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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

MONDAY, 31 JANUARY 2011

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT IN ADDIS ABABA, UNDERLINES NEED FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN EGYPT

  • The Secretary-General is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he has been attending the African Union Summit and also meeting with African leaders on the margins of that summit.
     

  • Earlier today, he spoke at an AU event on Sudan, saying that country has reached a historic point.  All reports indicate a generally peaceful referendum process with a large turnout. He added that, as we reach the final days of the referendum, it is critical that all stakeholders exercise restraint and avoid provocative action. 
     

  • He also attended a high-level meeting on Somalia, saying that the challenge with that country is to make up for lost time, and move decisively with implementation of the priority transitional tasks.  Those include helping the Transitional Federal Government to accelerate the outreach and reconciliation efforts towards all Somali political organizations and armed groups that renounce violence.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS LEADERS IN EGYPT SHOULD LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE AND ENSURE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION

  • At a press conference on Sunday in Addis Ababa, the Secretary-General was asked about the situation in Egypt, among other things. He said that leaders of any country, including Egypt, should first of all listen attentively to the voices of the people, and they have a broad responsibility to provide decent jobs and good opportunities to maintain a decent living. At the same time, he said, it is important that the Governments ensure that a proper channel of communication is ensured, through freedom of speech and association. He also said it was important that protests should be peaceful.
     

  • Asked whether the Secretary-General would be willing to offer UN electoral support for Egypt, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is watching the situation closely and has made clear that the leadership there needs to deliver on the people’s aspirations.
     

  • Asked about reports of human rights violations, Nesirky noted that the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for an investigation into any excessive use of force. The Secretary-General supports that call.
     

  • Asked whether there needs to be a change of government, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had made clear that the Government needs to listen to what the people are saying and should undertake bold measures.
     

  • Asked whether the United Nations would assist the Egyptian people, Nesirky said that would depend on a request from the Egyptians themselves.

 

U.N.-AFRICAN UNION MEDIATOR WELCOMES STATEMENT BY MOVEMENTS COMMITTING TO PEACE TALKS

  • The Joint Chief Mediator for the Darfur Peace Process, Djibril Bassolé, has welcomed the joint statement from the main Darfur movements, which for the first time states their common commitment to the international peace talks. He said that this is an unprecedented agreement to stand together on these issues.
     

  • In a statement, Mr. Bassolé said this breakthrough gives a new reason to hope that a just and sustainable peace can be reached.
     

  • He said that to reach a true peace in Darfur, it is essential that all the belligerents enter immediately into negotiations and cease hostilities.

 

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY AIRLIFTS TONNES OF SUPPLIES FOR IVORIAN REFUGEES IN LIBERIA

  • A cargo plane chartered by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) landed on Sunday in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, carrying 83 tonnes of aid for tens of thousands of refugees who have fled post-election tensions in Côte d'Ivoire.
     

  • This is the second airlift organized by the Agency for Ivorian refugees in the past two months. The supplies, including blankets and plastic mats, will be transported to eastern Liberia, where more than 31,000 Ivorians have been sheltering.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA’S PRESIDENCY OF SECURITY COUNCIL ENDS: Today is the last day of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Presidency of the Security Council, and on Tuesday, Brazil will assume the rotating Presidency of the Council. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, the Council President for February, will brief reporters on the programme of work for the coming month on Wednesday.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S LONDON SCHEDULE INCLUDES MEETINGS WITH SENIOR U.K. OFFICIALS: Asked about the Secretary-General’s schedule in London, the Spokesperson said he would meet with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, speak at Oxford University, and participate in an event on combating piracy at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL SUPPORT HIGH LEVEL PANEL ON CÔTE D’IVOIRE: In response to a question, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had expressed concerns about divisions among African leaders on Côte d’Ivoire. Over the weekend, he added, the African Union had restated its position on Côte d’Ivoire and appointed a High Level Panel to look into the matter, which the Secretary-General has welcomed and said he would support.

 

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA IS PARAMOUNT: Asked about reports concerning the treatment of the press in Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson restated the importance of freedom of expression and of the media.

 

 

 

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