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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, ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2011

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES FORMATION OF NEW GOVERNMENT IN LIBYA

  • The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement of the formation of the new Libyan interim Government, and extends his congratulations to Prime Minister El-Keib and members of his cabinet.

  • The Secretary-General wishes the new interim Government every success in addressing the numerous challenges facing Libya in this transitional period, including the crucial issues of national reconciliation, public security, human rights protection, and the resumption of basic services to the Libyan people.

  • The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to fully support the new Government and the Libyan people in accordance with its mandate under Security Council resolution 2009 (2011). In this regard, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), under the leadership of the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Ian Martin, will continue to work closely with the Libyan interim Government and the National Transitional Council (NTC) as they move towards building a modern, peaceful, democratic and prosperous Libya.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGED BY DEVELOPMENTS IN YEMEN AS HIS SPECIAL ENVOY ANNOUNCES POLITICAL TRANSITION DEAL

  • In remarks to the press this morning, the Secretary-General said he is encouraged by the positive development of the situation in Yemen.  He said he had spoken by phone yesterday with President Saleh and strongly urged him to sign the agreement based on the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative.

  • Jamal Benomar, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Yemen, announced today that the negotiations on a political transition settlement in Yemen had been successfully completed under his facilitation.

  • Mr. Benomar said that the Agreement delegates authority to implement the provisions of the mechanism from the President to the Vice-President. There will be early Presidential elections 90 days after signature of the Agreement, followed by a two- year transition phase.  He called on all sides to honour their commitments in the Agreement to immediately cease all violent acts, refrain from any further provocations, and to work together in good faith towards its full implementation.

  • Mr. Benomar will present the Secretary-General’s report on the negotiations and other issues relevant to the implementation of resolution 2014 to the Security Council on 28 November.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR GLOBAL COOPERATION IN FACING NEW SECURITY CHALLENGES SECURITY

  • The Security Council, chaired by the Foreign Minister of Portugal, today is holding an open meeting to focus attention on three of the defining challenges of our times: transnational organized crime, pandemics and climate change.

  • Addressing the Council, the Secretary-General said that the three challenges are increasingly transnational because of the growing ease with which people, goods and money can cross borders.

  • The lesson those challenges offer, he said, is that no country and no region, no matter how powerful, will be able to address these threats alone. They can only be addressed through regional and global cooperation. The United Nations will continue to play a lead role in fostering such cooperation.

  • The Secretary-General added that these are complex and multilayered threats that require multidisciplinary responses. The United Nations is well placed to promote an integrated mix of political, developmental and capacity-building responses.

EGYPT: HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF DEPLORES ROLE OF MILITARY FORCES IN SUPPRESSING DEMONSTRATIONS

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, deplored the role of Egypt’s military and security forces in attempting to suppress demonstrations over the past five days, including the killing of some 30 protestors and the wounding of many hundreds of others.

  • She urged the Egyptian authorities to end what she called the clearly excessive use of force against protestors in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the country, including the apparent improper use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. She called for a prompt, impartial and independent investigation, and added that accountability for those found responsible for the abuses that have taken place should be ensured.

  • Ms. Pillay said that the people of Egypt deserve to exercise their right to vote in the country’s first elections since the departure of former President Mubarak in a violence-free environment. Throughout the electoral process, it is imperative that the Egyptian authorities ensure the respect of freedom of expression, assembly and association, and of press, she said.

NEW U.N. REPORT SAYS LONG WAY TO GO TO FIGHT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN

  • The effort to deal with violence against Afghan women has a long way to go, according to a new report by the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • The report says that judicial and law enforcement officials are so far implementing the two-year-old law that supports the equality and rights of Afghan women only sporadically. The Government has not yet succeeded in implementing the law to the vast majority of cases of violence against women.

  • The report says that the law is only being applied in a small percentage of violence against women cases. And it finds that official statistics on the number of cases of violence against women in Afghanistan are not available and most incidents are unreported.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS MOST SIGNIFICANT BARRIER TO THEIR FULL EQUALITY

  • The Secretary-General spoke this morning at an event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

  • He said violence -- and in many cases the mere threat of it -- is one of the most significant barriers to women’s full equality.

  • He added that all women and girls have the fundamental right to live free of violence and that this was at the heart of the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign – which he launched in 2008.

  • The Secretary-General said that young men and boys must be encouraged to become the advocates. And he urged governments and partners around the world to harness the energy, ideas and leadership of young people to help end such violence. 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO PARTICPATE IN AID EFFECTIVENESS FORUM IN REPUBLIC OF KOREA

  • On Monday, 28 November, the Secretary-General will depart for a visit to Busan, Republic of Korea.

  • The main purpose of his visit is to participate in the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) on 30 November. The High Level Forum is an important event in the discussions around the emerging aid architecture leading up to 2015.  Its outcomes will also inform the discussions on international development cooperation at the upcoming Rio+20 Conference and beyond.

  • While in Busan, the Secretary-General will have a range of bilateral meetings with leaders attending the Forum, from both the public and private sectors.

  • He will also visit the UN Memorial Cemetery in Korea, in Busan, to pay his tribute to those who lost their lives during the Korean War. This will be the first visit to the cemetery by a UN Secretary-General.

  • The Secretary-General will return to New York on Thursday, 1 December.

U.N. POLITICAL OFFICE MONITORING SITUATION IN SOMALIA FOLLOWING REPORTS OF ETHIOPIAN OPERATION

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) has seen the media reports indicating that there is an ongoing Ethiopian military operation in Somalia. It has also seen comments attributed to Somali officials and officials from Ethiopia to the contrary.

  • He added that the Political Office for Somalia is monitoring the situation closely and looks forward to the Heads of State Summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Friday which will discuss regional security issues.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET BAHRAIN AMBASSADOR: Asked about the report of a commission of inquiry in Bahrain, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General told reporters that he will meet the Ambassador of Bahrain this afternoon and will have an opportunity of discussing the situation more in detail and get more information about the commission’s report.

U.N. MISSION CALLS FOR PEACEFUL ELECTIONS IN CONGO: Asked about violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in that country had been calling on all sides to maintain calm and ensure that peaceful elections can be held there.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL VISIT LEBANON: The Deputy Secretary-General arrived today in Lebanon where she will chair the 15th Regional Coordination Mechanism for the Arab States. This meeting will focus on regional preparations leading up to next year’s Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development. The Deputy Secretary-General will also hold bilateral meetings with Government Officials, as well as with UN staff based in the country. She will return to New York on 27 November.

U.N. COUNTER-TERRORISM DELEGATION HEADS TO MYANMAR: This week, at the invitation of the Government of Myanmar, a UN delegation from the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) is conducting a comprehensive assessment mission in Myanmar. The mission will to discuss with the authorities in Myanmar their implementation of Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), as well as areas of counter-terrorism capacity-building.

CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT ENVOY SECURES COMMITMENTS FROM SOMALI AUTHORITIES: Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, has just returned to Nairobi from Mogadishu. While in Somalia, she secured further commitments from the Transitional Federal Government to enter into a UN process to end child recruitment and release children associated with the Government side.

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