The SG’s Travels: Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon returned to New York on Saturday after his trip to China, the Balkan States, and London for the opening of the Olympic Ceremonies. Mr. Ban briefed the press today on the contents of his travels, the current situation in Syria, and his response the Arms Trade Treaty conference that concluded on Friday.

Arms Trade Treaty: Describing it as a “setback,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his disappointment over the failure by United Nations Member States to reach agreement on a treaty that would regulate the conventional arms trade.

“I am disappointed that the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) concluded its four-week-long session without agreement on a treaty text that would have set common standards to regulate the international trade in conventional arms,” Mr. Ban said. “The Conference’s inability to conclude its work on this much-awaited ATT, despite years of effort of Member States and civil society from many countries, is a setback,” he added.

Syria: With as many as two million people affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today renewed his call on all parties to put an end to armed violence and prevent further bloodshed. He said the “tragic and intolerable” situation in Syria was foremost on his mind during his just-concluded visits to China, South-eastern Europe and London, where he met with the Joint Special Envoy for the UN and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Kofi Annan. In briefing the press today, Mr. Ban urged the international community to support Syria in ending the violence and quelling militarization in the country.

Ebola outbreak in Uganda:  A team of experts from the WHO and its partners are supporting the Ugandan Government’s response to an Ebola outbreak in the western part of the country. Over the weekend, Uganda’s Ministry of Health notified the WHO of an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the Kibaale district. A total of 20 cases, including 14 deaths have been reported since the beginning of July. “A team of experts from the Ministry of Health, WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in Kibaale to support the response operations,” WHO said in a news release.

ECOSOC: The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) wrapped up four weeks of high-level engagement and dialogue, review and deliberation, and decision-making on issues such as unemployment, women’s empowerment and information technology on Friday.

“Indeed, there is much to commend all-around,” the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, said as he addressed the closing session. “From the Council’s High-level Segment, with its timely focus on the global jobs crisis, up to the just-concluded General Segment, which reviewed a wide range of vital issues, we have witnessed renewed energy and commitment across an array of critical issues,” he added.

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