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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ,
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 TUESDAY, 11 SEPTEMBER 2012

 SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES NEW PRESIDENT OF SOMALIA AFTER SELECTION BY PARLIAMENT

  • In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Secretary-General congratulated Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on his selection as President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, following the vote of the New Federal Parliament in Mogadishu yesterday. The selection of the new President brings an end to the eight-year political transition.
  • The Secretary-General congratulated the New Federal Parliament and its Speaker for the peaceful and orderly conduct of the process. He also paid tribute to all the signatories of the Roadmap for Ending the Transition for the important role they have played to bring the process to a successful conclusion.
  • The Secretary-General encourages the new President to move expeditiously, to appoint an inclusive, accountable Government that can begin the work of peacebuilding in the country. He urges Somali and international actors alike to pledge their continued support.
  • In a separate statement, Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, called on the winners to be magnanimous in victory, the losers to be gracious in defeat and for all to lead Somalia forward to a brighter day.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES SWITZERLAND AS IT MARKS TENTH ANNIVERSARY AS U.N. MEMBER STATE

  • The Secretary-General spoke to the Swiss Parliament in Bern on Tuesday, congratulating the people of Switzerland as they mark the country’s tenth anniversary as a UN Member State. And he discussed the work that Switzerland can do with the United Nations in helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and moving forward in dealing with poverty and climate change.
  • The Secretary-General also met on Tuesday in Bern with the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ms. Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and members of the Swiss Government.
  • The Secretary-General discussed the situation in Syria, as well as remaining challenges in reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and the post-2015 development agenda. They exchanged views on ways to promote sustainable energy for all and make progress towards a legally-binding framework on climate change. They also discussed the reform of the United Nations and the Strategic Heritage Plan for the renovation of the Palais des Nations.
  • The Secretary-General is scheduled to be back in New York on Wednesday.

MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A MILLION SYRIAN REFUGEES REGISTERED, U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that according to latest figures, more than a quarter of a million Syrian refugees have been registered in the surrounding region or are awaiting registration.
  • High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and the Agency’s Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie, met on Tuesday with Syrian refugees during a visit to the Za'atri camp in Jordan. Mr. Guterres said that the camp needs massive international funding and that conditions at the site are still not acceptable.
  • The Agency said that this visit is in recognition of the commitment of the Jordanian people and Government to protecting refugees.
  • Refugees have told Agency staff that artillery and air attacks are continuing in villages and towns close to the Jordanian border. While the number of refugees crossing the border fluctuates daily depending on the security situation inside Syria, the average remains around 2,000 new arrivals a day.
  • Later on Tuesday, Mr. Guterres and Ms. Jolie were due to meet the King of Jordan, as well as with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
  • For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it took part in an exploratory mission to Homs last week to assess how to strengthen its presence in the area.
  • It said that the urgency of scaling up delivery of humanitarian aid was exacerbated by the approaching winter.
  • Asked about the travels of the Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesperson said that he was expected to travel to Damascus within the next few days.
  • In response to questions about peace efforts in Syria, Haq added that Mr. Brahimi would try to engage with a wide range of Syrians, including Government officials and members of the opposition, to see whether the situation could be resolved through dialogue.

U.N. WELCOMES MEDIA REPORTS ON RELEASE OF A NUMBER OF LEBANESE KIDNAPPED IN SYRIA

  • Derek Plumbly, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, met with Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri today, and they discussed political and security developments, and the situation in south Lebanon.
  • Mr. Plumbly noted media reports that a number of the Lebanese kidnapped in Syria were released on Tuesday morning. He welcomed this development and expressed the hope that we will soon see the release of all those held against their will.
  • He added that the UN system looks forward to working with all in Lebanon to help ensure free, fair and transparent elections next year.

U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF SAYS VISIT TO GREAT LAKES REGION AIMS TO PREPARE UPCOMING SUMMIT

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, has visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • On Monday, on the first day of his trip, Mr. Ladsous met with a number of Government officials, including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense. On Tuesday, he met with President Joseph Kabila.
  • Speaking to the press on Monday, Mr. Ladsous noted that his visit is aimed at preparing the ground for the upcoming summit on the DRC and the Great Lakes Region, which is set to take place on 27 September in New York.
  • Hervé Ladsous was heading to Kigali, Rwanda, from Goma in the east of the DRC. He will also travel to Kampala in Uganda.
  • Under-Secretary-General Ladsous welcomed the decisions by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which he said reflect the engagement of the international community in solving the crisis affecting the Great Lakes Region and the eastern Congo.

SECURITY COUNCIL INFORMED THAT SIERRA LEONE CONTINUES TO MAKE STEADY PROGRESS

  • Jens Anders Toyberÿ-Frandzen, the Secretary-General’s Executive Representative in Sierra Leone, briefed the Security Council on Tuesday morning and said that Sierra Leone continues to make steady progress in consolidating its achievements of the past decade.
  • He noted the preparations for the November 2012 presidential, parliamentary and local council elections, and said that, with technical assistance from the United Nations, major electoral arrangements have been successfully concluded. The Council has followed up the open meeting with consultations on Sierra Leone.
  • On Tuesday afternoon, the Security Council was due to discuss Liberia.

DEPARTING REPRESENTATIVE FOR DARFUR URGES PARTIES TO DOHA DOCUMENT TO REMAIN COMMITTED

  • Ibrahim Gambari, the departing Joint Special Representative for Darfur, issued his end-of-mission statement on Tuesday.
  • He said that as he departs the Mission, he was pleased that concrete steps in the implementation of the Doha Document have been taken. He urged the signatory parties to remain committed and ensure full implementation of all the Document’s provisions in a timely manner.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. MISSION IS FOLLOWING TRIAL OF IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT: Asked about the trial of Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the Spokesperson said that the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has been following the trial closely. Human Right experts observed the trial proceedings. Any concern on the fairness of the trial, including the defendants' access to legal counsel and defense, will be shared with the Government of Iraq. Haq added that the United Nations had no knowledge of whether the trial was linked to the recent killings in Iraq, which the Mission had condemned.

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSED CONCERNS IN RECENT REPORT ABOUT TREATMENT OF PRISONERS IN LIBYA: Asked about the Secretary-General’s concerns about the treatment of prisoners in Libya, the Spokesperson noted that those concerns were conveyed in the Secretary-General’s recent report to the Security Council on Libya, and Council members were expected to consider that report later this month.

SECRETARY-GENERAL NOT EXPECTED TO GIVE PRESS BRIEFING PRIOR TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that it was not expected that the Secretary-General would give a press briefing prior to the start of the General Assembly session. He added that a number of senior UN officials would provide press briefings next week in advance of the General Assembly plenary.