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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

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

TUESDAY, 18 JANUARY 2011

  CÔTE D’IVOIRE: U.N. MISSION ENCIRCLED BY GBAGBO SUPPORTERS IN ABIDJAN

  • The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) says that on Monday, in Abidjan, the Mission’s security elements stationed at the entrance of the Pullman Hotel ahead of the arrival of the African Union’s Emissary, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, were encircled by a group of young people from Laurent Gbagbo’s camp.
     

  • The armed elements, who were supporting this group, opened fired in the direction of the UNOCI vehicles forcing the peacekeepers to respond by shooting in the air.
     

  • The Mission says that the version of events given last night by the Radiodiffusion télévision ivoirienne (RTI) on the incident was not based on facts and was in fact part of the ongoing media campaign against UNOCI. 
     

  • The Mission deplores the repeated acts of aggression against its patrols by part of the population, supported by forces of Laurent Gbagbo’s camp.
     

  • According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), aid agencies in West Africa today launched a nearly $33 million emergency plan to be prepared for needs that could arise due to the political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire.
     

  • Two million Ivorians – including 100,000 refugees and 450,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) – could be affected if a major humanitarian crisis develops, OCHA warns.
     

  • The six-month appeal aims to allow UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to secure funds to provide aid to Côte d'Ivoire and its neighbours: Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELS TO OMAN AFTER MEETINGS IN U.A.E.

  • The Secretary-General is on his way to Oman from the United Arab Emirates, where he had met with a number of leaders today on the margins of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
     

  • Among them, the Secretary-General met with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates. They discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including the Middle East peace process, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. And the Secretary-General also travelled briefly to Dubai to meet with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, who is also the Emir of Dubai.
     

  • Among other leaders, the Secretary-General met separately today with Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh; José Sócrates, the Prime Minister of Portugal; and Ali Asif Zardari, the President of Pakistan.
     

  • And the Secretary-General also held a town hall meeting with UN staff working in the UAE.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO SWITZERLAND, ETHIOPIA

  • The Secretary-General will travel to Switzerland and Ethiopia next week.
     

  • In Geneva, he will open the 2011 Consolidated Appeal Resource Mobilization Conference. He will also address the Human Rights Council as well as the Conference on Disarmament. The Secretary-General will also make remarks on the occasion of the first meeting of the Accountability Commission for Women’s and Children's health, co-chaired by Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.
     

  • And as the Secretary-General himself announced earlier, he will meet with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders while he is in Geneva.
     

  • He will also go to Lausanne where he will meet with the International Olympic Committee.
     

  • The Secretary-General will then attend the World Economic Forum in Davos. He will speak at a number of sessions of the Forum, including on Combating Chronic Disease, Human Security, A New Vision for Agriculture and Sustainable Development. He will also meet with a number of Heads of State and Government while he is there.
     

  • The Secretary-General will later travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to attend the African Union (AU) Summit. He will meet many Heads of State and Government during that summit.
     

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s visit to Lausanne, the Spokesperson noted that a number of sporting organizations have been working with the United Nations in efforts to encourage peace and the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

 

END OF REFERENDUM MARKS MILESTONE IN SUDAN PEACE PROCESS, U.N. ENVOY TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL

  • This morning, the Security Council heard from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Haile Menkerios, about the referendum for Southern Sudan that has just concluded.
     

  • In an open briefing, Mr. Menkerios said that the conclusion of the referendum marks an historic milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Now, he said, both the North and the South will need new constitutional arrangements. He added that the United Nations will need to continue supporting the parties through the rest of the peace process.
     

  • Mr. Menkerios also discussed the tensions in Abyei, saying that the continued absence of a final settlement for Abyei’s future status leaves open the possibility of further clashes between the communities on the ground.
     

  • Discussions on Sudan continued in the Council’s closed consultations.

 

U.N. MISSION WELCOMES AGREEMENT BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS OF SUDAN, SOUTHERN SUDAN

  • The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has welcomed the agreement concluded on Monday in Southern Kordofan State, between the delegations from the Government of Sudan and Government of Southern Sudan.
     

  • The key measures of this agreement include the provision of security for Abyei, ensuring the freedom of migration for Misseriya nomads to Aybei and southwards; and providing security for the movement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning home.
     

  • The agreement builds on and widens the accord between the Misseriya and the Dinka Ngok, reached last week in Abyei.
     

U.N.-AFRICAN UNION ENVOY URGES CALM IN WEST DARFUR

  • Ibrahim Gambari, the Joint Special Representative of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), has called for calm in the wake of recent incidents in Nertiti, West Darfur.
     

  • Violence broke out in the town, which located 63 kilometers east of Zalingei, on 15 January when a National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) officer was killed by unidentified armed men.
     

  • Following the shooting, local authorities conducted a house-to-house search for the suspects. That action led to further tension with an exchange of fire in which one Sudanese police officer and an additional National Intelligence and Security Service official died.
     

  • In the attempt by Government forces to locate the suspects, several properties were damaged or destroyed.
     

  • A UNAMID assessment team visited the scene after the unrest, gathering information from the local population. The patrol observed several burned houses. Shops and markets were closed. 
     

  • At present, the security situation in the area is calm. UNAMID continues verification and routine patrols of the affected area.
     

  • Mr. Gambari is calling upon on all concerned parties to exercise the utmost restraint.

 

SPOKESPERSON: DUVALIER’S RETURN TO HAITI A SOURCE OF CONCERN

  • Asked about the arrival last Sunday of Jean-Claude Duvalier in Port-au-Prince, the Spokesperson said that Duvalier’s arrival came as a total surprise to the United Nations Mission (MINUSTAH), as was the case for many people. The reasons of his sudden return are still unknown.
     

  • Nesirky said it was a source of concern to see him resurfacing in the landscape, especially now, at a critical time for the stability of the country, as all energies are focused on looking for a settlement of the current electoral crisis. 
     

  • The Spokesperson recalled that Jean-Claude Duvalier had to flee his own country, 25 years ago, after fifteen years of dictatorship, which are remembered by many Haitians as a period of massive human rights violations.
     

  • He later added that the Mission reports that it had no involvement in today’s developments involving former President Duvalier and the Haitian judicial authorities.

 

U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL VISITS SRI LANKA

  • United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catharine Bragg has embarked on a visit to Sri Lanka from 19-21 January, to highlight the humanitarian needs there and to advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable, in particular internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees.
     

  • Ms. Bragg is set to visit the north of the country where thousands have returned following the end of the conflict, as well as visit the worst-flood affected areas in the east. 
     

  • UN and humanitarian partners will launch a Flash Appeal for emergency funds on 20 January.
     

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that Ms. Bragg’s visit was focused on humanitarian issues and was unrelated to the work of the advisory panel on Sri Lanka.

 

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY ENCOURAGED BY POSITIVE MEETINGS ON YEMEN

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that it is encouraged by the positive meetings it has had in recent days with Yemeni authorities and representatives of the al-Houthi group on the need for improved humanitarian support for northern Yemen.
     

  • These talks took place during the visit to the country by High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.
     

  • The agency also expressed its concern today over reports that Sweden plans to forcibly send some 25 Iraqis back to Baghdad tomorrow. According to UNHCR, some of them belong to religious and ethnic groups targeted by violence in their home country.

 

U.N. UNIVERSITY AMONG WORLD’S TOP THINK TANKS, ACCORDING TO NEW SURVEY

  • The United Nations University (UNU) ranks both among the world’s top ten government-affiliated think tanks and the top ten international development think tanks, according to the 2010 “Global Go-To Think Tank Ranking” report.
     

  • That index is based on a survey of some 1,500 scholars, journalists, policy-makers and others from nearly 120 countries and the ranking is distilled from more than 5,000 nominated policy organizations from all regions of the world.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CLOSELY FOLLOWING SITUATION IN TUNISIA: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General continues to follow the situation in Tunisia closely and with concern.  He has called again for restraint in the use of force and full respect for freedom of expression and association.  The United Nations is still concerned with the violence that persists in Tunisia, and has asked for dialogue in order to resolve problems peacefully and to prevent further violence and escalation.

 

U.N. FORCE HAS NO MANDATE TO DELINEATE MARITIME BOUNDARY BETWEEN LEBANON, ISRAEL: Asked about the maritime boundary between Lebanon and Israel, the Spokesperson said that a boundary was never established. The UN Interim Force (UNIFIL) has no mandate to delineate a maritime boundary.

 

* The guest at the noon briefing was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin.

 

 

 

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