UN Chief at Pacific Island Forum & other topics - Daily Briefing (15 May 2019)

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Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Daily Press Briefing:
- Secretary-General's Travel,
- Gulf,
- Moncef Kartas,
- Libya,
- Yemen,
- Sudan,
- Deputy Secretary-General/Disaster Risk Reduction
SECRETARY-GENERAL’S TRAVEL
The Secretary-General is in Fiji today, where he addressed the Pacific Island Forum and told Pacific leaders that he is there to see the region’s climate pressures first-hand and learn about the work being undertaken by communities there to bolster resilience.
He said, “I know that Pacific Island communities have been responding actively to today’s hardships and tomorrow’s dangers. You are drawing on a long history of adaptation and traditional ecological knowledge.”  He praised the region’s governments for challenging the status quo and being at the forefront of global climate negotiations.
The Secretary-General also spoke about the need to tackle marine pollution and stressed that “we have the blueprints, frameworks and plans. What we need is urgency, will and ambition.”  He said that this is why he is convening his Climate Summit in September. He said he wants the Summit to demonstrate the benefits of climate action and how everyone can benefit. The Secretary-General reiterated the UN’s commitment to supporting the Pacific Islands’ response to climate change and reversing the negative trends that have put their cultures and very existence at risk.
He also Tweeted out his support and welcoming the pledge made by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, to make sure that Germany goes carbon-free by 2015.
The Secretary-General also held a joint press conference with the Pacific Islands Forum Troika, which is made up of the President of Nauru, the Prime Minister of Samoa and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, as well as with the Forum’s Secretary General.
He emphasized that the joint message from the Pacific is not one of generosity, but of determination.  What we ask for is not solidarity, it’s not generosity; it is enlightened self-interest from all decision-makers around the world because it is not only the Pacific that is at stake, but the whole planet, he said.
On the margins of the Forum, the Secretary-General also met with leaders of the region.
Tomorrow, he will address the Fijian Parliament and speak to youth at the University of the South Pacific.

GULF
I have been asked in recent days about the different developments in the Gulf, and I can say that the Secretary-General is following with growing concern recent incidents and hardening rhetoric in the Gulf region, which threaten to further destabilize an already volatile situation.
In particular, he condemns the recent attacks on commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and stresses the need for further investigation to determine the facts and hold accountable the perpetrators.
He also condemns the drone attacks on oil facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for which the Houthis have claimed responsibility.
The Secretary-General recalls that attacks targeting civilian infrastructure violate international humanitarian law.
The Secretary-General calls upon all actors to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any escalation amid heightened tensions.

MONCEF KARTAS
I wanted to update you on the status of our colleague, Moncef Kartas.
Since the previous statement of 12 April 2019 with regard to the arrest and detention by the Tunisian authorities on 26 March 2019 of Moncef Kartas, a member of the Security Council’s Sanctions Panel of Experts on Libya, the Government of Tunisia provided the Organization with documents concerning the prosecution of Mr. Kartas by the Tunisian authorities.
Following a careful review of the documents, the Organization formally notified the Government of Tunisia that it has reaffirmed the immunities enjoyed by Moncef Kartas in relation to the legal proceedings against him in Tunisia and requested Mr. Kartas’ immediate release and for the charges against him to be dropped.
The United Nations remains very concerned by the continued detention and prosecution of Mr. Kartas by the Tunisian authorities, which is in violation of the privileges and immunities that have been granted to Mr. Kartas in the interests of the United Nations. The Organization calls upon the Government of Tunisia to release Mr. Kartas immediately.
The United Nations will continue to engage with the Government on this serious matter.
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