HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 24 DECEMBER 2014
SOMALIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES NEW PRIME MINISTER, ENCOURAGES COOPERATION TO REGAIN POLITICAL PROCESS MOMENTUM
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the Parliamentary endorsement of Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as the new Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia. He encourages the new Prime Minister, the President and the Speaker of Parliament to work together to regain momentum in the political process and to maintain close working relationship with the interim regional administrations and emerging federal member states.
- The Secretary-General commends the outgoing Prime Minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, and his government for their contribution to peacebuilding and state building in Somalia.
- The Secretary-General urges all parties to work on swift establishment of an inclusive Federal Government. Political leadership is required to deliver the ambitious agenda of peace building and political transformation. He encourages the country’s leadership to redouble their efforts to this end and take steps to prevent future political crises.
- The Secretary-General notes the significant progress made in pushing back Al Shabaab, building a federal state and strengthening the institutions. He underlines that much still needs to be done before the Federal Government’s mandate expires in September 2016, and he reaffirms the United Nations’ continued support.
U.N. ENVOY VOICES DEEP CONCERN OVER EXCHANGE OF FIRE IN GAZA
- The Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, James Rawley, expressed his deep concern over reports of exchange of fire between Palestinian militants and the Israel Defence Forces in the southern Gaza Strip today, which resulted in casualties on both sides. This follows a series of armed incidents since the end of November.
- Mr. Rawley urged all parties to maintain and reinforce the ceasefire of 26 August and refrain from escalating tensions.
U.N. MISSION ANNOUNCES FOURTH STAFF MEMBER TESTS POSITIVE FOR EBOLA
- The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) announced today that a staff member was tested positive for Ebola.
- This is the fourth case of Ebola in the mission. Two of the affected UNMIL personnel died of the disease only three months ago.
- Another member of UNMIL’s personnel who contracted the disease has recovered and was discharged from hospital earlier this week.
- The Head of the Mission, Karin Landgren, said that the confirmation of this new case is a stark reminder that we must all remain vigilant until there are no cases in Liberia or West Africa.
- She added that Liberians can be proud of the progress they have made against Ebola since October, but urged them all to take extra care as they gather with friends and families over the holidays.
- The Mission is taking all necessary measures to mitigate any possible further transmission – both within the mission and beyond.
- In line with World Health Organization (WHO) protocols, the UNMIL Medical team is conducting robust contact tracing to ensure that all people who came into contact with the staff member while symptomatic are assessed and quarantined.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed today a $1 million grant from the African Development Bank (ADB) to their work in Sierra Leone.
- With this grant, WFP will provide food assistance for two months to 30,000 people.
- Today food production in Sierra Leone for 2014 is estimated to be 5 percent lower than in 2013 and rice production is expected to dip by as much as 17 per cent in the Kailahun area, which is usually one of the country's most productive agricultural areas but has been severely impacted by Ebola.
- In Sierra Leone only, over 11,700 metric tons of food have been distributed to more than 1.1 million people.
- In all three worst-impacted countries, WFP’s assistance has reached more than 2.2 million people, including villages and communities in quarantine or isolation.
HAITI: U.N., CORE GROUP WELCOME DEISGINATION OF INTERIM PRIME MINISTER
- In Haiti, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the country and head of the mission, Sandra Honoré, and other members of the ‘Core Group’ - Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, United States, the European Union and the Organization of American States - welcomed the decision taken by President Martelly to designate Minister of Public Health and Population, Florence Duperval Guillaume, as the interim Prime Minister.
- In a joint statement, the Core Group commends the efforts undertaken by the President together with the Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, representatives of political parties and other political stakeholders to forge the necessary consensus for the nomination of a Prime Minister and the formation of a government of consensus.
- It encourages all concerned to respect the constitutional legitimacy of the President, in order to preserve stability and create a climate of confidence, serenity and mutual respect, which allows for the holding of inclusive and fair elections, as soon as possible.
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF TO TRAVEL TO THAILAND TO MARK TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, will travel to Phang-Nga Province in Thailand on 26 December to participate in the ten-year anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami remembrance ceremony. This event is being organised by the Royal Thai Government.
- The 2004 tsunami killed some 230,000 people and left an estimated 5 million people homeless or without access to food and water.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS DEPUTY HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN
- A personnel announcement: the Secretary-General is today announcing the appointment of Moustapha Soumaré of Mali as his Deputy Special Representative – on political issues - for the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).
- He will succeed Raisedon Zenenga of Zimbabwe, who will be taking up the post of Deputy Special Representative of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Zenenga’s dedicated service and outstanding contribution to the work of the UN in South Sudan.
- Mr. Soumaré is currently the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), where he also serves as the UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
IN LINE WITH SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION, U.N. NOTIFIES SYRIAN GOVERNMENT OF CROSS-BORDER AID SHIPMENTS
- In response to a question about details about the delivery of aid into Syria, the Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that in line with Security Council resolution 2165, the United Nations notifies the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic in advance of each cross-border shipment, including details of content, destination, district and number of beneficiaries.
- The UN Monitoring Mechanism notifies the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic of the delivery of humanitarian assistance from one of the border crossings authorised under resolution 2165.
- The UN Monitoring Mechanism comprises unarmed civilians with relevant humanitarian expertise. The Monitoring Officers are selected based on their experience and expertise, in accordance with established UN recruitment policies.