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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 FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2010

 

 

BAN KI-MOON URGES G-20 LEADERS TO BUILD SOLUTIONS FOR POOREST AND MOST VULNERABLE

  • The Secretary-General spoke to reporters in Seoul in advance of the Group of 20 Summit that is to take place there, saying that he will do his best to ensure that the leaders of the world’s biggest and strongest economies build solutions for the poorest and the most vulnerable people around the world into their plans. He said that all countries and all peoples have a stake in the management of the global economy, and the voices of the vulnerable must be heard.
     

  • He stressed the need to keep our promise on the Millennium Development Goals, which he said were “weapons of mass construction.” He also highlighted priorities such as women’s and children’s health, and food and nutrition security, and argued that we must advance our fight against climate change.
     

  • Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General met with President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea, whom he congratulated on hosting the G20 Seoul Summit. He further welcomed the Korean Government's initiative to place development on the G20 agenda. The Secretary-General and the President agreed that the role of the G20 and the United Nations are complementary and should be mutually reinforcing.
     

  • The Secretary-General also met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Kim Hwang-sik, over a working lunch. They discussed a wide range of topics on which the United Nations and the Republic of Korea could cooperate even more closely, including development and the Millennium Development Goals.
     

  • Asked about the disputes among G20 members on currency issues, the Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-General’s priority at the Summit is to keep the G20 leaders focused on development and the needs of the poorest, even as they face a challenging situation in the global economy.
     

  • He noted that the Secretary-General today had called for unity among the G20 members as they deal with currency issues and trade imbalances.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL, SPECIAL ADVISER REMAIN CONTINUOUSLY ENGAGED WITH MYANMAR AUTHORITIES

  • In response to a question about whether the Secretary-General’s good offices on Myanmar have accomplished anything, the Spokesperson said that the broad support among Member States for the continuation of the Secretary-General’s good offices and his Special Adviser speaks for itself.
     

  • It is disappointing that over the past year the Government has failed to respond to the Secretary-General’s and the Special Adviser’s efforts to engage, Haq said. But the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser remain continuously engaged with the Myanmar authorities, including most recently at the highest level around the UN-ASEAN Summit in Hanoi where the Secretary-General had an extensive meeting with Prime Minister Thein Sein and consulted with regional leaders.
     

  • The meeting of the Secretary-General’s Group of Friends on Myanmar at the level of Foreign Ministers during the recent General Assembly remains the highest-level mechanism dedicated to this issue, and the Secretary-General’s initiative to convene it is but the latest example of his successful effort to ensure that Myanmar remains on the international agenda, the Spokesperson added.
     

  • As Myanmar moves to the next phase of its transition, the objectives of democratic transition, national reconciliation, human rights and development will become even more relevant. Haq said that it is in Myanmar’s interest to see the value of active cooperation and engagement with the UN and for Member States to actively encourage Myanmar in this regard.
     

  • Asked about the situation of people displaced by fighting near the Myanmar-Thailand border, the Spokesperson said that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has been present at the border, at the town of Mae Sot, and had been talking to the displaced. Asked about the return of displaced people from Thailand, he added that UNHCR’s policy is that all returns must be voluntary.

 

MOROCCO, FRENTE POLISARIO HOLD BROAD, FRANK DISCUSSIONS ON WESTERN SAHARA

  • The third informal meeting on Western Sahara concluded on Tuesday night in Long Island.
     

  • At the end of the two-day talks, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross, read a Communiqué in which he said that Morocco and the Frente Polisario engaged in broad and frank discussions of each other’s proposals on Western Sahara in an atmosphere of mutual respect -- despite the fact that each party continues to reject the proposal of the other as a basis for future negotiations.
     

  • However, he added that the participants agreed to convene again in December as well as early next year to pursue the negotiating process through innovative approaches.
     

  • Ross also said that for the first time, the delegations of the two parties and the two neighboring states joined together to discuss the program of Confidence Building Measures set forth by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  The parties agreed to resume family visits by air without delay and to accelerate the inauguration of family visits by road.

 

IRAQ: SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS RECENT SPATE OF TERRORIST ATTACKS

  • The Security Council held an open meeting this morning, to discuss the efforts to wind up the work of the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for that country. The Controller, Jun Yamazaki, briefed Council members on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the matter, which provides details of the Monitoring Board’s last meeting, which took place in October in Amman, Jordan.
     

  • The Council also discussed the Development Fund for Iraq in a private meeting.
     

  • The Council President also read a press statement on Iraq, in which he said Council members condemned attacks against religious targets in Iraq. He said Council members were appalled by and condemned in the strongest terms the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Iraq, including today's.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS SITUATION IN LEBANON IS DETERIORATING

  • The Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701, which concerns Lebanon, is out as a document. In it, the Secretary-General details events that suggest deterioration in the situation in Lebanon. He expressed his deep concern at the exchange of fire between the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces that occurred on 3 August, adding that the Blue Line must be respected in its entirety.
     

  • The Secretary-General deems it a priority to resolve the issue of the continued occupation by the Israel Defense Forces of the northern part of Ghajar and the adjacent area north of the Blue Line. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, stands ready to facilitate such a withdrawal.
     

  • The Secretary-General is concerned about the incidents in the reporting period that impeded the freedom of movement of UNIFIL and endangered UNIFIL peacekeepers. He also remains deeply concerned by the widespread proliferation of weapons in Lebanon.

 

NUMBER OF HAITI CHOLERA VICTIMS EXPECTED TO RISE; DEATH TOLL DECLINES

  • In Haiti, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the Government of Haiti has confirmed that almost 10,000 people have so far been affected by the cholera outbreak in the country and 643 confirmed dead.
     

  • OCHA adds that the figures are expected to continue to rise in the days and weeks ahead, as cholera has been confirmed in Port-Au-Prince, the capital. Bad sanitary conditions in many parts of the country, combined with the flooding and mud created by the recent passage of Hurricane Tomas, are very likely to accelerate the infection rate.
     

  • OCHA also says that although the case numbers continue to rise, the proportionate number of deaths continues to fall, indicating that medical interventions are working. The office also says that its main priorities are to ensure swift and effective responses in areas known to be affected and doing everything possible to prevent the further spread of the disease.
     

  • Fifteen cholera treatments centres are now up and running nationwide: seven in Port-Au-Prince and eight in urban centres outside the capital. Public and private hospitals around the country have also been equipped to respond, and assessment teams are determining where additional treatment centres may be needed, including in rural areas.

 

EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR CALLS FOR URGENT PROBE INTO ALLEGED ABUSES IN ANGOLA/D.R CONGO BORDER AREA

  • Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has called for an urgent investigation into allegations of sexual violence and other abuses suffered by Congolese immigrants during their deportation from Angola.
     

  • She urged that every effort be taken to prevent any further abuse.
     

  • The Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs notes that expulsions of illegal immigrants between Angola and the DRC are recurrent, and are related to widespread poverty and precarious employment opportunities.  In October 2009, tens of thousands were expelled in both directions.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

NEW U.N. REPORT POINTS TO UNEVEN GLOBAL EMPLOYMENT RECOVERY: According to new data from the International Labour Organization (ILO), employment has been recovering unevenly across many sectors in both developed and developing countries. In a new paper, the ILO says that millions more jobs have been lost in the construction and manufacturing sector in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year, while the health sector has seen an increase in employment.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL RAISED SETTLEMENT ISSUE WITH ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Asked about Israeli settlement activity in East Jerusalem, the Spokesperson reiterated the UN’s concerns about such activity and noted that the Secretary-General had raised the matter in his meeting on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

 

  

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