arrived in Cartagena this morning where he will attend the signing ceremony of the Colombia peace accords. The SG will speak at the ceremony and is expected to commend the negotiating teams for the courage they showed. The UN Mission
has been tasked with the verification of the ceasefire and the laying down of arms. The UN country team will also be there to help implement the agreement, building on many years of engagement on peacebuilding and our work with victims and communities. In addition, the UN will continue to offer support to address the human rights and humanitarian challenges that persist. The SG will also have bilateral meetings with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and with Timoleon Jimenez, the commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The SG will fly back to New York later today.
Speaking to the press yesterday, the SG said that he was appalled by the military escalation in the city of Aleppo, which is facing the most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict. He said that the use of bunker busting bombs brings the violence to new depths of barbarity, adding that, according to international law, the systematic use of indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas is a war crime. The SG spoke at a time when his Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, was briefing
the Security Council in an open meeting, telling Council members that the past week has been one of the worst ones in Syria during the nearly six years of this devastating conflict. He said that UN human rights workers received information in recent days of dozens of airstrikes hitting residential buildings across eastern Aleppo, causing scores of reported civilian deaths and injuries, including those of many children. In a statement
issued over the weekend, the SG said that the international community has to unite to send a clear message that it will not tolerate the use of indiscriminate and ever more deadly and powerful weapons against civilians. The World Food Programme (WFP
) yesterday delivered life-saving food assistance to besieged families in the Four Towns of Madaya and Zabadani in Rural Damascus and Foah and Kefraya in Rural Idlib as part of a joint interagency convoy with UN agencies and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. This is the first time that food and humanitarian supplies have reached these areas since April. The food rations are sufficient for 60,000 people for one month. WFP also delivered to Madaya and Zabadani a three-month supply of specialized nutritious products for the prevention of malnutrition for 250 children.
In a statement
issued over the weekend on the situation in Gabon, the SG took note of the ruling of the Constitutional Court and its confirmation of Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba as the President-elect. At this critical and sensitive juncture in the country’s history, the SG said it was of utmost importance that all actors demonstrate maximum restraint and fully respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. He called for the release of any persons detained arbitrarily during the electoral process.
The SG spoke
to reporters yesterday following his meeting here with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders. He called their meeting productive and said that he welcomed the leaders’ joint commitment to intensify efforts in line with their stated desire to achieve a comprehensive settlement this year. The SG noted that the leaders have asked him to step up his personal engagement, and that he stands ready to support them in whatever they may require. He stressed that the period ahead will be crucial for Cyprus, and that both he and the UN will do their utmost to promote a successful outcome.
International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons:
Today, the Deputy Secretary-General
, Jan Eliasson, spoke
at a high-level meeting to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. He noted that we face growing nuclear dangers, with progress in multilateral nuclear disarmament having come to a standstill and tens of billions of dollars being put aside to maintain and upgrade already huge nuclear weapon systems. The Deputy Secretary-General said that, sadly, several countries continue to include nuclear deterrence in their security doctrines. But he pointed to recent developments which have shown that nuclear weapons do not ensure peace and security, and that there are many possible paths to a nuclear-weapon-free world with a sufficient degree of political will.