm, here in the auditorium, there will be a press conference by H.E. Mr. Héctor Marcos Timerman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina.
And then immediately after, at 3:45 pm, there will be a press conference by H.E. Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations.
SOUTH SUDAN – UN STAFF
I was asked yesterday about national staff in South Sudan.
The UN Mission in South Sudan has taken the complaints by national staff members very seriously and adopted the necessary measures to address them. The Special Representative for the Secretary-General, Hilde Johnson, and the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General, Lise Grande, held meetings with representatives of the national staff association this week and discussed their concerns and the way forward.
NORTH LAWN BUILDING
I was also asked about a recent incident in the North Lawn Building here at Headquarters involving a noose.
It’s the policy of the Organization not to comment on cases that are still under review. And this case is indeed still being reviewed.
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