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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 MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

WEDNESDAY, 7 NOVEMBER 2012

SECRETARY-GENERAL LOOKS FORWARD TO CONTINUING TO WORK WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA

  • The Secretary-General warmly congratulates President Barack Obama on his re-election as President of the United States.
  • The Secretary-General looks forward to continuing to work with President Obama and his administration in the spirit of the enduring partnership between the United States and the United Nations. 
  • Many challenges lie ahead – from ending the bloodshed in Syria, to getting the Middle East peace process back on track, to promoting sustainable development and tackling the challenges posed by climate change. All will require strong multilateral cooperation.
  • The Secretary-General and the United Nations will continue to count on the active engagement of the United States on these and other crucial issues as it strives to meet the hopes and expectations of people around the world.
  • The President of the UN Economic and Social Council, H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec, also congratulated U.S. President Barack Obama on his re-election. The President of ECOSOC looks forward to working closely with the United States on global development issues.
  • Asked what President Obama’s win means for the United Nations, the Spokesperson noted that, in addition to the statement, the Secretary-General has written to President Obama and also intends to speak to him when their schedules permit.
  • Nesirky noted that the role of the United States is indispensable in dealing with a number of challenges and that the United Nations is counting on US support in dealing with matters from the Middle East to climate change and beyond.

SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS I.C.C. BRIEFING ON LIBYA, EXTENDS AUTHORIZATION FOR SOMALIA MISSION

  • The Security Council received an update this morning on the work being carried out by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Libya. Fatou Bensouda, the Court’s Prosecutor, briefed Council members on the discussions the Court has been having with the Libyan Government concerning the cases of Seif al-Islam Qadhafi and Mohammed Senoussi.
  • The Security Council also adopted a resolution authorising African Union Member States to maintain the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 7 March 2013.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF ALLOCATES ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR HAITI AND CUBA IN AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE SANDY

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, has allocated $5 million to Cuba and $4 million for Haiti from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to assist people affected by Hurricane Sandy.
  • This is in addition to a $100,000 Emergency Cash Grant already allocated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Friday for Cuba. This is part of the $1.5 million in funds that UN agencies have made available for Cuba to date after the Hurricane.
  • The Haiti Country Team is revising the Consolidated Appeal, asking for an additional $39 million, approximately, for urgent needs arising from the impact of Hurricane Sandy. The Cuba Country Team is developing a Response Plan with national partners.
  • Following consultations with the Resident Coordinator in Jamaica, OCHA will allocate $40,000 in an Emergency Cash Grant for Health and Food Security support.

U.N. STAFF ESTABLISH RELIEF FUND FOR SANDY STORM VICTIMS IN NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA

  • Storm Sandy severely affected the New York region, including many of the UN’s own staff.
  • In order to help alleviate some of the hardship to these victims, the Secretary-General and staff at large, with the support of the United Nations Staff Union, have established the United Nations Relief Fund for the victims of Storm Sandy in the New York and Tri-State communities.
  • To show UN solidarity and support to the victims, we are encouraging United Nations staff members to make voluntary contributions for immediate needs of UN staff and the local community.
  • Additionally, for medium and long-term needs, the United Nations Relief Fund for the victims of Storm Sandy in the New York and Tri-State communities will undertake a number of fund-raising activities which will be announced separately.
  • Finally, for staff who wish to volunteer their time, the United Nations has also been in contact with a number of charitable organizations currently supporting victims of this disaster.

HEAD OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME MEETS SYRIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON

  • The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, completed a visit to Lebanon today on the first stop of a three-day regional trip to see the increasing humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.
  • She held talks in the morning with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati on the situation and challenges facing Lebanon and the humanitarian response from the World Food Programme and partners.
  • Cousin also travelled to the Bekaa Valley and visited a distribution centre where refugees receive WFP food vouchers.

DEPUTY HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING VISITS LEBANON

  • Asked about the travels by Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, to Lebanon, the Spokesperson said that Mr. Mulet is currently on a two-day visit to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The focus of his visit is on UNIFIL’s activities on the ground, especially the Mission’s cooperation and strategic partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces and the implementation of its mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).
  • Today, Mr. Mulet met with senior Lebanese officials in Beirut, including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, among others. During the meetings, he was accompanied by the UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major-General Paolo Serra.

SUDAN: U.N. REQUESTS EXTENSION OF AGREEMENT ON ASSISTANCE IN SOUTH KORDOFAN AND BLUE NILE STATES

  • Asked about the lapsing of an agreement on humanitarian aid in Sudan, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League are concerned by reports in the media, which cite the Sudanese Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs saying that the tripartite memorandum of understanding on humanitarian aid will not be extended.
  • The Tripartite members have requested an extension of the Memorandum of Understanding so that they can continue working on the initiative with the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to ensure that urgently needed humanitarian aid reaches civilians affected by the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
  • The United Nations and its humanitarian partners stand ready to provide life-saving assistance to all in people affected by the conflict, when the security situation permits.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SYRIA CURRENTLY IN CAIRO: Asked about the travels of Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesperson said that he is in Cairo currently, where there will be meetings with League of Arab States and European Union officials. In due course, he will come to New York for meetings with the Security Council and UN officials. 

SECRETARY-GENERAL FOLLOWING RAKHINE SITUATION CLOSELY: Asked about the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General remains extremely concerned about the situation facing the Rohingyas, both on land and at sea. He and his Special Adviser, Vijay Nambiar, continue to follow the matter closely.