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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

FRIDAY, 20 JANUARY 2012

SECRETARY-GENERAL LOOKS FORWARD TO CONCRETE PROGRESS DURING MEETING WITH CYPRIOT LEADERS

  • The Secretary-General will host a joint meeting with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities on 23-24 January at the Greentree Estate in Long Island, New York.  This is fifth time that the Secretary-General is meeting with Mr. Christofias and Mr. Eroğlu in the framework of the Cyprus negotiations. 
  • The United Nations is providing all possible support to these Cypriot-led negotiations.
  • The Secretary-General looks forward to a productive meeting and concrete progress.  He has conveyed his expectations to the leaders for a resolution of this issue. He believes that with political will and firm commitment the two leaders can and should reach a much-needed settlement on Cyprus.

U.N. CALLS ON CAMBODIA TO TAKE IMMEDIATE STEPS TO APPOINT RESERVE INTERNATIONAL CO-INVESTIGATIONS JUDGE

  • On 19 January 2012, the Royal Government of Cambodia formally notified the Secretary-General of the decision of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy of Cambodia not to appoint the current reserve international Co-Investigating Judge, Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, to the position of international Co-Investigating Judge of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). 
  • This is a matter of serious concern. The decision is a breach of article 5, paragraph 6, of the Agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, done at Phnom Penh on 6 June 2003, which states unequivocally that “[i]n case there is a vacancy or a need to fill the post of the international co-investigating judge, the person appointed to fill this post must be the reserve international co-investigating judge”.
  • The Royal Government of Cambodia raised ethical concerns in relation to Judge Kasper-Ansermet in November 2011. The United Nations thoroughly reviewed the concerns, determined that they were unfounded, and requested that the Supreme Council of the Magistracy proceed with his appointment. The United Nations continues to support Judge Kasper-Ansermet and Cambodia should take immediate steps to appoint him as International Co-Investigating Judge.
  • The Special Expert on the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, Mr. David Scheffer, is travelling to Phnom Penh today for discussions with the Government and senior officials of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

SOUTH SUDAN: MORE THAN 120,000 PEOPLE IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE AFTER RECENT JONGLEI VIOLENCE

  • The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Ms. Lise Grande, said today that more than 120,000 people affected by the recent violence in Jonglei State may need emergency assistance. A massive humanitarian operation was launched two weeks ago to help 60,000 people but Ms. Grande says that as a result of the recent attacks, that number has now doubled
  • According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the most recent spike in inter-communal violence has compounded an already difficult humanitarian situation in South Sudan. It adds that before the crisis in Jonglei, partners were over-stretched, and that they are now supporting 30 simultaneous emergency operations.
  • Ms. Grande said that operations in South Sudan are some of the most difficult and expensive in the region due to the combination of poor infrastructure and limited accessibility. She also said she was very concerned that humanitarian facilities, including health centres, were being targeted during attacks.
  • Asked about the situation in South Sudan, the Spokesperson said that the U.N. had been working very hard to ensure that it had what was needed in place in time. The lack of helicopters continues to be a problem.

SIX MONTHS AFTER DECLARTION OF FAMINE, HUMANITARIANS CALL FOR CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO SOMALIA

  • Six months after famine was declared in parts of Somalia, humanitarians are calling on the world not to forget the plight of four million Somalis in urgent need of assistance.
  • The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said that despite significant progress achieved in pushing back the famine in southern Somalia in 2011, four million people are in urgent need of aid in the country, where famine continues for up to 250,000 Somalis.
  • He added that progress can easily slip backwards if high levels of assistance are not sustained. He said the crisis in Somalia remains the largest in the world and demanded the international community’s attention and commitment.
  • Bowden said that the funding received after famine was declared was crucial to what was achieved last year. Within months, he added, the rapid scale-up in response brought three regions and half a million people out of famine. But he stressed that it was important to build on this to help avoid a continuing cycle of drought, famine and crisis in the country.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS 100,000 DISPLACED IN EASTERN D.R.CONGO SINCE LATE NOVEMBER

  • The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says that renewed violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has displaced more than 100,000 civilians since late November.
  • The agency says that in South Kivu, attacks in Shabunda have displaced some 70,000 people since November.
  • And in North Kivu, an estimated 35,000 people have been displaced as a result of attacks and clashes between rival militia groups in Walikale and Masisi territories. Despite limited access, staff from the UN refugee agency, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) met some of the displaced during an assessment mission to affected areas last week. They found several empty and burned villages as well as looted healthcare centers.
  • The UN refugee agency is working with its partners to address the needs of the displaced by providing shelter, clean water, food and healthcare. 

U.N. MISSION IN LIBYA CONCERNED ABOUT POSSIBILITY THAT THERE WON’T BE A WOMEN QUOTA FOR CONGRESS

  • Asked about reports that a draft law may have dropped a quota for women in the new Libyan Congress, the Spokesperson said the UN mission in Libya, UNSMIL, understood the final text of the law would be published Sunday.
  • He noted that, if it were the case that the quota had been dropped, it would be a matter of considerable concern. The transition to democracy requires the greatest participation, but the situation in Libya makes it unlikely for women to be elected in a manner that guarantees meaningful representation in the Congress without some kind of special measure.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT

  • The Secretary-General will travel to Switzerland and Ethiopia next week.
  • The Secretary-General will first attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • He will engage with a number of private sector leaders and will speak at the WEF sessions on Ending Energy Poverty and on the Rio+20 sustainable development summit.  He will also meet with a number of Heads of State and Government.
  • The Secretary-General will later travel to Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, to attend the African Union Summit.  He will meet with many Heads of State and Government attending the summit.
  • The Secretary-General will also officially receive the report of his High-level Panel on Global Sustainability from the two Panel Co-Chairs: President Jacob Zuma, of South Africa and President Tarja Halonen, of Finland, at a launch event in Addis Ababa on 30 January.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: The Secretary-General has appointed Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias of Brazil, as Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD). Mr. Dias will succeed Ahmed Djoghlaf.

U.N. ENVOY FOR GREECE/F.Y.R.O.M. TALKS TO VISIT REGION: Asked about negotiations between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Spokesperson said that Ambassador Nimetz had recently met with Representatives of the Parties and was consulting with them about a visit to the region.

SECRETARY-GENERAL RECENTLY MET WITH NIGERIA FOREIGN MINISTER: Asked about violence in Nigeria, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General recently met with the Foreign Minister. The Secretary- General will be going to the African Union Summit, and that will offer an opportunity to discuss this topic among others.

NO FORMAL REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE FROM KAZAKHSTAN IN INVESTIGATING RECENT VIOLENCE: Asked about a reported request from Kazakhstan for assistance in investigating violence in the west of the country, the Spokesperson said there had been no formal request to the United Nations. He noted the United Nations has a regional centre in Turkmenistan, and that it had been in contact with authorities in Kazakhstan for an update.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

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