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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 THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MONDAY, 12 NOVEMBER 2012

SECRETARY-GENERAL GREATLY CONCERNED BY WAVE OF VIOLENCE IN GAZA AND SOUTHERN ISRAEL

  • The Secretary-General is greatly concerned by the new wave of violence in Gaza and Southern Israel, which has resulted in several Palestinian deaths, including civilians, and wounded people on both sides. He deplores the loss of life and calls for an immediate de-escalation of tensions.
  • The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate cessation of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel and strongly condemns these actions. He calls on Israel to exercise maximum restraint. Both sides should do everything to avoid further escalation and must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED BY CLASHES IN GOLAN HEIGHTS, CALLS FOR UTMOST RESTRAINT

  • In a statement issued on Sunday, the Secretary-General said he was concerned by reports of clashes between the armed opposition and Syrian security forces in the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)-supervised area of separation that day, in which Syrian small arms fire and one artillery round reportedly landed in the Israeli-occupied Golan and prompted a response by Israel.  No injuries to civilians or UN personnel in either instance were reported.
  • The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the potential for escalation.  He calls for the utmost restraint and urges Syria and Israel to uphold the Disengagement Agreement, respect their mutual obligations, and halt firing of any kind across the ceasefire line.

AFRICAN UNION – U.N. MISSION GRAVELY CONCERNED BY ESCALATING VIOLENCE IN NORTH DARFUR

  • The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is gravely concerned by the escalating violence in North Darfur.
  • The Mission says that fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and an armed group on Friday near Shangil Tobaya, in North Darfur, is part of a larger pattern of conflict in the area in recent months.
  • The Mission urges all side to cease hostilities immediately, respect international human rights and humanitarian law, and engage fully in the peaceful settlement of Darfur conflict.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS ITS MISSION TO TIMOR-LESTE

  • The Security Council will hold an open meeting at 3:00 this afternoon, to receive a briefing from the Council mission that visited Timor-Leste earlier this month.
  • After that, the Council will hold consultations to receive further information on Timor-Leste by the head of the UN Integrated Mission there (UNMIT), Finn Reske-Nielsen.
  • In his latest report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General said that the UN Mission will proceed with its phased drawdown until the completion of its mandate on 31 December 2012. The Secretary-General applauded the continued progress in the joint transition process and said it is critical to continue to support the efforts by the Timorese to build sustainable peace and development and promote human rights, so as to preserve the gains made to date.

WESTERN SAHARA: U.N. ENVOY URGES PARTIES TO MOVE SWIFTLY INTO SERIOUS NEGOTIATIONS

  • The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, met today in Madrid with the Foreign Minister of Spain, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo y Marfil.
  • In a statement, the Personal Envoy said that the conflict over the final status of Western Sahara has gone on for far too long. He said that it would be a serious miscalculation to believe that the status quo will last, since it is now threatened by the rise of extremist, terrorist, and criminal elements in the Sahel region.
  • Mr. Ross said the conflict can be resolved if there is a will to engage in real dialogue and compromise to find a solution that is honourable for all. He urged the parties to move swiftly into serious negotiations, and he asked key members of the international community to use their influence to encourage the parties to do so.
  • After Madrid, Mr. Ross plans to visit the capitals of the other members of the Group of Friends, as well as others, for consultations in the near future. He will fly to Paris on Tuesday and will visit Washington, London and Moscow soon.

U.N. CALLS FOR MORE FUNDS TO SUPPORT HAITI’S RESPONSE TO STORM SANDY

  • The UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Catherine Bragg, launched an emergency revision today in Geneva of the Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal for Haiti in response to the devastation caused by Storm Sandy.
  • An additional $39 million is required to address rising food insecurity and provide shelter, health services and clean drinking water for over a million people. The revision brings the overall appeal for Haiti to $151 million this year.
  • Ms. Bragg said that we need to continue to support Haiti through these disasters, which can easily set back development efforts.

INCREASE IN STAPLE FOOD PRODUCTION IN D.P.R.K. SHOULD NOT MASK ONGOING UNDER-NUTRITION

  • For the second year in a row, there has been an increase in staple food production in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), according to a nationwide assessment by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  • The two agencies add that this should not mask an ongoing struggle with under-nutrition and a lack of vital protein and fat in the diet, especially for an estimated 2.8 million vulnerable people.
  • The assessment by the two agencies finds that overall production for the main 2012 harvest and the 2013 early season crops is expected to be 5.8 million metric tons, an improvement by ten percent over last year.
  • Yet the agencies are particularly concerned about a 30 per cent decline in soybean production, as well as the limited quantity of vegetables available. That could perpetuate a lack of key proteins, oils, fats, vitamins and micronutrients in most diets.

SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS WITH SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SAHEL

  • The Secretary-General will meet today with his Special Envoy for the Sahel, Mr. Romani Prodi, who is making his first visit to New York since his appointment. The meeting will be followed by a lunch.
  • Mr. Prodi will be here until Wednesday.  He will be holding a range of consultations that will help him to move forward with his mandate, which is focused on the development and implementation of a United Nations regional strategy on the crisis affecting the Sahel as a whole.  This will include meetings with the Secretariat, the member states of the Sahel region, as well as with Security Council members and other delegations interested and active on the Sahel.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO RECEIVE INTERNAL REVIEW OF U.N. ACTION IN SRI LANKA LATER THIS WEEK

  • The Secretary-General will receive the report of his Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka later this week. 
  • Once the Secretary-General has received it and read it, it will be made public.