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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

THURSDAY, 03 NOVEMBER 2011

SECRETARY-GENERAL IN CANNES FOR G20 SUMMIT

  • The Secretary-General was in Cannes on Thursday, where he is taking part in the G20 Summit. He participated in working sessions on “Growth and Jobs” and discussed development and trade in another session with the G20 leaders.

  • Earlier on Thursday morning on the margins of the G20, the Secretary-General spoke at the 2011 Labour Summit. He said that the Cannes summit had to be about more than financial fire-fighting. It must be about global economic recovery – growth that is sustainable and inclusive, he added.

  • The Secretary-General also said it was time to write a new social contract for the 21st century that includes a Global Jobs Pact. He said that at a time of crisis and confusion; discord and division; inequality and injustice, we were all called to moral battle once again.

  • On Thursday evening, the Secretary-General is expected to meet with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council; the Prime Minister of Ethiopia; and the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates. He met earlier this morning with the President of the Republic of Korea.

  • Asked whether the Secretary-General’s call for solidarity, unity and social justice is new, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General’s language is evolving. The Secretary-General is very concerned that meetings between groups of countries focus exclusively on problems facing those countries, but that he wants them to look beyond their national borders and interests. The Deputy Spokesperson added that the Secretary-General says there is a great need for the international community to establish policies and global perspectives to address problems for people in the long-term and provide real solutions.

U.N. ENVOY TO GUINEA-BISSAU BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL

  • On Thursday, the Security Council met to discuss the Secretary-General’s report on developments in Guinea-Bissau and on the activities of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office (UNIOGBIS) there.

  • The Secretary General’s Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba, said that the national authorities, with the assistance of international partners, have steered the country in the right direction and have consolidated important gains, resulting in a better political and security environment.

  • He underscored the need to continue to build upon these gains as the country embarks on a sensitive electoral process in 2012.

  • On Thursday afternoon, the Committee on the Admission of New Members will meet in a closed session.

GAZA AID MUST GO THROUGH ESTABLISHED CHANNELS, SAYS BAN KI-MOON

  • Asked about a flotilla headed towards Gaza, the Deputy Spokesperson said that that the Secretary-General’s view remains that assistance and goods destined to Gaza should be channeled through official crossings and established channels. He calls on all involved to act responsibly and with caution to avoid any violent incident.

  • The Secretary-General is fully aware that the extensive restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods in and out of the Gaza Strip through the closure of land crossings perpetuate an unsustainable situation for the population.

  • He has consistently called for the lifting of the closure of Gaza, and continues to do so, consistent with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009).

  • He has taken note of the reports that the vessels could reach the waters off Gaza on Friday and is calling on all sides to exercise restraint.

PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL BODIES PREROGATIVE OF MEMBER STATES – SECRETARY-GENERAL

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s views on Palestinian membership in other United Nations agencies, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has said that it is the prerogative of Member States to decide on membership in international organizations. It is also the Secretary-General’s function, as head of the United Nations, to ensure that the United Nations functions properly and smoothly and is adequately financed to meet its goals and objectives.

  • Asked about Israel’s decision to expand settlements, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the decisions announced by the Government of Israel in response to the decision of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in favour of Palestinian membership.  Israeli settlement activity is contrary to international law and the Roadmap and prejudices final status negotiations.  The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity and to continue to transfer VAT and customs revenues that belong to the Palestinian Authority and are essential to enable it to function, in line with Israel’s obligations. 

  • Asked whether the Secretary-General believes the Security Council should take action on the issue of settlements, the Deputy Spokesperson said this is a matter for Security Council to decide.

BAN KI-MOON HOPEFUL THAT AGREEMENT BETWEENS SYRIA, ARAB LEAGUE IMPLEMENTED SOON

  • Asked about the agreement between Syria and the Arab League, the Deputy Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General said yesterday in Libya that he is aware of the agreement and voiced hope that it would be implemented immediately. The sufferings and killings have gone on for far too long. This is what he has been discussing with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

U.N. FOOD PRICE INDEX DIPS IN OCTOBER

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that its food price index dropped to an 11-month low in October.

  • The drop in the index was triggered by the sharp declines in international prices of cereals, oils, sugar and dairy products.

  • In spite of this, prices still remain generally higher than last year and continue to be very volatile, the Organization warned.

U.N. TAKING PART IN VIDEO PROJECT INCORPORATING FOOTAGE FROM ALL COUNTRIES

  • The United Nations, in collaboration with the “One Day on Earth” online video community, is preparing for what will be the first ever global screening of a film that includes footage that was shot in every country on the planet on a single day. 

  • The movie, which bears the same title as the organization, One Day on Earth, will be screened in every country of the world on the same day in late February 2012. 

  • One Day on Earth produced the film in partnership with the United Nations, more than 60 non-profit organizations, and a growing online community of over 19,000 filmmakers, both experienced and novices.

  • On 10 October 2010, the One Day on Earth community, including over 95 United Nations country offices, filmed in every country of the world, capturing both the joys and the struggles of everyday life. The film pulls from the resulting 3,000 hours of footage, which is now a shared-for-use archive for all those that participated.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. SET TO LAUNCH NEW JOINT COUNTER-TERRORISM REPORT: The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) will launch on Thursday, 10 November, a new report concerning our coordinated response in the event of a terrorist attack using chemical or biological weapons or materials.

The launch will be held at the International Peace Institute (IPI).

QUARTET URGES RESTRAINT: Asked about reports of Israeli missile capability, the Deputy Spokesperson noted that the Quartet has called on all parties in the region not to engage in provocative actions.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RELEASE OF KIDNAPPED AID WORKERS: Asked about reports of three non-governmental organizations kidnapped in southern Algeria, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has expressed his deep concern. He has asked all sides to refrain from actions that might endanger them and has called for their immediate release.

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