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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General












  • The Secretary-General will travel to Lisbon, Portugal, this weekend.  He will attend the Meeting on Afghanistan, to be held there under the aegis of NATO at the level of Heads of State and/or Government.  Following the meeting, he will participate in the joint press conference with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. 

  • The Secretary-General will also hold a number of bilateral meetings with world leaders gathered in Lisbon, including President Karzai, to discuss the situation and the UN's efforts in Afghanistan, as well as other key issues.

  • The Secretary-General will be back in the office on Monday.



  • Following consultations with the Executive Board of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Babatunde Osotimehin of Nigeria as the agency’s new Executive Director. Mr. Osotimehin replaces Thoraya Obaid for a term of four years.

  • The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to Thoraya Obaid for her services to the Organization and her commitment in championing the cause of women's and young people's health and empowerment. The Secretary-General is particularly appreciative of the exemplary leadership displayed by Ms. Obaid in the implementation of UNFPA’s mandate over the two terms she has led the Organization.

  • Mr. Osotimehin will bring a wealth of experience and passion to the work of UNFPA coupled with extensive knowledge and understanding of the global and national framework and processes, that are critical to the work of UNFPA. Mr. Osotimehin previously served as Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  He was also the Director General of the National Agency of Nigeria for the Control of HIV and AIDS, the body which coordinates all HIV/AIDS activities in Nigeria.

  • Ms. Obaid said that “Dr. Osotimehin’s qualifications and extensive experience position him well to lead the global agenda for population and development and to promote the right to sexual and reproductive health. We will work closely with him to ensure a successful transition.”



  • The Secretary-General held what he called a constructive meeting on Thursday afternoon with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

  • Governance and power-sharing, the economy, European Union matters, property, territory and security were among the issues discussed.

  • Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the Secretary-General said that he invited the leaders to New York because the peace talks on Cyprus were losing momentum and needed a boost if the two sides are to reach a settlement while there is still the time and the political opportunity to do so.

  • He stressed that only the leaders of the two communities can arrive at a solution, noting that the UN respects these talks as a Cypriot-led process. The people of Cyprus and the international community want a solution, not endless talks, he said.

  • The Secretary-General expressed hope that yesterday’s meeting has helped to restore momentum to the process. Although serious differences remain, both leaders expressed their commitment to work together to reach a settlement.

  • He added that he will meet again with the leaders at the end of January next year in Geneva.



  • In Haiti, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Edmond Mulet, asked demonstrators to stop blocking roads, bridges and airports to allow medical and humanitarian assistance to get to those who need it.

  • In a statement issued Thursday night, he said that if this situation went on, more and more cholera patients who need medical care would die, and more and more people who need assistance would be affected by cholera.

  • Meanwhile, a French epidemiologist met with the senior management of the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) on Thursday, and they had an exchange of ideas.

  • MINUSTAH is willing to participate in any further investigation into the source of the cholera outbreak, and this was part of that effort. MINUSTAH has actually met with several epidemiologists who are in the country. The goal is to see how to contain and prevent the further spread of cholera.

  • Asked about the French epidemiologist, the Spokesperson added that he specialised in dealing with how diseases originate, and, although there continues to be no conclusive evidence about the origins of the cholera outbreak, these discussions were part of MINUSTAH’s ongoing efforts to obtain information about how the outbreak started.



  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is deeply concerned at the use of excessive force by Guinea’s security forces in response to rallies linked to the presidential election. The Office says that between 15–17 November, security officers fired live ammunition on demonstrators, leaving four people dead and another 300 injured.

  • OHCHR says its own staff in Conakry and members of the international press witnessed the violence at various locations and that their presence was willfully ignored by security forces as they abused demonstrators.

  • The High Commissioner’s Office urges the Guinean authorities, security forces and political leaders to refrain from violence and from inciting ethnic hatred. It also calls on the Government to ensure that members of the security forces respect international standards on the use of force and firearms.



  • Today, the three members of the Secretary-General’s Panel on the Referenda in the Sudan visited Abyei, where they met with the Chief Administrator of Abyei and other senior local officials, as well as with Dinka chiefs. They also received a briefing from UN officials based in Abyei on the latest developments on the ground.

  • Panel chairperson Benjamin Mkapa stressed to the Dinka chiefs that the problems in Abyei can and must be resolved peacefully, and he urged them not to lose hope that ongoing negotiations will result in an end to the dispute.

  • The Secretary-General’s Panel is scheduled to travel Saturday to Wad Medani in the north of Sudan to visit voter registration centres and speak with local officials. Their latest visit to Sudan will conclude on Monday.

  • Asked whether the Abyei referendum can be held on schedule, the Spokesperson said that the referendum is due to be held on 9 January, and that schedule is unchanged; however, some if the infrastructure to hold that referendum has not yet been established.




DPI CONCLUDES CONFERENCE ON ANTI-SEMITISM: The Department of Public Information (DPI) co-sponsored an international conference on Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism in Dublin, which concluded today. Hosted by Holocaust Education Trust Ireland, with the support of the Government of Ireland and other partners, the Conference examined anti-Semitism in both historical and contemporary contexts and considered questions regarding Holocaust denial, including as a form of hate speech.  Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, issued a message for the event, which opened on 17 November 2010.


U.N. ISSUES GUIDELINES TO PROTECT HEALTH WORKERS FROM HIV/AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS: New UN guidelines issued today seek to protect health workers, at the frontline in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, from contracting the diseases themselves. They were launched jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). While the three agencies have been championing universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support for HIV and TB, they noted that not enough attention has been paid to the needs of the world’s 60 million health workers around the world.


*** The guests today at the Noon Briefing were George Assaf, Representative of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to the UN, and Ambassador Tete Antonio, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the UN.


20 November-26 November 2010


Saturday, 20 November


The Secretary-General will be in Lisbon, Portugal, to participate in the Afghanistan meeting of the NATO Summit.


Today is Africa Industrialization Day.


Today is the Universal Children’s Day.


Sunday, 21 November


Today is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.


Monday, 22 November


This morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.


The guest at the noon briefing will be Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning who will brief on the forthcoming COP-16 in Cancun, Mexico.


This afternoon, the Secretary-General will receive an honorary degree from Seton Hall University and will give an address as part of the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relation’s World Leaders Forum. 


Starting today and until 26 November, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Mr. Marzuki Darusman, will carry out an official visit to the neighbouring Republic of Korea.


Tuesday, 23 November


Today, the Security Council will hear a briefing and hold consultations on the Middle East. It is also expected to adopt a resolution on piracy off the coast of Somalia.


At 11:00 a.m., Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States will hold a press conference about UNCTAD's Least Developed Countries Report 2010. Participants include: Charles Gore Special Coordinator for cross-sectoral issues in the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Special Programmes; and Tim Wall, Department of Public Information, who will moderate the press conference.


From 10.00 a.m to 12.00 p.m., the official observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on "Leadership of the Corporate Sector in Ending Violence against Women and Girls" will take place in Conference Room 1 (NLB). The Secretary-General will deliver the keynote address.


At 12:30 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium, a press conference will be held to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, with: Michelle Bachelet, UN Women Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director; Sharon D’Agostino, Vice President, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson; Shupe Makashinyi, Equality Now, Zimbabwe; Debi Nova, artist, Costa Rica; moderated by Margaret Novicki, Department of Public Information.


Today, UNAIDS will launch the 2010 Report on the global AIDS epidemic. The report will feature the latest global, regional and country estimates on HIV and new trends in the epidemic’s evolution.


Wednesday, 24 November


This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on sanctions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and on UN peacekeeping operations.


Thursday, 25 November


Today is an official UN holiday. UN Headquarters in New York will be closed.


Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.


Friday, 26 November


There are no major events scheduled for today.


[1]This document is for planning purposes only and is current as of  DATE \@ "HH:mm" 13:15  DATE \@ "dddd, dd MMMM, yyyy" Friday, 19 November, 2010. 




Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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Tel. 212-963-7162
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