Ban Ki-moon concerned about N Korea’s rocket launch plan

Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Martin Nesirky, spokesman for Ban Ki-moon, speaking
at a regular press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
New York: The spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said "there should be no doubt about the gravity" of the issue of chemical weapons in Syria, and that Ban was also "seriously concerned" about the announcement of a planned rocket launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Speaking at a regular press briefing at UN headquarters, spokesman Martin Nesirky took several questions on the latest developments in Syria.

On the pullout of some UN staff from Damascus, Nesirky said it had been decided to reduce the number of international staff there in light of the escalating violence in recent days, including increased fighting around Damascus and the closure of the airport for several days, as well the recent attacks on two convoys of the UN Disengagement Observer Disengagement Force (UNDOF) in which four people were wounded.

Nesirky stressed that "the United Nations is still in Damascus of course, performing humanitarian operations as security conditions permit".

On the possibility of chemical weapons being used in the Syrian conflict, the spokesman said "any use of such terrible weapons would have dire consequences for the population of Syria and of course potentially for a much wider area". He recalled that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had previously written to the Syrian authorities and President Bashar Assad about the issue and said the international community was following developments "extremely closely".

Turning to the DPRK, Nesirky said the Secretary-General "strongly urges" the country to reconsider its decision to launch a further missile.

"Any such launch would constitute a clear violation of Security Council resolution 1874, in which the Council demanded that the DPRK not conduct any launch using ballistic missile technology," the spokesperson said, reading from a note to correspondents issued today. "Such a launch would also heighten tension in the region."

According to media reports, the DPRK's state news agency on Saturday announced the decision to launch another space satellite, sometime between 10 December and 22 December. A similar attempt in April was unsuccessful.

Nesirky said "the Secretary-General strongly urges the DPRK to reconsider its decision and to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme".  He said Ban "further calls upon the DPRK to re-establish its moratorium on missile launches, as required by the Security Council." -UNifeed
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