SC in February; Syria; Iraq; Mali

SC in February: The President of the SC for the month of February, ROK’s Kim Sook, briefed the press today on the SC’s program of work for this month. The Council will hold an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict; meetings on the renewal of mandates on Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, and the Panel of Experts assisting the Sudan Sanctions Committee; consultations on MONUSCO, Mali, South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia; as well as a briefing on the Middle East at the end of the month. The President noted that non-proliferation, Mali, and Syria will require continued attention from the SC.

Syria: UNICEF announced plans today to bring safe water supplies to more than 10 million people in Syria. Contamination and lack of access to clean water is becoming worse as the violence continues, with great implications on children’s health in the country.  In the next few weeks, UNICEF – with partners the Ministry of Water Resources and the Syrian Aran Red Crescent – will deliver 1,000 tons of chlorine to communities across all 14 governorates in Syria. WHO and Saudi Arabia have also co-signed an agreement to provide $2.1 million worth of essential medicines, vaccines, and medical equipment.

Iraq: SRSG for Iraq, Martin Kobler, condemned “in the strongest possible terms” today’s attack against police headquarters in Kirkuk. The perpetrators showed a complete disregard for human life, Kobler said, and he urges Iraqi authorities to do all they can to bring the perpetrators to justice. The SG joins in condemning such attacks as well.

Mali: UNESCO Chief, Irina Bokova, was in Mali this weekend with French President François Hollande and the interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré. The purpose of the trip was to launch a plan to restore the country’s cultural heritage sites – including the mausoleums of Timbuktu and the city’s collection of manuscripts – that have been damaged due to violence in the region. Reconstruction activities are also being planned for the medium and long term, with the creation of a special working group for the process.