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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, 20 JANUARY 2011

 

U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF UNDERLINES NEED FOR SWIFT CONCLUSION TO HAITIAN POLITICAL CRISIS

  • Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Security Council on Haiti in an open meeting this morning. He said that, after a year marked by the devastating earthquake of 12 January last year, and the cholera epidemic, it is of paramount importance that the current political crisis is brought to a swift conclusion, so that the Government and people of Haiti can focus on the challenges of reconstruction and recovery.
     

  • He said that Haiti’s Electoral Commission has officially received the report of the Organization of American States’ technical mission and must now honour its commitment to fully take into account the report’s recommendations. Mr. Le Roy said that if the Electoral Commission decides otherwise, Haiti may well face a constitutional crisis, with the possibility of considerable unrest and insecurity.
     

  • Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos also briefed the Council on efforts to combat the cholera epidemic.
     

  • Asked about Michéle Montas’s lawsuit against Jean-Claude Duvalier, the Spokesperson said that Ms. Montas was acting in her personal capacity, as is her right.

 

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: AT LEAST 260 PEOPLE KILLED SINCE ELECTIONS

  • In a press conference today in Abidjan, Simon Munzu, the head of the Human Rights Division of the UN Mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), said that UNOCI had confirmed 13 new deaths due to post-electoral violence. That brings the total number of those killed since the elections to at least 260.
     

  • In addition, Mr. Munzu reported seven new cases of disappearances – bringing the total number of missing persons to 68. He also cited cases of sexual violence in Abidjan, Bouaké, Duékoué and Man.
     

  • For his part, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire, Ndolamb Ngokwey, said he was particularly concerned about cases of sexual violence in the western part of the country, including those involving minors between the ages of 6 and 9.
     

  • He also gave an update on the humanitarian assistance in the West, saying that the UN was providing water, hygiene kits and medical equipment to the displaced. He said that the number of registered displaced persons remains at 16,000, with another 29,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia and other neighboring countries.

 

U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER

  • Michael Williams, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri today, and they discussed the various international initiatives, most recently by Turkey and Qatar, and the prospect for achieving a new Government and political stability in Lebanon.
     

  • Mr. Williams told reporters afterward that is possible to have a new Government, provided that there is a good will and cooperation of all political parties in working for justice as well as stability.
     

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s contacts on Lebanon, the Spokesperson said that he had discussed Lebanon with a number of leaders during his travels in the United Arab Emirates and Oman this week. He added that the Secretary-General is monitoring the situation in Lebanon closely.

 

U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL CONTINUES VISIT TO SRI LANKA

  • On the second day of her three-day visit in Sri Lanka, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg traveled across the country to get a better understanding of humanitarian priorities.
     

  • Ms. Bragg traveled to two districts in the north which have only recently been cleared of landmines, allowing 263 Internally Displaced families to return and begin rebuilding their lives.
     

  • There, she stressed that, although significant progress has been made in meeting the needs of the displaced and promoting returns, those who have been released now face a daily struggle to rebuild their lives, and have to start from scratch.
     

  • She also traveled to the flood-ravaged eastern provinces to assess the extent of the damage, especially in the agricultural sector, which has lost 80 per cent of this season’s harvest in some places.
     

  • Ms. Bragg wrapped up the day by launching a $51 million Flash Appeal to meet the urgent needs of one million people for the next six months due to the recent floods. Meanwhile, a $6 million grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has been allocated to start key life-saving projects listed in the Flash Appeal.

           

SOARING PRICES COULD SPUR MORE FARMERS TO GROW OPIUM, U.N. ANTI-NARCOTICS BODY WARNS

  • The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that soaring opium prices may induce more farmers to grow opium, according to an assessment of the findings in its 2010 Afghanistan Opium Survey released today. The high prices are based on speculation arising from an opium blight that cut production in half 2010 and from military operations.
     

  • In 2010, the report says, the average price of dry opium at harvest time increased by 164 per cent from 2009. The average annual income of opium-growing households in 2009 was 17 per cent higher than for households that had stopped opium cultivation.

 

NIGER: DESPITE GOOD HARVEST, MALNUTRITION RATES STILL HIGH, U.N. AGENCIES WARN

  • In spite of a good harvest, acute malnutrition rates are still high in Niger, according to a joint assessment by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
     

  • The agencies urge the international community to continue providing assistance to Niger so that the gains in food production and food security are not reversed.
     

  • Last year, Niger’s Government, supported by the UN, launched a massive humanitarian intervention which averted the worst effects of a food and nutrition crisis that jeopardized seven million people.

 

U.N. DE-MINERS MARK SIX YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL WORK IN CYPRUS

  • The UN Mine Action Centre in Cyprus (UNMACC) marked six years of successful work on the island, having cleared more than 27,000 landmines once strewn along the 180-kilometre-long buffer zone.
     

  • The de-miners, who are contracted by the UN, will shut down their current operations next month.
     

  • They have “dedicated years of their lives far away from their own homes to make Cyprus – your home – a safer place,” said Lisa Buttenheim, who heads the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

U.N. HUMANITARIAN ARM IN TOUCH WITH PAKISTANI AUTHORITIES ON EARTHQUAKE: Asked about the earthquake in Balochistan, the Spokesperson said that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is in contact with the Pakistani authorities for further information and support should this be required.

 

JOINT U.N.-AFRICAN UNION MISSION CONFIRMS THREE STUDENTS INJURED IN NORTH DARFUR SHOOTING INCIDENT: Asked about a shooting incident in Darfur, the Spokesperson said that the UN-African Union Mission (UNAMID) confirmed that three students were injured during a shooting incident at a high school in El Fasher, North Darfur, on 18 January. They were evacuated by local authorities to Khartoum for medical treatment. One of them is listed in critical condition.

 

PANEL OF INQUIRY ON FLOTILLA INCIDENT EXPECTED SOON: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that a report from Israel concerning the flotilla incident of 31 May 2010 is expected to be going to the Panel of Inquiry soon, although there has been a delay. He said that the report was expected to come promptly, and called previous delays in providing that report disappointing.

 

U.N. OFFICIAL IN MIDDLE EAST PROMOTED TO SENIOR HUMANITARIAN POSITION: Asked about John Ging’s departure from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Spokesperson said he was being promoted to be Director of the Coordination and Response Division of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). He should be arriving in New York in the coming weeks.

 

 

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