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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 SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2010

 

 

MYANMAR POLLS INSUFFICIENTLY INCLUSIVE, PARTICIPATORY AND TRANSPARENT, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS

  • The Secretary-General has been following with great attention the elections held in Myanmar yesterday. The voting was held in conditions that were insufficiently inclusive, participatory and transparent.
     

  • The Secretary-General believes the Myanmar authorities now have a responsibility to turn the conclusion of the first election in twenty years into a new beginning for the country and its people. Consistent with their commitments, the authorities must demonstrate that the ballot is part of a credible transition towards democratic government, national reconciliation and respect for human rights.
     

  • The Secretary-General therefore urges the Myanmar authorities to release all remaining political prisoners and lift restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi without further delay so that they can freely participate in the political life of their country. He also urges the Myanmar authorities to ensure that the process of forming new institutions of government is as broad-based and inclusive as possible, and calls for renewed dialogue among all stakeholders in this regard as part of any process of national reconciliation.
     

  • The international community will look to the Myanmar authorities to provide greater assurances that the current process marks a genuine departure from the status quo. The Secretary-General reaffirms the United Nations’ commitment to work with the Government and people of Myanmar to help them achieve such a transformation.
     

  • The Secretary-General is concerned, meanwhile, about reports of outbreaks of fighting in some areas and urges all sides to refrain from any action that could raise tensions further or create instability at this sensitive time.
     

  • Asked about UN expectations following the elections, the Spokesperson said that the post-election process is important, including that of forming new institutions of government.
     

  • The Secretary-General, he said, believes the Myanmar authorities now have a responsibility to demonstrate that the ballot is part of a credible transition towards democratic government, national reconciliation and respect for human rights, to which all parties and citizens can contribute.
     

  • Asked whether a Commission of Inquiry is needed for Myanmar, Nesirky said that the idea came from a proposal by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar to the Human Rights Council. This is part of an independent process for Member States to consider.
     

  • Asked whether the United Nations had participated in electoral observation on Sunday, the Spokesperson said it did not participate in the tour. The invitation was not understood as an observation exercise, which would require that certain conditions be in place.
     

  • Asked about reported violence, Nesirky said that, although the United Nations is not in a position to verify reports of fighting, any acts of intimidation or violence or excessive security measures would naturally be a source of great concern to the UN. 

 

WESTERN SAHARA: U.N. REGRETS CASUALTIES AS LATEST ROUND OF TALKS BEGINS

  • This morning in Western Sahara, Moroccan security forces engaged in an operation to close the camp established by Saharaoui protesters outside the city of Laayoune a month ago.
     

  • The information available to date as to the reasons for this operation, the level of force employed, the reaction of those in the camp, and the number of casualties among the protesters and security forces is sketchy and contradictory; but by all accounts, and to our profound regret, there are a number of dead and wounded. United Nations personnel in Western Sahara are attempting to gain a more complete picture of the facts.
     

  • The third round of informal talks between Morocco and the Frente Polisario on the future status of Western Sahara opened this morning on Long Island. It is highly unfortunate that this operation and the events preceding and following it have affected the atmosphere in which these talks are being held.  We call on all parties involved to exercise the utmost restraint in the hours and days to come.

 

U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES PEACEFUL SECOND ROUND OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN GUINEA

  • Said Djinnit, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, has welcomed the peaceful holding on Sunday of the second round of presidential election in Guinea.
     

  • Djinnit said that, by voting in huge numbers, the people of Guinea have demonstrated their deep commitment to democracy and their willingness to restore constitutional order ion the country. He calls on them to remain calm before and after the results have been officially released.
     

  • He also encourages the two candidates to remain committed to the Protocol that they signed in Ouagadougou in September and to their joint statement of last week.

 

U.N. OFFICIAL DISCUSSES LATEST REPORT ON RESOLUTION 1701 WITH LEBANESE MINISTER

  • The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams, met today with Lebanon’s Minister of State for Administrative Reform, Mohammad Fneish, to discuss the latest report on resolution 1701. Williams welcomed the commitment of all parties to resolution 1701.
     

  • Williams said afterward that the talks today also touched on the domestic situation in Lebanon, in light of the recent tension.  He expressed to Minister Fneish the concerns of the United Nations about the possibility of escalation and stressed the importance of maintaining all channels of communication and dialogue
     

  • Asked about the possibility of an agreement on Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later today.
     

  • Ghajar, he said, has been a long-standing issue. We have been actively engaged with both the parties on the basis of UNIFIL’s proposal to facilitate the Israel Defense Force’s withdrawal from the area. In an effort to advance the process of withdrawal, UNIFIL has recently suggested some ideas and modalities for consideration by the parties.

 

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL KICKS OFF THREE-NATION TRIP TO ASIA, AFRICA

  • The Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro, begins a three nation visit today to Asia and Africa.
     

  • The Deputy Secretary-General will first visit Vientiane, in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, on 8 and 9 November 2010, to represent the Secretary-General at the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The gathering will discuss a number of important issues with respect to its operation and implementation. This new humanitarian and disarmament convention bans the production, storage, use, and transfers of cluster munitions.
     

  • On 11-12 November, the Deputy Secretary-General will visit Beirut, Lebanon, where she will chair the 14th Regional Coordination Mechanism for the Arab States. She will hold bilateral meetings with Government Officials, as well as with UN staff based in the region.
     

  • And on 14-15 November, the Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to chair the 11th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism of UN agencies and organizations working in Africa in support of the African Union and its New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). She will meet with Government Officials, representatives of the African Union, and United Nations staff based in Addis Ababa. The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York on 16 November.

 

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF VISITS DARFUR

  • On the fifth day of her six-day visit to Sudan, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) Valerie Amos continued her itinerary in Darfur and returned to Khartoum.
     

  • Ms. Amos focused her field visit today on the issues of displacement and returns. In a transit center in Nyala, she held discussions with displaced families who chose to return to their villages of origin in neighbouring West Darfur.

 

CYPRIOT LEADERS DISCUSS PROPERTY, UPCOMING MEETING WITH SECRETARY-GENERAL

  • The Cypriot leaders met under UN auspices in Nicosia today on the ongoing issue of property. They also discussed their upcoming meeting with the Secretary-General on 18 November in New York.
     

  • Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, voiced hope that the meeting will inject further momentum into the process.

 

NEW DONATION HELPS U.N. PROVIDE FOOD AID FOR PAKISTAN

  • Currently, the UN Floods Relief and Early Recovery Response Plan for Pakistan, which amounts to $1.93 billion, is only 40 per cent funded.
     

  • However, the World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a $90 million donation from the United States today, which is among the recent donations that can help to stave off ration cuts to an already debilitated population. It will be used to provide vital food assistance to more than 7 million Pakistanis affected by the recent devastating floods. WFP said that the cash segment of the donation will be used to purchase food locally inside Pakistan, supporting farmers and the Pakistani economy.
     

  • WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said, “This donation comes at a critical time as WFP is transitioning from emergency food distributions, towards helping communities rebuild the lives they lost before the floods.”

 

U.N. MISSION IN HAITI WORKING TO CONTAIN CHOLERA OUTBREAK

  • Asked about the cholera outbreak in Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is working with the Haitian Government to contain and fight the disease.
     

  • The UN Mission in Haiti continues to constantly test its installations in the interest of protecting Haitian people and its own personnel, he added. The United Nations is committed to acting quickly, with complete transparency, and in close coordination with the Government in all efforts to fight this epidemic and other issues in Haiti.
     

  • Asked about recent cholera tests, he said that the tests that were done on samples of water from the Mirebalais camps proved negative.

 

***The guest at the noon briefing today was Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

 

 

  

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