Posted by: APO | 20 October 2007


19 October 2007



And the spokesperson for the General Assembly president



The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Janos Tisovszky, Spokesperson for the General Assembly President.


Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General


Good afternoon, all. 


**Security Council




Prior to the Iraq meeting, the Council President, Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian of Ghana, read out a presidential statement voicing concern at drug trafficking in Guinea-Bissau and expressing the Council’s intention to consider that country’s request as a possible candidate for the Peacebuilding Commission.



** Democratic Republic of the Congo


On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN refugee agency has begun the transfer of Congolese civilians displaced by the latest upsurge in violence in North Kivu.  The internally displaced are being moved from a congested makeshift settlement with very difficult living conditions to a new camp with essential facilities.


Some 500 IDP’s were transferred yesterday from the makeshift Ndosho settlement to a new camp in Buhimba, just outside of the regional capital, Goma, where the displaced people continue to arrive, with some 500 families reaching the camps in the last 10 days.  Aid agencies estimate over 370,000 people have had to relocate to humanitarian camps in North Kivu since December 2006.


Meanwhile, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, has expressed grave concern over the escalation of forced child recruitment and sexual violence in North Kivu by Laurent Nkunda’s armed forces, the FDLR and allied militias. 


We have a press release on that upstairs.


**Côte D’Ivoire/Group of Experts Report


On Côte d’Ivoire, the latest report of the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire is out as a document.


In it, the experts note that impartial forces were increasingly being denied permission to conduct inspections of the embargo on arms and related material.  They also noted a discrepancy between weapons lists provided by defence security forces and the national police and their actual capacities.


The experts further noted a lack of transparency in the management of revenues in the coffee, cocoa and hydrocarbon sectors.  They also uncovered possible violations of the embargo on diamond exports.


The panel recommends that the UN Mission there (ONUCI) require the armed forces to provide an inventory of all the arms in their possession.  It also calls for the implementation of programmes to disarm combatants and dismantle militias.  The Group further calls upon Ivorian authorities, as well as those in all the neighbouring countries, to prevent the export of Ivorian diamonds.



** Central African Republic


Yesterday in Bangui, the International Criminal Court entered a protocol agreement with the Central African Republic.  The agreement, signed between ICC registrar Bruno Cathala and the Justice Minister, in the presence of Prime Minister Elie Doté, covers the conditions of operations for ICC teams on the territory of the Central African Republic.


It ensures that ICC investigators, security and witness protection officials can rely on full Government cooperation and protection in conducting the investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity opened in May 2007 by Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.


**WFP -– Somalia/Sudan


The World Food Programme’s Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, today condemned the continued detention of WFP staff member Idris Osman, who was seized by armed men in Somalia on Wednesday.


Noting that it has become extremely difficult for her agency to feed hundreds of thousands of Somalis, Sheeran said that WFP needed the Somali Government to protect humanitarian workers.


Regarding Sudan, where there has been a series of attacks on WFP convoys over the last week, she said such attacks severely limit WFP’s ability to distribute vital food assistance.  She noted that more than 3 million Sudanese are relying on WFP for their survival. 


We have more on that upstairs.


**Liberia/School Resource Centre


Turning to Liberia, the Pakistani contingent of the UN Mission there (UNMIL) has opened a resource centre for schools in Tubmanburg, about 60 kilometres west of Monrovia.


The Pakistan-Liberia Friendship Centre has 20 computers, a library and sewing machines.  The Centre will provide technical and vocational training for about 600 students in the area. 


We have more information upstairs.


**General Assembly Plenary


The Assembly itself will meet this afternoon in a plenary format to continue its discussion on development and conflict resolution issues in Africa, and also on the reviewing of progress as regards rolling back malaria in developing countries, especially Africa.  Yesterday, on the discussion we had close to 30 speakers.  Today, in the afternoon, this is supposed to wrap up –- we have seven inscribed speakers, but there may be more, so that’s going to continue in the afternoon.



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