Press Conferences

Black Sea Initiative, Ukraine & Other Topics …

Noon Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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**Black Sea Initiative

This morning, the Secretary-General said that he deeply regrets the decision by the Russian Federation to terminate the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative — including the withdrawal of Russian security guarantees for navigation in the north-west part of the Black Sea.

He said he was deeply disappointed that his proposals went unheeded, adding that today’s decision by the Russian Federation will strike a blow to people in need everywhere. But he will not stop, and United Nations will not stop our efforts to facilitate the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The Security Council will meet today on Ukraine on the maintenance of peace and security. Rosemary di Carlo, the head of our peacebuilding and political affairs department, will be briefing on behalf of the Secretariat.

Earlier today, the Security Council held a private meeting and consultations on Syria at the request for Switzerland and Brazil, and Martin Griffiths, our humanitarian chief, briefed that meeting.

**Flight MH17
Today marks the ninth anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, in which 298 innocent lives were lost.

In full solidarity with the families of the victims, the Secretary-General renews his call on all States to extend their full cooperation pursuant to Security Council resolution 2166 that was passed in 2014 to ensure that those responsible are held to account.

**High-Level Political Forum
The Secretary-General spoke at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. He said that halfway to the 2030 deadline to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world is woefully off-track. Ambition, urgency and solidarity have been lacking, he said, adding that many countries are now facing a financial abyss. The Secretary-General said that the world is crying out for high-level political action and urged every country to make 2023 count.

He also underscored the need for the SDG Summit in September to re-energize civil society, businesses and others to throw their weight behind the Goals — strengthening the global movement to deliver on the Agenda.

Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, arrived in N’djamena, the capital of Chad, this morning for a joint visit with a high-level delegation, which includes the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Cindy McCain, and other senior officials from across the United Nations system.

Over the weekend, Ms. Mohammed had been in Nairobi in Kenya, where she delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting and met with Heads of State and high-level representatives of the African Union.

During her engagements, she highlighted the importance of accelerating climate action, as well as mobilizing and investing in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Martin Griffiths, our Emergency Relief Coordinator, said over the weekend that, as the conflict in Sudan enters its fourth month, the battle lines are hardening, making it even more difficult to reach the millions of people who need urgent humanitarian assistance, and warning that Sudan is now one of the world’s most difficult places for humanitarian workers to operate. Humanitarians cannot work under the barrel of a gun, he said, adding that we cannot deliver if our staff are prevented from reaching people in need.

He concluded, both sides must abide by the Declaration of Commitments that they signed in Jeddah to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.

Our colleagues in Kabul from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today released the latest UN update on the human rights situation in Afghanistan, which notes that the de facto authorities continue to restrict the rights of women and girls.

The Department of Peace Operations (DPO) will commemorate the Day of International Criminal Justice and the adoption of the Rome Statute by launching a short documentary entitled How a Warlord was Prosecuted for War Crimes in DR Congo.

In Haiti, the World Food Programme (WFP) today said that it has been forced to cut the number of people receiving emergency food assistance by 25 per cent this month due to dwindling funding levels. Tragically, this means that 100,000 of the most vulnerable Haitians are forced to get by without any WFP support this month.

**‘FSO Safer’
The UN-led project to prevent a massive oil spill from the decaying FSO Safer, which is as you know off in Hudaydah, off Yemen’s Red Sea coast, took a major step forward over the weekend, when the replacement vessel Nautica sailed from Djibouti en route to the Safer site. All technical preparations and agreements have been finalized.

Once the replacement vessel arrives, the oil aboard the Safer will be pumped out in a ship-to-ship transfer that is expected to take about two weeks to complete.

Achim Steiner, the UNDP’s (United Nations Development Programme) Administrator said that with the Nautica on its way, we expect the removal of oil from the Safer to begin in the next week.

The UN Development Coordination Office tells us that Dirk Wagener of Germany is the new Resident Coordinator in Fiji, following confirmation by the host Government.

With 20 years of experience in the United Nations, including in development operations in the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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