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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 MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 10 JANUARY 2011

 

BAN KI-MOON DEPLORES EXPANSION OF ILLEGAL ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN EAST JERUSALEM

  • The Secretary-General deplores the destruction on Sunday of the Shepherd’s Hotel in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for new settlement units in the heart of a Palestinian neighbourhood, which only serves to heighten tensions.
     

  • It is deeply regrettable that growing international concern at unilateral expansion of illegal Israeli settlements is not being heeded. Such actions seriously prejudice the possibility of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
     

  • The Secretary-General once again calls on the Government of Israel to take whatever steps are necessary to freeze settlement activity anywhere in occupied territory.

                                                                                                                                               

HIGH TURNOUTS, LONG QUEUES ON SECOND DAY OF SOUTHERN SUDAN REFERENDUM

  • Polling centres in Sudan and out of country voting sites, opened on schedule again today, one day after voting started. High turnouts and long queues were reported in Southern Sudan; the turnout in the north was more moderate.
     

  • The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announced today the official number of registered voters as more than 3.9 million. That includes 3.7 million registered voters in the south; more than 100,000 in the north; and more than 60,000 outside the country.
     

  • Meanwhile, the Secretary-General's Panel on the referendum continued its monitoring of the referendum in Sudan on the second day of polling, with the members visiting three states in the South. They visited polling centres, talked to voters and held meetings with Government and referendum officials.
     

  • The Chairman of the Panel, Benjamin Mkapa, told journalists that “the turnout in the first day has been overwhelming but officials have coped very well with that, and we commend them for this.” 
     

  • Asked about violence in Abyei, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations is extremely concerned about the reports of clashes around Abyei and the resulting casualties.
     

  • While there have been varying figures reported on the number of casualties, he added, these remain unconfirmed. The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is in the process of confirming these numbers.
     

  • In the meantime, Nesirky said, UNMIS is pursuing containment of the situation both politically and on the ground by enhanced patrolling activities and engagement with top leadership of both sides.

 

DARFUR ENVOY MEETS WITH DISPLACED CIVILIANS IN KHOR ABECHE

  • A UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) patrol to Tabit village, 37 kilometres northwest of Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur, reported exchanges of fire occurred on 7 January between Government forces and Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minnawi forces, in which three people are believed to have been killed. The Mission is investigating.
     

  • Meanwhile, Joint UN-AU Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari visited Khor Abeche, where he met with the displaced community, who expressed their gratitude to UNAMID for assistance received in the wake of last month’s attacks on the civilian population. While the Mission has been providing security, medical attention and water, the citizens expressed concern over the lack of sufficient shelter, food, and clothing.
     

  • Professor Gambari stated that peacekeepers would do everything in their power to assist.

 

OUTGOING MISSION CHIEF APPEALS FOR CONSENSUS AMONG NEPALESE PARTIES

  • With five days left until the end of the mandate of the UN Mission in Nepal, the Secretary-General’s Representative, Karin Landgren, calls on parties to form consensus on the most urgent issue requiring resolution: the future monitoring of arms and armies after the Mission’s exit.
     

  • She said she remains hopeful, even at this late date, that the parties will find the flexibility to resolve this issue.
     

  • And throughout Nepal’s peace process, the parties have shown that they are capable of putting aside their differences at the most critical times to forge last-minute consensus.

 

BAN KI-MOON REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR SPECIAL TRIBUNAL IN MEETING WITH LEBANON PRIME MINISTER

  • The Secretary-General met with the Prime Minister of Lebanon on Sunday evening, and they had a cordial and constructive meeting.
     

  • On the Special Tribunal, the Secretary-General reiterated his support for the work of the Tribunal, and stressed that it is an independent body. He hoped its work would help end impunity in Lebanon. They also discussed regional and other efforts to promote stability. And the Secretary-General took note of the Lebanese concerns on maritime boundary issues.
     

  • Asked about regional efforts regarding Lebanon, the Spokesperson said the situation is being analyzed and studied.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT DETENTIONS IN BELARUS

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has followed developments in Belarus since the recent presidential election and has noted the serious concerns voiced by observer groups regarding the electoral process and post-electoral developments.
     

  • The Secretary-General, Nesirky said, is concerned about the continued detention of journalists, opposition candidates and their supporters and calls for their release and the full observance of human rights and due process.
     

  • The Secretary-General recognizes the important work of the office for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belarus and regrets the decision of the Government of Belarus to close the OSCE office in Minsk.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

BAN KI-MOON CONVEYS CONDOLENCES FOLLOWING ARIZONA SHOOTING: The Spokesperson told correspondents that the Secretary-General has spoken by telephone with the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to convey his condolences following the shooting incident in Arizona on Saturday, in which several people were killed and Representative Gabrielle Giffords was among the wounded. The Secretary-General will also be sending a letter of condolence to Ambassador Rice concerning that incident, Nersirky added.

 

SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON POLITICAL ISSUES: The Security Council heard an update today on a range of political topics from the Department of Political Affairs. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed Council members in closed consultations.

 

**The guest at the noon briefing today was Nigel Fisher, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. Mr. Fisher joined the briefing by video teleconference from Port-au-prince and updated correspondents on the situation in Haiti.

 

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