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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 EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2011

SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF ACCESS TO WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE IN RURAL AREAS OF BANGLADESH

  • The Secretary-General’s visit to Bangladesh continues today. He began his morning by meeting with officials from the non-governmental organization BRAC, which focuses on development.

  • The Secretary-General then traveled by helicopter from the capital, Dhaka, to the north-east region of Moulvibazar. There, he visited a community health clinic to spotlight the importance of ensuring access to women’s health care in rural areas.

  • Upon returning to Dhaka, the Secretary-General held a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Finance.

  • He then gave a public address and was given an honorary doctorate at Dhaka University. He told the hundreds of people gathered that if Bangladesh is to create the prosperous future that it deserves, it will only do so through national unity and common cause.

  • He also held a press conference afterwards before giving remarks at two events.

  • He first spoke to the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance). He ended his evening by attending a private sector dinner in support of the “Every Woman Every Child” initiative.

SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS ATTACKS AGAINST EMBASSIES IN SYRIA

  • The members of the Security Council issued a statement to the press on Syria this morning, in which they condemned in the strongest terms the attacks against several embassies and consular premises in Syria.

  • The members of the Security Council reiterated their call on the Syrian authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel and fully respect their international obligations in this regard.

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s views on Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had welcomed the decision taken over the weekend by the League of Arab States. The Secretary-General had called for a halt to all violence, and continues to do so.

  • Asked about the protection of diplomatic missions, the Spokesperson added that it is up to Syria to ensure that diplomatic premises in that country are protected.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY CONCERNED OVER CROSS-BORDER TENSIONS BETWEEN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN

  • In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Secretary-General expressed deep concern over the escalation of rhetoric between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, particularly in regard to cross border support of rebel groups and incursions into one another’s territory.

  • The Secretary-General condemned the 10 November aerial bombardment by the Sudan Armed Forces on the Yida area in Unity State, South Sudan, along its border with Sudan, and the impact on civilian lives.

  • The Secretary-General also condemned the reported establishment of a new military alliance of Darfur rebel movements and the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North, calling for the use of force against the Government.

  • The Secretary-General calls on all parties to refrain from the use of force and reaffirms that conflict can only be resolved through political dialogue. He calls on the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to exercise restraint in managing border tensions and to recommit to a negotiated settlement of outstanding post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement issues.

INSECURITY, HEAVY RAIN AND DISEASE AFFECT ASSISTANCE EFFORTS IN KENYA REFUGEE CAMPS

  • The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that insecurity, as well as heavy rains and the accompanying risk of waterborne disease, are affecting aid efforts in the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya.

  • The agency is exploring options to gradually resume full operations despite continued security incidents in and around Dadaab. The situation has been complicated by an outbreak of cholera. There are now 60 cases in the camps, according to the agency.

  • UNHCR has increased levels of chlorine at water points in the camps and is promoting hygiene practices among the refugees.

  • Meanwhile, in Ethiopia’s Dollo Ado area, a nutrition survey at the Kobe and Hilaweyn camps has found high levels of malnutrition among children under five years of age. Health and nutrition programmes have been set up to address malnutrition progress, which has been slow, according to the survey.

  • However, UNHCR says that the number of deaths among children under five has decreased dramatically compared to the very high level seen at the height of the refugee influx this summer. This reflects improved access to quality health care and nutrition services, as well as improved water and sanitation facilities.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES LAUNCH OF PEACE AND RECONCILIATION CARAVAN IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • The Secretary-General welcomed, in a statement issued on Monday, the launch in the Central African Republic, of a Peace and Reconciliation Caravan in conflict-affected areas in the northeast of the country. He commends this effort to reduce tensions and promote reconciliation and peaceful coexistence between local communities.
     
  • He hopes all key parties will build on this important exercise to further consolidate peace in the country. The United Nations stands ready to continue to support such efforts. 

  • The Secretary-General recalls the cease-fire agreement signed in Bangui on 8 October 2011 between the Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix and the Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement, following deadly clashes in the same region. He urges the parties to implement all provisions of the agreement, which was facilitated by the Mediator of the Republic and the Government of the Central African Republic with the support of the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States and its peacekeeping operation, MICOPAX, as well as the Government of Chad. 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL DICUSSES BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA; TO BE BRIEFED ON SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN: This morning the Security Council discussed the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This afternoon, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, will brief the Security Council on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan. Ms. Johnson will participate by videoconference.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS SAID SETTLEMENTS VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL LAW, SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS: Asked about Israeli settlements, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had made clear that settlements are in violation of international law and of resolutions of the Security Council.

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