Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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30-Sep-2019 00:12:58
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Over the weekend and today, the Secretary-General is continuing to meet with leaders taking part in the General Assembly’s High-Level Debate, which closes today.

On Saturday, he spoke at the Ministerial Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the United Nations.

The Secretary-General said that, since its inception at the height of the Cold War, ASEAN has shown the value of regional integration and shared approaches to local and global challenges.

He noted that, under the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership, our close engagement continues across a broad range of areas and joint initiatives, and that, in this turbulent global climate, close cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations remains more critical than ever.

This afternoon, the Secretary-General will sign a book of condolences at the Permanent Mission of France, on the occasion of the passing of former French President Jacques Chirac.

The Security Council held a meeting on Syria.

Briefing Council members was the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Geir Pedersen. He said that, in one month, on October 30th, he intends to convene 150 Syrian men and women for the launch of the Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, credible, balanced and inclusive Constitutional Committee facilitated by the United Nations, in Geneva.

He said that he believes this should be a sign of hope for the long-suffering Syrian people.

Mr. Pedersen noted that this is the first concrete political agreement between the Government and the opposition to begin to implement a key aspect of Security Council resolution 2254 – to set a schedule and process for a new constitution. He added that it implies a clear acceptance of the other as an interlocutor and commits their nominees to sit together in face-to-face dialogue and negotiations, while at the same time opening the space for civil society at the table.

The Special Envoy underscored that the future constitution of Syria belongs to the Syrian people and to them alone. The United Nations will jealously guard the Syrian-owned and Syrian-led nature of the process, adding that Syrians – and not outsiders- will draft the constitution and the Syrian people must popularly approve it.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that, from 26 to 29 September, the United Nations as well as the Syrian Arab Red Crescent successfully completed a convoy to Rukban, along the Jordanian border, to provide humanitarian aid and to support voluntary departures from the camp.
The entire operation was conducted in line with humanitarian principles and minimum protection standards.

The distribution of food and nutrition supplies wrapped up the delivery, which began earlier in September to help some 15,000 people for one month. More than 600 people were given legal and protection counselling. More than 100 medical consultations were also carried out.

The UN and the Red Crescent also helped the first group of 329 people to voluntarily leave Rukban for collective shelters in Government-controlled Homs. These people have received clearance from Syrian authorities and will then continue to their areas of origin or destination of their choice.

Needs assessment carried out last month found that, out of Rukban’s estimated population of 15,000, some 37 per cent wanted to leave and 47 per cent wanted to stay, while the remaining 16 per cent were undecided.

The United Nations calls for continuing access to those in need in Rukban. The third phase of the humanitarian operations there includes supporting people who want to leave with finding durable solutions.

The Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, today welcomed the initiative by Ansar Allah to unilaterally release detainees and called for all parties to ensure the safe return of the released detainees to their homes.

He said that he hopes this step will lead to further initiatives that will facilitate the exchange of all conflict-related detainees as per the Stockholm Agreement.

He also welcomed previous steps taken by the Government of Yemen and the Arab Coalition that led to the release of Yemeni minors and supported their reintegration with their families.

The Special Envoy called on the parties to work together to expedite the release, transfer and repatriation of conflict-related detainees and invited the parties to meet at the nearest opportunity, so as to resume discussions on future exchange as per their commitments in the Stockholm agreement.

He also thanked the International Committee for the Red Cross for its valuable role in the release of the detainees.

Following several days of protests in Haiti, the UN peacekeeping mission says it is closely following recent developments.

The UN is concerned by reports of violence and arson that have been taking place over the past few days throughout the country.

The UN mission calls on everyone to refrain from the use of violence and praises the work of the Haitian National Police, which has done its utmost to provide security to the Haitian people, State institutions and private property.

Meanwhile, the Mission and international partners are in discussions with local stakeholders to find a peaceful way out of the crisis and alleviate the suffering of the population who has been bearing the brunt of this crisis.

In a statement issued this weekend, the Secretary-General welcomed the conduct of the Afghan elections. He commended all Afghans who exercised their democratic voice and upheld their right to vote, braving security concerns.

He also encouraged all stakeholders to enable the electoral institutions to exercise their responsibilities in full, including by addressing any complaints through the appropriate channels and procedures.

Today is the International Translation Day, marked by a tribute to language professionals. Their work plays an essential role in facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation.

The date was chosen to coincide with the feast of St. Jerome, who translated the Bible and is considered the patron saint of translators.

The day is marked by celebrations in several UN offices around the world.

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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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