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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, 29 NOVEMBER 2011

SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN REPUBLIC OF KOREA FOR AID EFFECTIVENESS SUMMIT

  • The Secretary-General has arrived in Busan in the Republic of Korea, where he will speak at the formal opening session of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

  • The forum is an important part of the discussions around the emerging aid architecture leading up to 2015, the deadline year for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

  • On arrival in Busan, the Secretary-General told Korean reporters the forum came at an important time, and that aid effectiveness and solidarity were vital in these times of financial austerity.

  • In his remarks to the forum, the Secretary-General is expected to say that aid needs to reach those most in need and that it needs to be accountable, flexible and country-driven.

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

  • The Secretary-General is also expected to visit the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the Korean War.

  • He will be the first Secretary-General to visit the cemetery, where 2,300 soldiers from 11 countries are buried.

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

BAN KI-MOON CONGRATULATES EGYPTIAN PEOPLE FOR DETERMINATION TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General says that he has followed with great interest and expectation the first stage of the parliamentary elections in Egypt. He congratulates the people of Egypt for their determination to achieve a democratic change in their country and for their contribution to the overall democratic transformation in North Africa and the Middle East.

  • He commends the population and authorities of Egypt for the enthusiastic participation in this first stage of the electoral process and for the generally calm and orderly manner in which voting took place.

  • This was the first stage of an electoral process which will continue in the coming weeks and months, as an important step towards the establishment of civilian rule.

  • The Secretary-General reiterates that it is crucial, as part of the democratic transition, for the entire electoral process to continue to be held in a credible and peaceful manner.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ISRAEL-LEBANON ROCKET FIRE

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General condemns the firing of at least two rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon on the night of 29 November. The Israel Defense Forces returned fire with artillery rounds toward the location where the rockets were launched. There were no reports of casualties on either side and the situation is now calm. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is investigating the circumstances of the incident in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces. The Secretary-General urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint and reminds them of their obligation to fully adhere to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and respect the cessation of hostilities agreement.

  • For its part, UNIFIL says that it is currently investigating, in cooperation with the parties, to determine the facts and circumstances of today’s incident.

  • Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas is maintaining close contact with the parties and has called for maximum restraint in order to prevent any escalation of the situation.

  • He said that it was imperative to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this attack and that UNIFIL would spare no efforts to this end working in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces.

  • The Force Commander is in close contact with the parties, and they have reassured him of their continued commitment to maintain the cessation of hostilities in accordance with resolution 1701.

NEPAL: BAN KI-MOON ENCOURAGED BY GROWING CONSENSUS AMONGST POLITICAL PARTIES

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General says that he is encouraged by the growing consensus amongst the political parties in Nepal to take the peace process forward. He notes the decision taken today to extend the Constituent Assembly by six more months and calls on all concerned to fulfill their commitments. He reaffirms the continued support of the United Nations to the peace process.

BAN KI-MOON URGES RESOLUTION TO MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT

  • In his message marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people delivered by the Deputy Secretary-General, the Secretary-General said the need to resolve this conflict has taken on greater urgency with the historic transformations taking place across the region. Such a solution must end the occupation that began in 1967, and meet legitimate security concerns. 

  • The parties have a particular responsibility to cease provocations and create a conducive environment for meaningful negotiations.  Israel’s recently intensified settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is a major obstacle. Settlement activity is contrary to international law and the Roadmap, and must cease.

  • He also urged the Palestinians to overcome their divisions, based on the commitments of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the positions of the Quartet and the Arab Peace Initiative. Palestinian unity that supports a negotiated two-State solution is essential for the creation of a Palestinian State in Gaza and the West Bank.

  • To mark the day, hundreds of students from schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Jericho area have created a massive aerial image of the Dove of Peace in conjunction with the world-renowned artist, John Quigley, to send out a peace message to the world.

DISRUPTION TO AID EFFORTS COULD ROLL BACK FRAGILE PROGRESS IN SOMALIA, WARNS U.N. RELIEF ARM

  • In Somalia, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that any disruption to ongoing humanitarian efforts threatened to undermine the fragile progress made this year. 

  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that its office and warehouse in Baidoa remained occupied. It adds that it is assessing the impact on its humanitarian operations and is extremely concerned that interruptions to operations across Somalia pose great risks.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) for its part says that all medical supplies were looted when their offices were raided on Monday in Baidoa and Wajid. Although WHO says organizations providing health care in the area have enough supplies to continue their services, the Organization is worried there could be shortages if access is not re-established soon.

  • Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that in Mogadishu, the root causes driving forced displacement have changed, moving from drought to conflict.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES KOSOVO, D.R. CONGO

  • On Tuesday morning, the Security Council met to discuss the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo told the Council that no less than the taking of full, statesman-like responsibility is demanded if the present opportunities for moving toward peaceful, durable solutions are not to be missed.

  • In the afternoon, they will discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SENIOR U.N. RELIEF OFFICIAL WRAPS UP YEMEN VISIT

  • Wrapping up a four-day visit to Yemen, UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg warned that millions of Yemenis are facing a severe and deepening humanitarian crisis.

  • She said that we are seeing chronic deprivation made worse by continuing violence, with some of the world’s highest malnutrition rates, a breakdown of essential services and a looming health crisis.

  • Millions of vulnerable people in Yemen – not only those who are directly affected by the conflict or displacement – are now in acute need. 

U.N. AGENCY HIGLIGHTS NEED FOR GLOBAL FOOD SYSTEM TO DECREASE RELIANCE ON FOSSIL FUELS

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that the global food system needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels to succeed in feeding a growing world population.

  • The challenge is to decouple food prices from fluctuating and rising fossil fuel prices, it notes.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

HOST GOVERNMENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR PROTECTON OF EMBASSIES: Asked about an incident in Iran involving the Embassy of the United Kingdom, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the responsibility to protect it lies with the host government and that the United Nations expects Iran to live up to its obligations.

BAN KI-MOON TO TAKE PART IN DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT: Asked about whether the Secretary-General will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference under way in Durban, South Africa, the Deputy Spokesperson said that he will participate in the talks next week.

***The guest at the noon briefing was Nigel Fisher, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti.

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