Posted by: africanpressorganization | 22 August 2008

Sudan / Algiers bombing / Daily press briefing by the offices of the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General And the spokesperson for the General Assembly President


Sudan / Algiers bombing /
Daily press briefing by the offices of the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General And the spokesperson for the General Assembly President



NEW YORK, USA, August 22, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Daily press briefing / Taken questions



Question:  Al Arabiya had an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Sudanese President yesterday, in which, it was reported today by AP and other agencies, he said that he would ask the United Nations peacekeepers to leave if an arrest was issued against him.  Now, we understand, things were said by other officials, and we asked General [Martin Luther] Agwai what he was going to do, and he said the Government denied it, but now it is coming from the top of the Government of Sudan, and it is very clear that he would ask the peacekeepers to leave if a warrant, which is expected, is issued.  I am sure that the Secretary-General is aware of this — is he going to protest such statements, through the African Union maybe?  Are the plans being put to wind up the operations in Sudan, if a warrant is issued at the end of September, or in October?  What’s being done in the face of such statements by the Sudanese President?


Deputy Spokesperson:  First of all, you brought this to our attention many times now since yesterday, and we are aware of this interview.  As you know, we are still awaiting the word from the judges of the International Criminal Court, so, as of now, this is a hypothetical situation that you are talking about.  The Sudanese President’s remarks that you are referring to is referring to something that has not yet happened.  As far as what the UN Mission is doing, General Agwai, I think, was very clear about what the UNAMID mission is on the ground, and I think he is continuing to serve what is asked from him and the Mission, as long as the Security Council mandate continues.  And the Secretary-General’s remarks on this are very clear, as well.  I have nothing further on this.


Question:  I mean, such strong statements threatening to wind down an operation that has been going on for three years now, trying to close UNAMID.  The Secretary-General has invested a year and a half in building this since the Riyadh Summit — isn’t there any process for such threats by the highest of the high-ranking in Sudan?  This other thing, you must be putting contingency plans to take your people out if the Sudanese give the word?


Deputy Spokesperson:  As you know, security measures are constantly being updated and upgraded around the world, depending on the situation.  This is not something we would be reporting to the public, but security measures is one of the top concerns that the Secretary-General has for his staff and the people carrying out the mandate on the ground.  Again, General Agwai, I think, was very clear about what he was doing in terms of carrying out the mission.  So I think…


Question:  (talkover) but for these threats by the President of Sudan.


Deputy Spokesperson:  You heard General Agwai, who just spoke to you last week, and he talked about… If I recall, in his remarks, he was talking to you about increased cooperation since 9 July, and I think he was hoping that that kind of cooperation would continue.  The UN, as I mentioned, has a mandate on the ground.  It has a peacekeeping mandate, it has a humanitarian mandate, and… (inaudible comment from the floor) I understand, but you are talking about a hypothetical situation that the ICC has not come out with yet. Okay?


Question:  First I want to ask something.  The UNDP says that the documents that came out yesterday about ex-gratia payments — and it referred to the Algiers bombing — and said that some rules are going to be changed to allow larger payments than are currently allowed by the rules.  What I want to ask is, system-wide, given how important that bombing and the resulting deaths were, what payments were, in fact, made to the families of the victims?


Deputy Spokesperson:  I don’t have that information with me, so I’ll have to look into that for you.


Question:  Are you aware of this document and does it relate…?  It specifically refers to the Algiers bombing as giving rise to the idea that a larger payment should be allowed.


Deputy Spokesperson:  I have no information on this today.  I’ll have to look into it.



SOURCE : United Nations – Office of the President of the General-Assembly


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