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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

TUESDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2010

 

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES DEEP CONCERN OVER ESCALATING TENSION ON KOREAN PENINSULA CAUSED BY ARTILLERY ATTACK

  • The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula caused by today’s artillery attack by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the Yeonpyeong Island. The attack was one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War.
     

  • The Secretary-General condemns the attack and calls for immediate restraint. The Secretary-General regrets the loss of life and expresses sympathy to the victims and their families.
     

  • The Secretary-General insists that any differences should be resolved by peaceful means and dialogue.
     

  • The Secretary-General has conveyed his utmost concern to the President of the Security Council.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVELTO KAZAKHSTAN FOR O.S.C.E. SUMMIT

  • This weekend, the Secretary-General will travel to Kazakhstan to address the opening of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Astana.
     

  • It will be the first OSCE Summit to be held in more than one decade, bringing together the Heads of State and Government of the Organization’s Participating States.
     

  • The Secretary-General will hold several bilateral meetings with top officials on the sidelines of the event on issues including UN-OSCE cooperation. He will also address media representatives at a press conference in the Kazakh capital.

 

TOP U.N. POLITICAL OFFICIAL URGES ISRAELIS, PALESTINIANS TO RETURN TO TALKS

  • B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed the Security Council this morning on the Middle East, saying that we are in the midst of a delicate period which will determine whether a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is possible. He said that the continued diplomatic impasse is worrying, and we believe that a return to talks is crucially important.
     

  • Pascoe said that, in the period ahead, we must work to bring about a return to direct talks between the parties and to support an atmosphere on the ground conducive to quick and concrete progress in those talks, including a freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.
     

  • Earlier, the Security Council passed a resolution renewing for twelve months its authorizations for States cooperating with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in the fight against piracy. The Council also adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Integrated Peace-building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) until the end of 2011.

 

MARKING INTERNATIONAL DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

  • In his remarks to the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Secretary-General said that the Day is a call for action to bring an end to the scourge.
     

  • While the problem is complex and widespread, the solutions are within reach, he said, paying tribute to the many talented and intelligent women working to end violence against women.
     

  • The Secretary-General also spotlighted the role that men can play to address the problem. “United, we can end violence against women,” he stressed.

 

U.N. REPORT: NEW HIV INFECTIONS HAVE FALLEN NEARLY 20 PER CENT IN PAST DECADE

  • New HIV infections have dropped by nearly 20 per cent in the last decade, while AIDS-related deaths in the past five years are also down by the same amount, according to a new report by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). It also finds that the total number of people living with HIV worldwide is stabilizing.
     

  • Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said that “investments in the AIDS response are paying off, but gains are fragile. The challenge now is how we can all work to accelerate progress.”

 

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY ALARMED BY ESCALATING VIOLENCE IN NORTHERN YEMEN

  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has described as alarming the escalation of violence in northern Yemen, which is causing an unknown number of civilians to flee, while leaving others without protection.
     

  • The agency is calling for calm and restraint after at least 20 people were killed in recent days. It also says that it has dispatched a team from its regional office in Riyadh to establish the numbers and assess needs.
     

  • More than 300,000 Yemenis are still displaced internally and in need of assistance. UNHCR believes that instability and the slow implementation of the February peace agreement is prolonging internal displacement in Yemen.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

DISBURSEMENT RATE FOR TOP DONORS TO POST-QUAKE RECOVERY IN HAITI TOPS 42 PER CENT: The Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Haiti (OSE) has conducted a new analysis of the pledges made for post-earthquake recovery activities. It shows that the 2010 disbursement rate among top donors is of 42.3 percent.

 

U.N.-AFRICAN UNION ENVOY WRAPS UP VISIT TO NORTH DARFUR: Joint UN-AU Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari today concluded a two-day visit to three Mission team sites in North Darfur, where he met with community leaders, paid tribute to peacekeepers and was briefed on the security situation. On all stops, Gambari highlighted the responsibility of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) in protecting civilians, promoting development in the region and ensuring human rights.

 

***The guests at the briefing today were Edmond Mulet, Special Representative for the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and Nigel Fisher, Deputy Special Representative in that Mission.

  

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