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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

SPOKESPERSON’S DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

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

THURSDAY, 12 JANUARY 2012

HAITI: U.N. MARKS SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF EARTHQUAKE

  • Thursday is the second anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

  • In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the Secretary-General honoured the memory of the more than two hundred thousand people who perished in the earthquake, including one hundred and two United Nations personnel. He also paid tribute to the Government and people of Haiti who made important strides in rebuilding their country.

  • On Wednesday, the Secretary-General also spoke by telephone with President Martelly and reiterated the United Nations’ continued commitment to accompany the Government and people of Haiti on the path to a secure and prosperous future.

  • Work done in the past two years has yielded the following results:

  • About two-thirds of all internally displaced persons (IDPs) have left the camps.

  • Fifty per cent of rubble has now been removed.

  • Some 400,000 Haitians have been provided with short-term employment in labor-intensive projects.

  • More children go to school now than before the quake.

  • The United Nations continues to provide and coordinate humanitarian assistance in Haiti. The World Food Programme (WFP) for example provides food assistance to 1.5 million people. The Report of the United Nations in Haiti 2011, which details the work of the United Nations in the country, has just been released.

  • Later on Thursday, Anthony Banbury, Assistant Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, will deliver a message on behalf of the Secretary-General during a United Nations ceremony in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

  • Asked about Haiti, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General took the cholera outbreak and other events in Haiti very seriously. The focus is to bring the spread of the disease under control and help those affected.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DEPARTS FOR LEBANON, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be leaving later on Thursday for a visit to Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

  • The visit to Lebanon is at the invitation of both President Sleiman and Prime Minister Mikati. 

  • In Lebanon, the Secretary-General will meet the President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament as well as the acting head of the opposition.

  • The Secretary-General will also visit peacekeepers from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and open a high-level meeting on Arab reforms and democracy organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which is based in Beirut.

  • From Lebanon, the Secretary-General will travel to Abu Dhabi to convene his High Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All and attend the World Future Energy Summit. He will highlight the need for sustainable energy policies to provide the world’s growing population with universal energy access, improved energy efficiency, and increasing renewable energy.

  • In both Beirut and Abu Dhabi, the Secretary-General will have a number of bilateral meetings with visiting leaders.

  • The Secretary-General will be back in New York on Tuesday.

  • Asked about Secretary-General's trip to Lebanon, the Spokesperson said the visit is an opportunity for the Secretary-General to discuss a number of important issues with Lebanese leaders.

SECRETARY-GENERAL BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON U.N.-AFRICAN UNION PARTNERSHIP

  • On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General briefed the Security Council on the United Nations-African Union partnership in the area of peace and security.

  • The Secretary-General noted that here at the UN, activities to enhance stability in Africa take up a significant part of the agenda of the Security Council and they are among his leading priorities.

  • He said that over the last few years, the UN has strengthened the partnership with the African Union at the Secretariat level in several concrete ways.

  • First, the AU-UN Joint Task Force has proven to be an effective mechanism for consultations.

  • Second, we have revamped our Office in Addis Ababa to further strengthen our cooperation.

  • Thirdly, our regional offices, peacekeeping operations and special political missions are cooperating closely with the African Union and subregional organizations.

  • Finally, joint assessment missions have also been essential in ensuring a common understanding of emerging issues.

  • The Secretary-General said he looked forward to the African Union Summit later this month.

U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF URGES END TO SECTARIAN VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has urged Nigerian national, local, religious and opinion leaders to make a bold and concerted effort to halt the spiralling sectarian violence following a series of recent attacks by the Boko Haram group.

  • She said it was essential that the country’s leadership, and especially its Muslim and Christian leaders, join forces to unequivocally condemn all violence.

  • Ms. Pillay also said it was vital that the security forces respect human rights, and avoid excessive use of force, when conducting operations so as not to stoke further tensions and resentment among local inhabitants.

  • She expressed concern about the recent loss of life during protests over the removal of fuel subsidies, and urged the authorities to carry out transparent independent, impartial and thorough investigations into those events.

HAITI, URUGUAY TO LIAISE ON ALLEGED ABUSES IN HAITI – U.N. MISSION

  • On the case concerning some of Uruguay’s peacekeepers in the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the Department for Peacekeeping Operations says that the Government of Haiti has designated a focal point to liaise with the Uruguayan authorities in order to facilitate the interviews of Haitian nationals, including the alleged victim, by Uruguayan judicial officials.  

  • The UN Secretariat has informed the Permanent Mission of Uruguay of this development and has asked to be kept informed of the outcome of the judicial proceedings.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

HELICOPTERS CAN FLY IN U.N. MISSIONS AS NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE: Asked about why Russian helicopters did not fly in South Sudan when the violence broke out, the Spokesperson said the UN does not discuss negotiations with Member States on the use of their military assets. But he noted that even when "Letters of Assist" are being negotiated, helicopters do fly.

DIFFERENCES ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME SHOULD BE RESOLVED PEACEFULLY: Asked about the Iranian nuclear programme, the Spokesperson said all differences should be resolved by peaceful means, and that it is up to the Iranian Government to satisfy the international community that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

***The guest at the Noon Briefing was Mark Bowden, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

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