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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING


BY MARTIN NESIRKY

SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

 

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday
,  December 10, 2009

 

(There will be no Noon Briefing by the Spokesperson tomorrow, Friday, 11 December. This page will be updated tomorrow.)
 

 

BAN KI-MOON: COPENHAGEN NEGOTIATORS MUST GET DOWN TO BUSINESS OF SOLVING PROBLEMS

  • As negotiations in Copenhagen continue, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is closely following the situation.
     

  • Delegates continue to work on a set of texts before Ministers arrive in Copenhagen this weekend.  The negotiations are focusing on new commitments for developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol and a new long-term cooperative deal under the Climate Change Convention, which will include key issues such as mitigation, adaptation, technology and deforestation.
     

  • The Secretary-General believes that negotiators have to get down to the business of solving problems and finishing this negotiation. They owe the world that.
     

  • And tomorrow, the Secretary-General will send a message to the “Summiteers Summit to save the Himalayas” which is being convened in Copenhagen. He will say the conference offers hope and will call on the world to work together to save the Himalayas.
     

  • Asked about progress towards a legally binding agreement on climate change, the Spokesperson noted that the first step, which all parties are working toward at present, is for a politically binding agreement. That, he said, is to pave the way for a legally binding deal that would be reached some months later.
     

  • In response to a question yesterday on how many UN staff were in Copenhagen for the Climate Change conference, the Spokesperson said there are 477 people from UN Secretariat units and 309 from 19 specialized agencies and related organizations.

 

BAN KI-MOON: NO COUNTRY IS FREE OF DISCRIMINATION

  • Today is Human Rights Day. In a message marking this occasion, the Secretary-General says that no country is free of discrimination. We see it everywhere, in many forms.
     

  • The Secretary-General also says that one of these forms is the rise of a new politics of xenophobia in some countries.
     

  • The Secretary-General stresses that abstract commitments are not enough to fight discrimination. We must continue to confront inequality and intolerance wherever they are found.
     

  • A little later, the Secretary-General opened a special event on “Race, poverty and power.” He said that racism and other forms of discrimination are not only human rights violations, they are also major obstacles to economic and social progress. He also said that we must overcome this mutually-reinforcing and destructive combination.

 

BAN KI-MOON IS CONCERNED OVER DETERIORATING HEALTH OF SAHARAWI ACTIVIST

  • This morning, the Secretary-General spoke with the Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos.
     

  • The Secretary-General and Foreign Minister Moratinos discussed the condition of Ms. Aminatou Haidar. The Secretary-General expressed concerns about her deteriorating health and emphasized that a solution needed to be found with the utmost urgency. He proposed possible steps to resolve the situation.
     

  • Mrs. Haidar has been on hunger strike since mid-November.
     

  • The Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with the Moroccan Foreign Minister tomorrow.

  • Asked about specific arrangements to resolve Aminatou Haidar’s case, the Spokesperson declined to provide details.

  • Nesirky emphasized that the Secretary-General is extremely concerned about Haidar’s health, which is why he spoke with the Spanish Foreign Minister and was going to meet with the Moroccan Foreign Minister. He is trying hard to resolve the matter.

 

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES NON-PROLIFERATION AND IRAN, BURUNDI

  • The Security Council began its work with an update on the work of the Sanctions Committee dealing with resolution 1737, concerning non-proliferation and Iran. Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, who chairs the committee, briefed Council members.
     

  • The Security Council then heard from Youssef Mahmoud, the Secretary-General’s Executive Representative for Burundi. He said that there have been significant advances in the peace process and in preparations for the 2010 elections. However, he said, the funding of the electoral process is a challenge, with pledges made by international partners still needing to be disbursed.
     

  • The Security Council continued its discussion of Burundi in closed consultations.

 

 MAJOR GENERAL ASARTA CUEVAS OF SPAIN IS NAMED HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN LEBANON

  • The Secretary-General has decided to appoint Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas of Spain as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). 
     

  •  Major General Asarta Cuevas will succeed Major General Claudio Graziano of Italy, whose tour of duty will end on 28 January 2010. The Secretary-General is grateful to Major General Graziano for his outstanding service and leadership of UNIFIL over the past three years.
     

  • Major General Asarta Cuevas is currently serving as the Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army and will bring to his new position extensive and wide-ranging experience, including significant command experience and prior experience with United Nations peacekeeping. He has previously been UNIFIL’s Sector East Commander from December 2008 to April 2009, and has also worked as a UN military observer in Central America.

 

U.N.R.W.A. CHIEF UNDERSCORES PLIGHT OF THOSE EVICTED FROM EAST JERUSALEM

  • Karen AbuZayd, the Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), today visited the home of one of the Palestinian families who are being evicted from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. Eight families are currently under direct threat of forced eviction, having been served with orders to vacate their homes.
     

  • AbuZayd said that the United Nations rejects Israel’s claims that these cases are a matter for municipal authorities and domestic courts.  Such acts are in violation of Israel’s obligations under international law.  She noted that the Secretary-General stated last week that the United Nations is “dismayed” at the continuation of demolitions, evictions and the installing of settlers. 
     

  • The dispossessed and the displaced must see their losses acknowledged and their injustices addressed, she said.  Peace is possible, but only if we insist on our universal humanity. 

 

SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY CALLS FOR END TO VIOLENCE

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has called for an end to the violence which has devastated the lives of so many Somalis.  
     

  • Speaking on the occasion of Human Rights Day, Ould-Abdallah made specific mention of last week’s horrendous attack on a graduation ceremony in Mogadishu.  The attack claimed the lives of at least three government ministers, doctors and medical students, their friends and relatives, teachers, and journalists.
     

  • Ould-Abdallah said the tragic events of 3 December are the worst reflection of how Somalis are treated by their fellow Somalis.
     

  • And he urged all Somalis, whether inside the country or in the Diaspora, to condemn and reject all acts of violence and redouble their efforts to restore stability to their country.
     

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RESPECT OF RULE OF LAW IN GUINEA

  • In response to a question yesterday about the situation in Guinea, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General reiterates the need to avoid violence and to respect the rule of law in the country.
     

  • The Secretary-General has instructed his Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, to remain actively engaged with national and regional stakeholders in the search for a solution that provides the people of Guinea an opportunity to elect their leaders in a democratic manner. Mr. Djinnit is working with President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso to support his mediation effort in Guinea.

 

 

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