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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

TUESDAY, 11 JANUARY 2011

 

SUDAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT REPORTED CLASHES IN ABYEI

  • The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the recent reports of clashes in the Abyei area. The Secretary-General condemns the reported loss of life and calls upon the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) leadership to maintain calm and ensure that this issue is resolved through peaceful dialogue.
     

  • The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has intensified its patrolling activities on the ground and is on standby to reinforce its peacekeeping presence if the need arises. The Mission, in consultation with other stakeholders, is engaging the parties to defuse tensions and prevent further escalation.
     

  • The Secretary-General urges both sides to resume and conclude negotiations on Abyei as a matter of priority.
     

  • Asked about recent unrest in the South, the Spokesperson noted that on Monday, a convoy of 23 buses and five trucks carrying about 1,000 returnees coming from the North to Aweil was detained by Misseriya tribes in Dabib in Southern Kordofan State.
     

  • The Governor of Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State has said that the returnees are being abused and their belongings stolen. He has requested that UNMIS in Southern Kordofan press the Sudan Armed Forces and police to intervene immediately to lift the restriction of movement of the returnees, currently under detention.
     

  • Asked about a recent attack, Nesirky said that UNMIS is aware of reported attack on a convoy of returnees to southern Sudan; however the mission is not in a position to confirm the number of killed. UNMIS is in the process of verifying this incident.
     

  • Asked about the transport on a UN helicopter of an Abyei official wanted by the International Criminal Court, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission is mandated to provide good offices to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) parties in their efforts to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiations. UNMIS has been working with the parties, including the local authorities, to contain any potential violence which may escalate.
     

  • Nesirky said that clashes in Abyei were ongoing and threatening to escalate to wider war. Governor Harun was critical to bring the Misseriya leaders in Southern Kordofan to peace meeting in Abyei to stop further clashes and killings.
     

  • In accordance with its mandate, he said, the Mission will continue to provide the necessary support to those key players in their pursuit to find a peaceful solution.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PANEL CONTINUES MONITORING REFERENDA AS VOTING ENTERS THIRD DAY

  • The Secretary-General's Panel on the Referenda in the Sudan today continued its monitoring of the Southern Sudan referendum as voting entered a third day. The three Panel members visited numerous polling centres and met with referendum authorities and voters in the states of South Darfur, Upper Nile and Western Bahr el-Ghazal.
     

  • The Panel's Chairman, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who visited South Darfur, told journalists in the state capital, Nyala, that he was impressed with the organization of the polling, including the training of staff at the referendum centres.
     

  • He said he was sure that the outcome of the polling this week would reflect the true feelings of the registered voters in South Darfur.
     

  • He expressed the hope that when the counting starts on 15 January, the process of tabulating and aggregation and the final announcement would be as smooth and transparent as the voting.
     

  • On Wednesday, the Panel members will travel to other states across Sudan as they continue to monitor the referendum process.

 

U.N.-SUPPORTED HUMANITARIAN TEAM WRAPS UP TWO-DAY VISIT TO WESTERN CÔTE D’IVOIRE

  • A humanitarian country team comprising UN agencies and non-governmental organizations has completed a two-day visit to western Côte d’Ivoire, where the team assessed the needs of more than 16,000 displaced persons. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Ndolamb Ngokwey, reminded local authorities of the need to ensure the protection of civilians and comply with human rights standards.
     

  • The inter-agency mission also handed over supplies of medicines and non-food items to the Catholic Mission of Duékoué, which is providing shelter for thousands of the displaced.
     

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is building a new refugee camp for Ivorians in eastern Liberia. The agency says that there are now some 25,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia, with around 600 people arriving each day.
     

  • The new camp, in the town of Bahn, can house some 18,000 refugees initially. The site will provide services including health, water, sanitation, and schooling.  Meanwhile, the agency continues to deliver aid to villages where refugees are located.
     

  • Asked about the recent blocking of a UN convoy, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) reports that on 10 January, a UNOCI logistics convoy comprising four civilian trucks was stopped at the checkpoint near the American Embassy in Abidjan on its way to re-supply the Golf Hotel.
     

  • A few minutes later, three vehicles with some 20 Defense and Security Force (FDS) elements arrived at the location. A crowd of several hundred gathered which included five additional vehicles with some 50 elements of FDS, police and gendarmerie.
     

  • Nesirky said that four civilians who were part of the UN convoy were taken into custody. Meanwhile, the crowd began looting the items from the vehicles. UNOCI elements left to bring reinforcements and when they returned, the three civilian trucks and the four drivers were missing.
     

  • UNOCI is in direct contact with the FDS leadership to ascertain their whereabouts. The Mission is investigating the incident and is also putting in place measures in order to mitigate the risk of such incidents occurring in the future.
     

  • Asked about prospects for a unity government, the Spokesperson underscored that the will of the people needs to be respected and that Laurent Gbagbo accordingly needs to step down.

 

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: SECURITY COUNCIL VOICES SUPPORT FOR REGIONAL EFFORTS TO PEACEFULLY RESOLVE CRISIS

  • In a press statement issued on Monday evening, the members of the Security Council expressed their support for the efforts by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in seeking a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire.
     

  • Security Council members expressed their deep concern over continued violence and human rights violations in Côte d’Ivoire, including against UN peacekeepers, and condemned deliberate attempts to impede the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) from fulfilling its mandate, including the protection of civilians and the investigation of reported atrocities. 
     

  • In this context, the members of the Security Council strongly condemned and demanded an immediate halt to the use of media, especially via Radiodiffusion-Télévision ivoirienne (RTI), to propagate false information to incite hatred and violence, including against the United Nations.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, OMAN

  • The Secretary-General will travel to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and to Oman during mid-January.
     

  • The Secretary-General will attend the fourth annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES) that will be held in Abu Dhabi from 17-20 January to discuss renewable and future energy solutions, innovations, investments, and policy. While in the U.A.E., the Secretary-General will meet with U.A.E. leaders and visit Masdar City.
     

  • From Abu Dhabi, the Secretary-General will travel to Muscat. In Oman, the Secretary-General will pay an official visit and meet with leaders of the country. Among subjects of common interest will be the forthcoming Decade of Action for Road Safety.

 

U.N. CONTINUES ITS HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE AS ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF HAITI QUAKE APPROACHES

  • Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, and the United Nations’ humanitarian response continues.
     

  • At present, 810,000 people, out of the 1.5 million left homeless by the earthquake, live in spontaneous and organized sites. More than 31,000 transitional shelters were built. Between February and November of last, 240,000 people were employed through Cash-for-work and Food-for-work programmes.
     

  • Some 2,100 damaged schools – that’s 68 percent - were cleared of debris. 1.1 million children received daily meals through the National School Feeding Programme.
     

  • Ninety percent of internally displaced people in Port-au-Prince have access to health clinics.
     

  • High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, have issued statements on the occasion of the one-year anniversary.
     

  • Asked about the origins of the cholera outbreak, the Spokesperson noted the formation of an independent panel that will look into how the outbreak originated.

 

SRI LANKA: U.N. ASSISTING WITH HUMANITARIAN ASSESSMENT IN WAKE OF FLOODS

  • In Sri Lanka, continuous rains since 26 December have caused floods, land and rock and mud slides and displacement, mainly in the eastern and central parts of the island state.
     

  • Initial area assessments have been conducted in the past 24 hours in several affected districts. Preliminary findings include assistance needed in the areas of food, non-food items, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
     

  • Today, an assessment is being carried out by the Sri Lankan Government’s Disaster Management Centre with the support of the UN Humanitarian Country Team across all affected districts in the East, North and Central Provinces. More information about the situation and current needs will be available in the next few days.
     

  • The World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also all active on the ground.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

BAN KI-MOON CALLS FOR RESTRAINT, RESPECT FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN TUNISIA: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is concerned about the escalation of violent clashes between security forces and protestors in Tunisia, and the resulting deaths and injuries. The Secretary-General calls for restraint and urges all parties to seek to resolve differences through dialogue. He underscores the importance of full respect for freedom of expression.

 

MEMBER STATES TO BE INFORMED ABOUT CLOSURE OF BANK ACCOUNTS: Asked about the close of bank accounts for Member States’ United States missions by one US bank, the Spokesperson said that this was a matter for Member States to resolve with the host country. A US diplomat is expected to brief UN Missions about the matter, he added.

 

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