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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, 01 DECEMBER 2011

SECRETARY-GENERAL WRAPS UP REPUBLIC OF KOREA VISIT

  • The Secretary-General visited Bongha, the home town of the late Roh Moo-hyun near Busan, on Thursday to pay respects at a memorial and to meet the widow of the former President of the Republic of Korea. Ban Ki-moon served President Roh as foreign minister and earlier as diplomatic adviser.

  • Later in Seoul, the Secretary-General met former President Kim Young-sam at his residence. The Secretary-General served separately as Chief of Protocol and National Security Adviser at the presidential Blue House under President Kim.

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

BAN KI-MOON DISCUSSES TRANSFER OF FUNDS FOR TRIBUNAL WITH LEBANESE LEADER

  • The Secretary-General told Prime Minister Najib Mikati of Lebanon over the telephone on Thursday that he was very pleased the Lebanese Government had decided to transfer to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) the 49 percent of the 2011 budget for which the country is responsible.

  • The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude for the Prime Minister’s personal efforts in this regard.

  • The Secretary-General said the decision was a very positive step that would allow the Special Tribunal to continue its work to uncover the truth about the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri and others.

  • He said he appreciated Prime Minister Mikati's commitment to uphold Lebanon's international obligations and was confident the Government would continue to respect those obligations and cooperate with the Special Tribunal.

SENIOR U.N. OFFICIALS VOICE CONCERN OVER D.R. CONGO POLL VIOLENCE

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Roger Meece, said that he shares the concerns about the elections expressed by the observer missions, in particular with regard to the reported irregularities and the need to assess their impact on the electoral process.

  • Mr. Meece also deplores the violence that marred the elections in certain areas in the country and calls on all political leaders to urge their partisans to refrain from any violence or other acts that may disrupt the electoral process.

  • Also on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Thursday that she deplores the killings and other acts of violence committed by Congolese security forces and supporters of political parties in the context of the presidential and parliamentary elections in the country over the past few days.

  • Furthermore, Ms. Pillay stressed the obligation of the Government under Congolese and international laws to protect the fundamental rights of the people, including the right to life and security of the person. 

END TO AIDS EPIDEMIC WITHIN REACH, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS ON WORLD DAY

  • In his message marking World Aids Day, the Secretary-General says that heading into the fourth decade of AIDS, we are finally in a position to end the epidemic.

  • He said that the progress we have made so far is proof that we can realize our vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

  • But to end AIDS, we need to deliver even greater results, the Secretary-General stressed.

  • With strong political will, reasonable financial resources and a firm human rights-based approach, we can achieve targets such as reducing the sexual transmission of HIV by half and eliminating new infections in children.

  • For his part, the head of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) says that never before in the history of AIDS have we reached a moment where we are able to stand up and say with conviction the end of AIDS is in sight.

U.N. RELIEF CHIEF CONCLUDES MISSION TO SAUDI ARABIA

  • Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos has concluded a mission to Saudi Arabia.

  • She welcomed the opportunity to work more closely with Saudi Arabia in regional and international humanitarian affairs.

  • In addition to contributing greatly to crises in Somalia, Pakistan and Haiti, Ms. Amos noted that the Kingdom also engages in other forms of humanitarian response, such as the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.

YEMEN: U.N. HUMANITARIAN ARM REPORTS INTENSIFYING CRISIS

  • According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), violent clashes between government and opposition forces continue in key cities and other areas of Yemen, intensifying the humanitarian crisis. This is putting civilians at risk and leading to the breakdown of essential public services.

  • Dozens of schools are still occupied by armed groups in Yemen, while more remain closed due to security concerns.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. RIGHTS OFFICE RAISES ESTIMATED SYRIA TOLL: Asked about the estimated death toll in Syria topping 4,000, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the UN Human Rights Office based their approximation on interviews and estimates.

GREEK CYPRIOT, TURKISH CYPRIOT LEADERS HOLD TALKS: The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities met in Nicosia. The Secretary-General’s Special Advisor, Alexander Downer, told reporters afterwards that the talks were concentrated on governance and power-sharing. The leaders’ next meeting will be on Monday.

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