Ukraine, Mali, Central African Republic & other topics - Daily Press briefing
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
On Ukraine, separate letters were handed over to the Permanent Missions of the Russian Federation and Ukraine yesterday afternoon. In these letters, the Secretary-General asked President Vladimir Putin to receive him in Moscow and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to receive him in Kyiv. We are gravely alarmed by the mounting humanitarian crisis in Ukraine amid an intensifying Russian offensive in the east of the country. The Security Council held a meeting on Ukraine yesterday afternoon. Briefing Council members were the head of the International Organization for Migration, António Vitorino, and he said that he saw first-hand the price that civilians are paying for this conflict, and he said he was also alarmed by reports of discrimination and xenophobia against third country nationals fleeing Ukraine. The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Kelly Clements, called on Security Council members to put aside differences and find a way to end the war. The Security Council held closed consultations on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, otherwise known as MINURSO. Staffan de Mistura, the Personal Envoy for Western Sahara briefed as well as Alexander Ivanko, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINURSO. Our colleague Amina Mohammed the Deputy Secretary-General, left for Washington, D.C. this morning to attend the 2022 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as well as related events. She will be back here tomorrow. We issued a statement about an hour ago on Jerusalem in which the Secretary-General said he remains deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Jerusalem, particularly the incidents in and around the holy sites. He is actively engaged with leaders to do all they can to lower tensions, avoid inflammatory actions and rhetoric, and to restore calm. On Mali, our human rights colleagues are telling us that they are extremely concerned that the authorities in the country have still not granted UN human rights investigators access to the village of Moura, Malian Armed Forces reportedly accompanied by foreign military personnel, allegedly carried out summary executions and multiple other serious violations during a military operation more than three weeks ago. In the Central African Republic, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the UN there, Denise Brown, today strongly condemned attacks on humanitarian organizations. In the latest attacks on 7 and 9 April, six aid workers and a health district [worker] were injured, one seriously, while on mission in the south of the country. A quick update from South Africa where our UN colleagues are working closely with national and local authorities to provide support to the regions affected by last week's devastating floods. The World Food Programme (WFP) said today it reached 540,000 people in Sierra Leone with aid last year, helping them to meet their basic food needs as hunger levels rose. Quick update from our team in Thailand, led by Resident Coordinator Gita Sabharwal. They are continuing to support the national efforts to tackle the impacts of the pandemic. Tomorrow, our guest will be Michael Dunford, the World Food Programme's Regional Director for East Africa. He will join us remotely from Nairobi to discuss the current drought in the Horn of Africa. I will end with a quick note in Chinese. Zhōngwén rì kuàilè, which as you all know means: Happy Chinese Language Day. We thank not one but two capitals today. Our friends in Dhaka and Ashgabat have sent their cheques for 2022. We say thank you to our friends in Bangladesh and Turkmenistan.