Press Conferences

Syria, Central African Republic & other topics…

Summary
Noon Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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**Syria

Good afternoon. I will start off with a statement on the issue related to the cross-border of humanitarian aid into Syria.

The Secretary-General is disappointed that the Security Council was not able to reach agreement today on extending the authorization of United Nations cross-border relief operations in Syria.

UN cross-border assistance remains a veritable lifeline for millions of people in the north-west of Syria as humanitarian needs have reached an all-time high since the start of the conflict, while the impact of the devastating February earthquakes is still acutely felt.

The Secretary-General calls on all Security Council members to redouble their efforts to support the continued delivery of cross-border assistance to millions of people in dire need in north-west Syria for the longest possible period.

Obviously, with the expiration of the cross-border for Bab al-Hawa, cross-border aid deliveries will continue through Bab Al-Salam and Bab Al-Ra’ee crossings. These two crossings were opened with the consent of the Government of Syria following the February earthquakes and have been extended through 13 August.

**Central African Republic

As you will recall, we mentioned yesterday, but we now have a formal statement in which the Secretary-General strongly condemns yesterday’s attack in the Central African Republic by an armed group against a peacekeeping patrol in the Haute-Kotto prefecture, in the north-east of the country. As you are aware, this attack resulted in the death of one peacekeeper from Rwanda. The peacekeeping mission — MINUSCA — immediately opened an investigation into the exact circumstances of this attack.

The peacekeeper that was killed is Sergeant Eustache Tabarao, and he was 39 years old. This was his second deployment to the Central African Republic as a UN peacekeeper. He first served with MINUSCA in 2018 and 2019. He then returned to the Central African Republic in December of last year, where he contributed to the Mission’s efforts in Sam-Ouandja, in the Haute Kotto prefecture, where the Mission has been deployed to protect civilians and the extension of State authority to that part of the country.

The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to Sergeant Tabarao’s family and to the people and Government of Rwanda. A memorial ceremony will be held in the coming days, before his remains are repatriated back to Rwanda and his family.

The Secretary-General also recalled that attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

He calls on the Central African Republic authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack and bring them to justice swiftly.

**Bosnia and Herzegovina

Today is the anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Twenty-eight years ago, the United Nations and the international community failed the people of Srebrenica. The Secretary-General expresses his solidarity with the victims — some of whom are still missing — the survivors, and their families. The Secretary-General urges political leaders to put an end to and firmly condemn the denial, justification, condoning and minimization of atrocity crimes and the glorification of war criminals.

The Secretary-General expresses his solidarity with Bosnia and Herzegovina and supports the call for comprehensive accountability, justice, reparations, and genuine and durable reconciliation, having declared the country eligible for financial support from his Peacebuilding Fund back in November of 2022.

And the President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunal, Judge Graciela Gatti Santana, and our resident coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ingrid Macdonald, are taking part in events to commemorate the anniversary, including the official ceremony, which is taking place at the Srebrenica Memorial Centre in Potočari.

**Sudan

A humanitarian update from Sudan, where relief efforts are ongoing. Between 22 May and 7 July, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) facilitated the movement of more than 630 trucks carrying over 28,500 metric tons of aid to 10 states in Sudan.

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is working to increase local food production and availability. FAO is distributing seeds in time for the planting season, with donor support. Trucks carrying some 50 tons of sorghum seeds arrived in Blue Nile State yesterday, with additional shipments dispatched to other locations.

And as the current fighting in Sudan continues, thousands of people are crossing into Chad each day from the Darfur region. The World Food Programme (WFP) is rapidly scaling up its response at the border to support the new arrivals. Many of those new arrivals are injured.

So far, WFP has delivered food and nutrition assistance to more than 150,000 people on the Chad-Sudan border.

It is also essential that WFP can safely deliver food aid to civilians remaining in West Darfur. So far, the agency has been able to provide food and nutrition support to more than 420,000 people in East, North, South and Central Darfur — but the current security situation in West Darfur makes safe operations there impossible.

**Nigeria

The Deputy Secretary-General, our own Amina Mohammed, is in Abuja, Nigeria. She is there with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai. They are spotlighting the importance of girls’ access to quality education.

**Libya

Abdoulaye Bathily, our Special Representative for Libya, said yesterday that he intends to convene key Libyan institutions and stakeholders, or their trusted representatives, to reach, through inclusive negotiations and compromise, a final settlement on the most contentious issues. In the coming weeks, he will intensify engagement with the main Libyan institutions as well as political and security leaders to pave the way for these negotiations.

**United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The United States officially accepted the Constitution of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). From now on, the United States becomes, once again, a full member of UNESCO, which has 194 Member States.

**World Population Day

Today is World Population Day, and the focus this year is on unleashing the power of gender equality.

In his message, the Secretary-General says that gender equality is almost 300 years away, and he calls on everyone to intensify the quest to make the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality for all 8 billion of us.

**World of Debt

Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., in this very room, the Secretary-General of these United Nations will be here to launch the World of Debt report from the UN Global Crisis Response Group.

You’ll be given a copy of the report later this afternoon and also a link to a very handy and interactive web pages on debt, if you want to know about debt.

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