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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

THURSDAY, 13 JANUARY 2011

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT ATTACKS ON U.N. VEHICLES IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE

  • The Secretary-General is deeply concerned that regular and irregular forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo have begun to attack and burn United Nations’ vehicles. Beginning this morning, there have been a total of six incidents involving such attacks in Abidjan where a UN Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) military vehicle was burned. A doctor and the driver of an ambulance targeted in one of the attacks were injured.
     

  • The Secretary-General strongly condemns these attacks, as well as the armed attack by regular FDS forces on a UNOCI convoy in Abobo on Wednesday. He condemns the continuing use of the State broadcasting corporation, RTI to instigate violence against the United Nations peacekeeping mission, including false information alleging that United Nations peacekeepers are extending active support to Forces Nouvelles soldiers.
     

  • The Secretary-General once again warns those responsible for organizing and carrying out such attacks that they will be held accountable. He stresses that both attacks on peacekeepers and destruction of assets deployed for purposes of protecting civilians constitute crimes under international law.

 

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: U.N. ENVOY VISITS ABOBO NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ABIDJAN TO MONITOR SECURITY SITUATION

  • On Wednesday evening, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cote d’Ivoire, Choi Young-Jin, and Force Commander Abdul Hafiz went to the PK-18 area of the Abobo neighbourhood of Abidjan, to monitor the security situation there. As the Secretary-General said in a statement issued on Wednesday, the situation in Abobo has been tense in the last few days.
     

  • In that statement, the Secretary-General reiterated that any attacks on United Nations peacekeepers are unacceptable. He assures all Ivorians of the mission’s commitment to protect of civilians irrespective of their political affiliation. He calls on all concerned to desist from obstructing the Mission from carrying out its mandated tasks.
     

  • Mr. Choi’s delegation to Abobo on Wednesday night was intended to assure the protection of the civilian population who face the risk of human rights violations from forces in Laurent Gbagbo’s camp. There will be a statement this afternoon in response to the events taking place on the ground in Abidjan today.

 

SUDAN: VOTING FOR INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM PASSES HALF-WAY MARK

  • The week-long independence referendum in South Sudan passed its half-way mark on Wednesday, with a continued large turnout and without any major incident.
     

  • The UN Secretary-General's Panel on the Referenda in the Sudan today continued its monitoring of the Southern Sudan referendum as a fifth day of voting concluded. The Panel members visited polling centres and met with referendum authorities and voters in the states of Nile, Upper Nile and Lakes today. Voting is scheduled to finish on Saturday, 15 January.
     

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson confirmed that three helicopter crew members working for the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), managed by the UN World Food Programme, have been abducted by armed men in Sudan. The incident happened at 1035hrs local time on Thursday at a landing strip at Um Shalaya, 60 km south-east of El Geneina in West Darfur.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL EMPHASIZES IMPORTANCE OF CALM IN LEBANON

  • In response to questions about the collapse of the government in Lebanon, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is monitoring closely developments in Lebanon, where the situation is fast evolving. He emphasizes the importance that calm be preserved. The Secretary-General further calls for continuing dialogue among all parties and respect for the Constitution and the laws of Lebanon. He reiterates his full support for the independent work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
     

  • Asked about the Tribunal’s work, the Spokesperson said that the Tribunal was expected to go about its work, which the Secretary-General supports.
     

  • Asked about the situation in Ghajar, he said that the matter came up during a tripartite meeting involving the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israeli Defense Force.

 

BAN KI-MOON CONCERNED ABOUT VIOLENT CLASHES IN TUNISIA

  • Asked about the recent clashes in Tunisia, 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.
     

  • The Spokesperson also noted the recent statement from High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on her concerns about Tunisia.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT DETENTIONS IN BELARUS

  • In response to a question, 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.
     

  • Nesirky added that the Secretary-General 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.

 

U.N. ENVOY FOR WEST AFRICA VISITS NIGER

  • Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, is in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
     

  • Mr. Djinnit is travelling as part of a tripartite delegation that includes the vice-president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) commissioner for peace and security.
     

  • Mr. Djinnit’s office says that the delegation will express the support of the UN, AU and ECOWAS to the transition process in Niger. They will also assess progress and remaining challenges in the effort to restore constitutional order, including the organization of the elections.
     

  • The joint delegation is scheduled to meet the national authorities and institutions, as well as presidential candidates and members of the international community in Niamey.

 

CHINESE OFFICIAL NAMED FORCE COMMANDER OF U.S. MISSION IN CYPRUS

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Major General Chao Liu of the People’s Republic of China as the Force Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
     

  • Major General Liu succeeds Rear Admiral Mario Sánchez Debernardi of Peru, who completed his assignment on 31 December 2010.

 

 

U.N. HELPING SRI LANKA TO ASSIST MORE THAN ONE MILLION PEOPLE AFFECTED BY SEVERE FLOODING

  • In Sri Lanka, the United Nations Country Team is supporting the nation’s Government in helping over one million people affected by the severe floods caused by torrential rains that have been lashing the country in the last few weeks.
     

  • The U.N. Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator, Neil Buhne, says the UN team is supporting the local authorities to collect information and respond to the growing humanitarian needs.  He added that the United Nations will also look at the longer-term effects of the damage to agriculture, infrastructure and housing.
     

  • In the coming week, the UN will launch an appeal for emergency funds to rally donors to support and expand ongoing national efforts to respond to important needs in flood-affected areas.

 

U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF VISITS YEMEN

  • High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres arrived earlier today in Yemen on a joint mission with the European Union Commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, Kristalina Georgieva.

    The two officials will review aid operations for some 300,000 internally displaced civilians in northern Yemen. They will also assess humanitarian challenges caused by the influx of Somalis crossing the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea into Yemen. They are expected to meet with Yemeni officials and press for safer and broader humanitarian access across northern Yemen.

 

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES U.N. REGIONAL CENTRE FOR CENTRAL ASIA

  • The Security Council held consultations this morning on the work of the UN Regional Centre for Central Asia (UNRCCA). The head of the Centre, Miroslav Jenca, briefed the Council on developments in that region.
     

  • Following that meeting, the Council issued a press statement in which the members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to provide appropriate support to the efforts of the Regional Center to facilitate dialogue and assist the Governments of Central Asia on regional issues of their common concern.

 

 

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