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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

THURSDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2012

SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY LOSS OF LIFE, DAMAGE AFTER GUATEMALA EARTHQUAKE

  • The Secretary-General is saddened by the loss of life, and the damage to homes and infrastructure in Guatemala as a result of the earthquake that struck off the coast of the country near the border with Mexico on 7 November. 
  • He extends his sincere condolences to the Guatemalan government and people, particularly the families of those who have been killed or otherwise affected in this disaster.
  • The United Nations stands ready to lend its assistance to efforts already under way by the Guatemalan authorities to respond to humanitarian needs created by the disaster and to mobilize any international support needed for that response.

U.N. ENVOY TO LIBYA BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION, BANI WALID SITUATION

  • The Security Council received an update on the situation in Libya from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for that country, Tarek Mitri, who briefed Council members by videolink from Tripoli.
  • Mr. Mitri said that Libya has moved forward in its political transformation, as has been clear from the July elections and the formation of a new Government.
  • He discussed the recent fighting in Bani Walid, and said that he had conveyed the UN’s concerns about the protection of civilians to the Libyan President and Prime Minister and received assurances that they would be protected.
  • The UN Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, has provided teams to help assess humanitarian needs in Bani Walid and to help the authorities in clearing munitions there.
  • Earlier, the Council discussed the annual report it is presenting to the General Assembly.

DARFUR: AFRICAN UNION-U.N. MISSION CALLS FOR SWIFT INVESTIGATION INTO SIGILI INCIDENT

  • The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is urging the Government of Sudan to quickly conduct its planned investigation into an incident in Sigili village, in North Darfur.
  • On Tuesday, the Mission deployed a civilian-military team to Sigili to verify recent reports of alleged violence. The team found the village completely deserted, with apparent signs of an abrupt departure. It also noticed several signs of destruction of housing and property, killed animals, and burnt houses.
  • The team also tried to reach the Abu Delek area but was stopped by members of the Popular Defense Forces and had to postpone its mission.

MALI: RISK OF FOOD INSECURITY, CHALLENGE IN ACCESS TO EDUCATION

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that 4.6 million people remain at risk of food insecurity in Mali and that access to food for people living in the north is deteriorating.
  • Mali is also faced with a major challenge: access to education for thousands of children in the north.
  • In the south of the country, more than 130 schools have been damaged following floods in September and October.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that funding remains insufficient, with only 49% of requirements covered.

DEPUTY PEACEKEEPING CHIEF VISITS U.N. MISSION IN SOUTHERN LEBANON

  • Edmond Mulet, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, visited UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Naqoura today, on the second day of his trip to Lebanon. He met the Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major-General Paolo Serra, and senior officials of UNIFIL.
  • Mr. Mulet was briefed on the UN Mission’s activities in southern Lebanon, as well as its coordinated operations with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
  • He made a helicopter tour of the Blue Line and visited the Eastern Sector of the UN Mission’s deployment in the general area of Ghajar, where he received a briefing on the ground from Mission staff.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. MISSION IN HAITI INCREASES PRESENCE IN CITE SOLEIL NEIGHBOURHOOD: In response to a question about violence in Cité Soleil, in Port-au-Prince, the Spokesperson said that the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said that it is providing technical support to the Haitian National Police (HNP) to conduct inquiries into these incidents. In addition, the Mission has increased its presence and activities in the area. 

ISRAEL, IRAN DIFFERENCES SHOULD BE RESOLVED THROUGH NEGOTIATIONS: Asked about tensions between Israel and Iran, the Spokesperson reiterated the Secretary-General’s views that differences be resolved through negotiations and that all sides avoid rhetoric that could inflame the issue. 

U.N. WELCOMES EFFORTS TO SHED LIGHT ON COTE D’IVOIRE INCIDENTS: In response to questions about media reports in relation to mass graves in Côte d’Ivoire, the Spokesperson said that the investigation on this is being conducted by the authorities of the country. He said that the United Nations has consistently welcomed efforts to shed lights on the tragic events that took place in Côte d'Ivoire and on all initiatives to bring justice to victims.