DRC, Ukraine & other topics- Daily Press Briefing

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29-Mar-2022 01:09:09
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Starting off unfortunately with some sad news from our peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A search and rescue operation was launched today after a Puma helicopter lost contact with our colleagues and crashed earlier today. The helicopter, with eight people on board, including six crew members – all from the Pakistani military – and two military personnel – one from the Russian Federation and one from the Republic of Serbia – they were on a reconnaissance mission in the area of Tshanzu, south-east of Rutshuru in North Kivu.

Also on the Congo, briefing the Security Council this morning, was Bintou Keita, the head of the UN Mission. She said the security situation in the country has continued to deteriorate, with a rise in civilian casualties and population displacements.

A few notes for you regarding Ukraine. I will start off with a statement on the visit of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Ukraine. The Director-General advised the Secretary-General that he would lead an IAEA mission to Ukraine to assist in the safe and secure operation of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. That mission arrived today in Ukraine.

Moving to the humanitarian situation… the Secretary-General had asked Martin Griffiths to immediately explore with the parties the possibility for a humanitarian ceasefire. Mr. Griffiths who is currently in Kabul where he will lead the high-level pledging Conference on Afghanistan, on 31 March, is already working on the Ukraine issue.

On the refugee front I just want to flag a new initiative jointly done by UNHCR and the World Food Programme which brings together six leading footballers - three of whom are former refugees and the programme will help refugees who have fled their homes, as well as displaced people inside Ukraine. The global Appeal - #football4ukraine, with musical accompaniment by WFP’s Goodwill Ambassador, The Weeknd - comes at a time when almost a quarter of Ukraine’s population – that’s more than 10 million people - have been forced from their homes.

We remain concerned about the reports of continued tensions in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Secretary-General spoke at the event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Turning to Somalia, a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization says that a multi-season drought in the Horn of Africa means that up to 5 million people in Somalia will require urgent humanitarian assistance to prevent famine.

The mayor of our host city [Eric Adams] is in the UN today to attend an event on the Transatlantic Slave Trade Commemoration and he will be meeting the Secretary-General right after this briefing. That will be the first meeting the Secretary-General has with the new mayor.

And finally, some good news. We have some more money coming in. We thank our friends Kenya, Angola and Antigua and Barbuda.

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