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Daily Press Briefing - Global Food Security, Syria, SG on counter-terrorism, Security Council, Myanmar, Legal Counsel, Eritrea

I have a Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the meeting of the High Level Task Force on Global Food Security. This morning the Secretary-General chaired a meeting of the High Level Task Force on Global Food Security. The Secretary-General welcomes the strong outcome from Rio+20 on food and nutrition security. Following the launch of the Zero Hunger Challenge last week, the High Level Task Force will be reoriented to focus on the Challenge’s five objectives as a guide for a coherent UN System approach to food and nutrition security. The Secretary-General noted that since it was established in 2008, the Task Force had made progress in devising a common comprehensive framework for action for the UN system in food and nutrition security, particularly during recent food crises. It helped forge united positions among its member agencies in Rio and at the G8 and G20 summits. The High Level Task Force also supports the Committee on World Food Security as the primary governance body for food and nutrition. But with close to one billion people still experiencing chronic hunger, he urged agencies, governments, businesses, civil society organizations and the scientific community to eliminate hunger in our lifetimes.


The Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, announced today that the Action Group for Syria will convene at the Ministerial level this Saturday, 30 June, in Geneva. Mr. Annan said that he looks forward to a productive meeting this weekend, where all can agree on concrete actions to end the cycle of violence and bring peace and stability to the Syrian people. Also, Deputy Joint Special Envoy Jean-Marie Guéhenno spoke to the Human Rights Council in Geneva today, telling them that, at the moment, all sides appear to not believe in the possibility of a political solution. He said the Syrian people have not had adequate opportunity to engage with outsiders or with each other on sensitive political issues, and they have been rightfully fearful to do so. Political goals, he said, are being pursued with military means.


The Secretary-General spoke this morning at a symposium on promoting dialogue and understanding and countering terrorism. The Secretary-General said that it takes more than traditional security approaches to counter terrorism. We must also work together to extinguish the flames of hate and intolerance that breed terrorist violence.


The Security Council is discussing Afghanistan in an open meeting right now. Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told Council members that significant progress was made during two international conferences in Kabul and in Chicago, with a third to take place next month in Tokyo. Mr. Ladsous added that a strategic decision has been made to reshape the provincial footprint of the UN Mission in Afghanistan, in line with a comprehensive review undertaken last year. Earlier this morning, the Security Council extended the mandates of the UN Mission in the Golan Heights, by six months, and of the one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by one year.


As we mentioned yesterday, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict today witnessed the signing of an action plan for the release and reintegration of children associated with the Government forces in Myanmar. The signing took place in the capital, Naypyitaw. Radhika Coomaraswamy said that the new action plan is both a testament and a test of Myanmar’s engagement with children.


The Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Patricia O'Brien, is in Moscow where she is participating in the Annual Meeting of the Russian Branch of the International Law Association at the invitation of Kyrill Gevorgian, the Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Ms. O'Brien delivered opening remarks and a speech on the concept of the "responsibility to protect". The texts of the speeches can be found on the website of the Office of Legal Affairs.
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