Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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09-Apr-2018 00:17:07
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is in China, where he arrived Saturday night.

Yesterday, he met with President Xi Jinping. The Secretary-General congratulated President Xi on his recent re-election and expressed appreciation for the President’s support to the work of the United Nations. He said the United Nations continues to count on China’s leadership and commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including through international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Secretary-General also commended China’s consistent and constructive advocacy for a diplomatic solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula. He underlined the commitment of the United Nations system to assist in supporting a process of sincere dialogue, leading to sustainable peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

Yesterday he also met with Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, and Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council.

Earlier today, he visited the China Peacekeeping Police Training Center. He paid tribute to the more than 2,400 Chinese peacekeepers around the world and expressed his gratitude for China’s commitment to UN peacekeeping. He said peacekeeping is the most noble mission in today’s world, with women and men ready to sacrifice everything to protect the most vulnerable.

He then left for Boao, in Hainan province, to attend the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018. He is scheduled to make a statement during the Forum’s opening ceremony tomorrow.

This morning, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed spoke at the opening of the 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development. The theme of this year’s session is ‘Sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration’.

Speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, Ms. Mohammed said that our populations are linked as never before and cities are at the forefront of receiving, assisting and integrating migrants and refugees. The migration of people to cities can enhance diversity and integration that can contribute to well-being and innovation she said, but warned that gaps in understanding are easily filled by myths and misperceptions. She stressed the Commission’s work on obtaining better data is vital to inform global discussions on migration.

At 3 p.m. the Security Council will meet on Syria. Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, and Thomas Markram of the Office for Disarmament Affairs are expected to brief the Council.

Earlier today, the Director-General of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, expressed his grave concern in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack on 7 April in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic.

The OPCW Situation Centre has been closely monitoring the incident and made a preliminary analysis of the reports of the alleged use of chemical weapons immediately after they were issued.

The Fact Finding Mission is in the process of gathering further information from all available sources to establish whether chemical weapons were used. The Mission will report its findings to States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Yesterday, a statement was issued in which the Secretary-General expressed his concern about renewed and intensive violence in Douma in Eastern Ghouta, following a period of relative calm.

The Secretary-General is particularly alarmed by allegations that chemical weapons have been used against civilian populations in Douma. While the United Nations is not in a position to verify these reports, the Secretary-General notes that any use of chemical weapons, if confirmed, is abhorrent, and requires a thorough investigation.

It is critical that civilians be protected. The Secretary-General calls on all sides to ensure respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, including humanitarian access across Syria to all people in need, as per relevant Security Council resolutions.

The UN remains deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza, particularly the reports of fatalities and injured civilians during last Friday’s demonstrations.

The UN reiterates its call on all sides to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and, in particular, any measures that could place civilians in harm's way.

The Special Coordinator, Nickolay Mladenov, remains in contact with pertinent interlocutors to have a full picture of events, including reported Palestinian attempts to bridge the fence and alleged IED attempts throughout the weekend. He has visited Gaza today.

As the Secretary-General has pointed out, the current situation underlines the urgency of revitalizing the peace process aiming at creating the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations for a peaceful solution.

Meanwhile, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, warned on Friday that Gaza’s health sector is struggling to deal with the mass influx of casualties. An estimated $2 million is urgently needed in the short term for medicine, medical disposables, laboratory materials and other supplies for emergency care, while $20 million is required in 2018 to meet urgent health needs.

Yesterday, government forces from the Central African Republic and from the UN Mission in the country (MINUSCA) launched a joint disarmament and arrest operation targeting the bases of criminal groups in the PK5 neighborhood of Bangui.

The operation resulted in arrests and the seizure of arms, ammunition, and drugs.

This joint operation will continue until the criminal groups of PK5 are dismantled or otherwise disappear.

The residents of PK5 have repeatedly called on MINUSCA to intervene and put an end to the activities of the neighborhood’s criminal gangs. These gangs are responsible for extensive abuses against the local population, including extorting merchants and attacking civilians, while blocking the return of state authorities.

Prior to the operation, these criminal groups were provided the opportunity to voluntary disarm, which would have enabled some of their members to benefit from socioeconomic programs along with the wider community. Unfortunately, the leaders of the groups refused this option, despite a mediation organized by community leaders.

Today, the Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, are in Darfur, Sudan.

Upon arrival in Khartoum yesterday, they held discussions on the overall situation in Darfur and the implementation of UNAMID mandate, including its ongoing reconfiguration.

They also held meetings with Government officials, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour.

Tomorrow, after a visit to the Zam Zam camp for displaced persons, Mr. Lacroix and Mr. Chergui will travel to the Central African Republic.

They will co-chair the first meeting of the International Support Group on the Central African Republic aimed at encouraging the international community to re-engage in the peace process and to support the urgent humanitarian needs of millions in the country.

The joint visit is aimed at further strengthening the important partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.

In New York, the Executive Director of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, spoke at an event on “Crime Prevention and Sustainable Development through Sports.”

He stressed the importance of sport as a means of engaging with youth and as path for prevention of violence and crime. “Fair play, tolerance and team spirit” are just a few of the common principles of sport with the sustainable development agenda, he said, and added that the UN is committed to working with young people around the world to build resilience, promote opportunities for them, and harness positive change.

Barbados has paid its regular budget dues in full. The Honour Roll now has 75 members.
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