Daily Press Briefing and guests (Hervé Ladsous and Anthony Banbury) on the occasion of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, and Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support, Anthony Banbury on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
By the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General.
Elements of the Noon Briefing:
NOON GUESTS TODAY
Today, being the International Day of Peacekeepers, I have as my guests, Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Tony Banbury, Assistant Secretary-General in the Department of Field Support.
Earlier today, marking the International Day of Peacekeepers, the Secretary-General today honored the 112 people who died while serving under the United Nations flag in 2011.
Speaking at a wreath-laying ceremony this morning, he said that the difference between an ordinary person and a hero is that the hero voluntarily braves danger to save others.
The Secretary-General also paid tribute to the 120,000 UN peacekeepers serving around the world.
He also presided over the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal ceremony just a short while ago.
In his remarks to the Security Council this morning the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said Israel has taken steps to address the concerns of Palestinian prisoners.
He noted that the agreement reflects the positive impact of the quiet direct engagement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and that the Secretary-General had been engaged from the beginning, indicating concern for the health of the prisoners.
He also briefed the Council on the latest developments regarding Palestinian reconciliation. In addition the Special Coordinator reiterated the Secretary-General’s hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s expanded coalition provides an opportunity for Israel to embark on a meaningful renewal of the peace process.
He reported that the situation in the area of operations of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has remained generally quiet, but that air violations by Israel continued on an almost daily basis.
He told the Council that continued killing in Syria is of extreme concern to the Secretary-General and that the peaceful resolution of the crisis is a priority focus for the United Nations as a whole.
This afternoon the Council will meet in closed consultations on the situation in Yemen.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Sunday that the “indiscriminate and possibly deliberate” killing of villagers in the El Houleh area of Homs in Syria may amount to crimes against humanity or other forms of international crime.
Ms Pillay has called for an immediate and unfettered investigation of the incident by an independent and impartial international body. Noting that the Syrian government has a legal and moral responsibility to fully assist such an investigation, and to take concrete steps to prevent any similar acts.
Yesterday, Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), began a visit to Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
Mr. Fedotov met President Hamid Karzai today and he will also meet government ministers and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Jan Kubis.
Mr. Fedotov is also launching the Country Programme of UNODC for Afghanistan for 2012-2014, visiting a poppy eradication site and a border crossing, and he is also meeting women and children from a post-release transitional house for female ex-prisoners.
In Tajikistan, Mr. Fedotov will meet President Emomali Rahmon and attend the opening session of the First Tripartite Ministerial meeting with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Mr. Fedotov will also co-chair a regional meeting of the Task Force on Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking in Tajikistan.
The United Nations Integrated Office for Guinea Bissau has released a press release condemning in the strongest terms the use of force by members of Bissau Guinean security and defense forces on Friday, 25 May, against a group of demonstrators concentrated in front of its premises while it was hosting a meeting of international partners accredited to Guinea Bissau.
The Mission is reminding those responsible that the right to freedom of assembly, expression and association is guaranteed in the national legislation as well as in the international conventions ratified or adopted by Guinea-Bissau, and that they should be strictly respected and protected by competent authorities.
There is more on that press release in my office.
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