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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, 12 DECEMBER 2011

DIALOGUE MUST TRANSLATE INTO ACTION, SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS

On Sunday, the Secretary-General attended the opening of the Fourth Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations in Doha, Qatar. In his remarks, he said that again and again, we are reminded that our differences are nothing compared to our shared humanity. The Secretary-General urged participants to continue their dialogue beyond the Doha event and to ensure that it leads to real and concrete action. While in the Qatari capital, he also inaugurated a Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center and took part in the Youth Event of the Alliance of Civilizations. The Secretary-General also held a series of bilateral meetings, including with the Emir of Qatar and the Foreign Minister of Lebanon.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES DECISIONS REACHED AT DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE

Asked about the results of the climate change conference in Durban, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General, in a statement, welcomed the package of decisions known as the Durban Platform that was reached by the 194 parties to the Climate Change Convention in Durban. The Durban Platform represents a significant and forward agreement that defines how the international community will address climate change in the coming years. The Secretary-General believes the decision to launch a protocol or legal instrument applicable to all parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is essential for stimulating greater action and for raising the level of ambition and the mobilization of resources to respond to the challenges of climate change. He welcomes the agreement to establish a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that will increase certainty for the carbon market and provides additional incentives for new investments in technology and the infrastructure necessary to fight climate change. The Secretary-General also is gratified that countries have reached decisions that will operationalize the Cancun Agreements, including a Technology Mechanism that will promote access by developing countries to clean, low-carbon technologies and an Adaptation Committee that will coordinate adaptation activities on a global scale. He also welcomes the launch of the Green Climate Fund, and is gratified that a number of countries have signaled their intent to contribute to the Fund. Taken together, the Spokesperson said, these agreements represent an important advance in our work on climate change.

U.N. MISSION CALLS FOR RIGOROUS REVIEW OF ISSUES REGARDING D.R. CONGO ELECTIONS

Asked about election results in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in that country (MONUSCO) has taken note of the statements issued respectively by the Carter Center International Election Observation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 10 December, 2011 and other observer missions regarding the preliminary presidential election results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 9 December. MONUSCO notes with deep concern the findings of these observer missions relating to the significant irregularities in the management of the results process, in particular the counting and tabulation of the votes. MONUSCO strongly urges the INEC to undertake a timely and rigorous review of the issues identified by observer missions with the full participation of witnesses and observers, including foreign observer groups, who may offer to provide technical advice in this regard. Nesirky said that MONUSCO emphasizes the need for the parties to settle all election disputes by peaceful means through established institutions, including the National Mediation Committee, and underscores the importance of thorough and transparent handling by the Supreme Court of Justice of all formal challenges. MONUSCO reiterates its call to all political actors to desist from incitement to violence and confrontation. The Spokesperson added that MONUSCO urges the state security and law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint and comply with international human rights law in dealing with public demonstrations, and to respect the rights of all citizens, including supporters of political parties and candidates.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WORRIED ABOUT ESCALATION IN GAZA AND SOUTHERN ISRAEL

In response to a question on recent violence in Gaza and southern Israel, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is worried about the recent escalation in Gaza and southern Israel which puts civilian lives at risk. He deplores the civilian casualties that have resulted in Gaza. Israel has a responsibility to use maximum restraint. All militant activities and rocket fire must end. The United Nations is actively engaged on the ground to help restore calm.

LEBANON: U.N. MISSION INVESTIGATING FIRING OF ROCKET

On Sunday evening, the radars of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) detected the firing of one rocket from the general area of the Qaissiyeh valley. The rocket hit a private home in the village of Houla in southern Lebanon, causing serious injuries to a woman. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for this attack. UNIFIL is investigating the incident, trying to locate the launching site of the rocket fire. The Force Commander, Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, strongly condemned the rocket attack and expressed concern at the recent escalation of incidents involving serious security breaches in southern Lebanon. Asked about last Friday’s attack on UN peacekeepers, the Spokesperson said that an investigation in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces is ongoing. There is no formal update at this stage. UNIFIL’s forensics and investigation teams were dispatched to the location and are working in close cooperation with their counterparts in the Lebanese Army to determine all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. Asked whether the Secretary-General will visit Lebanon in January, the Spokesperson said that he could not confirm any such travel.

 SUDAN, SOUTH SUDAN MUST STOP MILITARY ENGAGEMENT – U.N.

Asked about fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations does not have a mandate there and is not able to monitor events on the spot. With regard to reports of fighting in Jao, he added that the border line has not been demarcated in that area and it is unclear as to whether the fighting has been taking place on one side or the other. Fundamentally, however, the two sides must stop military engagement, Nesirky said. They must make progress in establishing the border monitoring mechanism, which is supported by the Security Council. This mechanism will enable the parties to investigate and verify reports of cross border support and military engagement along the border. The parties must recommit themselves to addressing unresolved issues at the negotiation table.

SECRETARY-GENERAL REAFFIRMS SUPPORT TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

The Deputy Secretary-General addressed the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday morning, at which Fatou Bensouda was designated the next Prosecutor. The Deputy Secretary-General extended the Secretary-General’s warmest wishes to the States Parties. She said he is fully aware of the Court’s challenges, particularly in relation to the execution of arrest warrants, and added that the Secretary-General will continue to support the Court as appropriate wherever he can.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

STATEMENT ON THE ELECTIONS IN COTE D’IVOIRE : The Secretary-General welcomes the holding of the legislative elections in Côte d’Ivoire and commends the people of Côte d’Ivoire for the generally calm and orderly manner in which they exercised their right to vote. This election is an important step towards the full restoration of constitutional order in Côte d’Ivoire, and should contribute to national reconciliation in the country. The Secretary-General congratulates the Ivorian Independent Electoral Commission and the national and international partners that contributed to the organization and conduct of this election. He calls on the people of Côte d’Ivoire and all parties and candidates to preserve the existing peaceful atmosphere as the tallying of votes is underway, and to resolve any disputes through the established legal channels. The Secretary-General reiterates the continued commitment of the United Nations to support the full completion of the electoral process, including through the certification mandate of his Special Representative.

STATEMENT ON SETTLEMENT EXPANSION IN THE WEST BANK: The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about today’s reports of the Government of Israel’s decision to approve the construction of 40 houses and a farm near the settlement of Efrat in the occupied territory near the Palestinian town of Bethlehem. The Secretary-General calls again on the Government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity. Such activity is contrary to international law and the Roadmap, and prejudices final status negotiations. These actions by the Government of Israel come at a critical juncture when the Quartet continues efforts to facilitate the resumption of direct negotiations between the parties. For this to succeed, the parties must refrain from provocative actions and help create a positive environment for negotiations.

TOP U.N. RIGHTS OFFICIAL TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL: The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, will brief the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East on Monday afternoon. GREEK CYPRIOT, TURKISH CYPRIOT LEADERS DISCUSS PROPERTY ISSUE: The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities discussed the issue of property today in Nicosia. They will meet again next week.

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