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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

WEDNESDAY, 19 JANUARY 2011

  U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF TO SEND ASSESSMENT TEAM TO TUNISIA SHORTLY

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said Wednesday that more than 100 deaths have occurred so far during the unrest in Tunisia. She announced that she plans to send an assessment team to Tunisia in the coming days.
     

  • Pillay said that she expects her team to gather information about the current and past human rights situation and to come back with a set of concrete proposals for action on issues relating to past abuses, as well as future reforms.
     

  • The Secretary-General is fully aware of the statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the planned mission to Tunisia. He fully supports the initiative.
     

  • The Secretary-General has appealed for broad-based consultations in Tunisia to establish an inclusive interim government leading to the holding of timely and credible elections through which the citizens of Tunisia can freely choose their leadership.  The Secretary-General has said United Nations stands ready to provide assistance to the Tunisian people.

 

AT SECURITY COUNCIL, TOP U.N. POLITICAL OFFICIAL WARNS OF HEIGHTENED TENSIONS IN MIDDLE EAST

  • B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, began the Security Council’s open debate on the Middle East this morning by warning that developments in both the occupied Palestinian territory and in Lebanon have heightened tensions recently.
     

  • On the Israeli-Palestinian track, Mr. Pascoe said, we appreciate and support US efforts to engage in parallel talks on substance with the parties. But he added that we are seriously concerned at the continuing lack of progress in the search for a negotiated settlement. Peace and Palestinian statehood cannot be further delayed. He noted that the Quartet Principals will meet in Munich on 5 February.
     

  • Mr. Pascoe noted the dissolution of the coalition government in Lebanon and said that it is essential for all Lebanese leaders to continue to address the current political situation through dialogue, within the parameters established by the Constitution of Lebanon.

 

            FOLLOWING MEETINGS WITH OMANI LEADERS, SECRETARY-GENERAL HEADS BACK TO NEW YORK

  • The Secretary-General headed back to New York today from Oman, where he met with Omani leaders and discussed, among other topics, the forthcoming Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020).
     

  • The Secretary-General met with the Sultan of Oman and discussed road safety, and they also talked about Iran and the Middle East. And he also met with Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister, with whom he discussed Lebanon, the Middle East peace process and Tunisia.

 

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES DEPLOYMENT OF 2,000 ADDITIONAL MILITARY PERSONNEL

  • This morning, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), authorizing the deployment of 2,000 additional military personnel until 30 June of this year, as recommended by the Secretary-General.
     

  • On the ground, the Mission reports that pro-Laurent Gbagbo security forces fired shots to scatter demonstrators attempting to strike in Attecoube on Tuesday.
     

  • More shooting could be heard this morning in that neighborhood, which is near the Mission’s Headquarters. A Mission patrol was dispatched to the area and confirmed that two people were killed and nine were hurt.

 

U.N., MIGRATION GROUP LAUNCH $55 MILLION APPEAL FOR LIBERIA

  • The UN and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have launched an appeal for Liberia asking for $55 million to support refugees and returnees in the country.
     

  • That is addition to the Regional Appeal for Cote d'Ivoire and four neighbouring countries – Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ghana and Mali – for nearly $33 million launched Tuesday by humanitarian agencies in West Africa.
     

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that to date, an estimated 30,000 refugees have fled Côte d’Ivoire, the vast majority of them to Liberia, which is receiving almost 600 new arrivals per day. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that the increasing presence of refugees is putting a strain on the Liberian local communities hosting new arrivals with already limited resources.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES ISRAEL TO ENSURE THAT FLOTILLA REPORT IS COMMUNICATED PROMPTLY TO PANEL OF INQUIRY

  • Asked about delays in receiving a report from Israel on last year’s flotilla incident, the Spokesperson said that the Panel of Inquiry that the Secretary-General appointed with regard to the flotilla incident of 31 May 2010 has kept him abreast of its activities. It is essential for the Panel to review material provided by both sides, Israel and Turkey, on their own national investigations into this incident.
     

  • While Turkey provided a report on its national investigation in September 2010, Israel is still waiting for the final version of the report of the commission, the Turkel Committee, which is conducting its national investigation, to be handed over.
     

  • Geoffrey Palmer, the Chair of the Panel, told the Secretary-General that he has been informed by the Israeli side of another delay in the provision of this report, which is disappointing, Nesirky said.
     

  • The Secretary-General urges Israel, both the Government and the Turkel Committee, to ensure that the report on the flotilla incident is communicated promptly to the Panel of Inquiry. The Panel needs such elements to be able to proceed speedily with its tasks.
     

  • The Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General appreciates the cooperation extended so far by the parties to this process. He strongly encourages them to continue doing so. He reiterates his confidence in the members of the Panel, and their ability to carry out their important mandate.

 

U.N. MISSION SAYS LEADERS OF TROOPS INVOLVED IN D.R. CONGO RAPES MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE

  • In response to questions about rapes in Fizi, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in that country (MONUSCO) has called for the removal of the Commander and Deputy Commander of the unit whose troops were involved in the incidents, and asked that they be held accountable.
     

  • The Mission has also urged prompt actions to ensure that all the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Spokesperson said.
     

  • Nesirky added that the Mission’s understanding is that ten Congolese Armed Forces soldiers have been detained in Fizi in connection with the incidents.  Two others, who are Majors, have fled from the area.
     

  • The Governor of South Kivu has informed MONUSCO that the soldiers will be tried in a court which is to be set up in Fizi and that he expects the proceedings to start next week. The Commander of the troops at the time of incident has not been arrested, the Spokesperson added.

 

IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK IN TIKRIT

  • Ad Melkert, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Tuesday that targeted police recruits in Tikrit and resulted in the killing of dozens of people and injuries to many others.
     

  • Mr. Melkert expressed great concern that such acts of violence, including today’s attack, are targeting the Iraqi security forces, who are striving to rebuild the country and protect all Iraqi citizens. He extends his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and his wishes for the full and speedy recovery for the wounded.

 

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME, AFGHAN OFFICIALS MAP OUT FOOD PROVISION STRATEGY

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Afghanistan met on Tuesday to map out a common strategy on the provision of the agency’s food aid to millions of vulnerable Afghans over the next three years.
     

  • The talks sought to strengthen cooperation between WFP and the Government ministries it works with in the South Asian nation.
     

  • In Afghanistan, the agency aims to both provide life-saving relief and emergency assistance, as well as to help the country improve its overall food security.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

OFFICIAL NAMED TO SENIOR U.N. POST IN GUINEA-BISSAU: The Secretary-General has appointed Gana Fofang of Cameroon to serve as his Deputy Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau. He will also serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative. Mr. Fofang is currently the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sao Tome and Principe.

 

U.N. AND PARTNERS APPEAL FOR AID FOR SRI LANKA: In response to devastating flooding in Sri Lanka, the United Nations and its partners are seeking $51 million to meet the urgent needs of more than one million people for the next six months. Torrential rain caused by the La Nina weather phenomenon in Sri Lanka’s eastern and central districts in the last week has caused more than 360,000 people to flee their homes and claimed 43 lives.

 

* The guests at the noon briefing were Special Advisers Francis Deng and Edward Luck.

 

 

 

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