Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

 

 

BY FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 16 DECEMBER 2010

 

 

 

U.N. CALLS FOR RESTRAINT AND CALM IN COTE D’IVOIRE

  • The UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) is calling on all parties to show restraint and to remain calm. The Mission reiterates that violence is not the way to resolve the political stalemate.
     

  • It also says that parties should refrain from acts that could jeopardize the numerous efforts being made to allow the will of the Ivorian people, as expressed on 28 November 2010, to prevail.
     

  • The Mission reports that since the announcement of the marches by the Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix (RHDP), the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Choi Young-jin, has increased his efforts to avoid violence. He is in contact with Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and the Chief of Staff of the Forces de défense et de sécurité, General Philippe Mangou, in an effort to help calm the situation.
     

  • The Mission will continue to play its role and implement its mandate, including interceding as required during the marches in case of incidents between youth and to protect civilians.
     

  • Heavy fighting during which mortars and other heavy weapons were used, erupted at 11:30 Abidjan time between Forces Nouvelles elements and the Forces de défense et de sécurité, who had reinforced their checkpoints on the main axes to the Golf Hotel. The Mission established contact with both sides with the aim to stop the fighting.
     

  • Asked about UN efforts to protect the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, the Spokesperson said that ONUCI has deployed a total of almost 800 military and police personnel and eight armoured personnel carriers to provide security for the Golf Hotel together with the Force Licorne and the Forces Nouvelles. One additional formed police unit is being deployed from Bouaké today.
     

  • As a precautionary measure, Haq added, ONUCI has also pre-positioned potable water, bulk water tanks, generators and fuel in the Golf Hotel should any of these services be disrupted.
     

  • Asked about violence involving ONUCI peacekeepers, the Spokesperson said he was unaware of any involvement by UN forces in today’s firing incidents. He noted the efforts by ONUCI on the ground to calm the situation and added that a degree of relative calm had been restored.
     

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s position on the situation, Haq recalled that, in his recent statement, the Secretary-General reiterated his call on all the Ivorian parties and their supporters to exercise patience and refrain from any actions that could, accidentally or deliberately, provoke violence.
     

  • The Secretary-General stresses that, in the currently charged political environment, such actions could have unpredictable consequences, including reigniting civil war. The Secretary-General therefore reminds those who incite or perpetrate violence and those who use the media for this purpose, that they will be held accountable for their actions.
     

  • Asked about possible power-sharing arrangements, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations was aware that Mr. Laurent Gbagbo has said he wants to talk to President-elect Alassane Ouattara about a power-sharing arrangement.
     

  • However, he added, the Secretary-General had told the General Assembly Member States on Monday that this option is unacceptable. The election had a clear winner. The Secretary-General told the Member States that the will of the people must be respected, and we should not set a dangerous precedent.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO CALL ON SECURITY COUNCIL TO DO MORE TO FIGHT SEXUAL VIOLENCE

  • The Secretary-General will speak at the Security Council’s meeting this afternoon on sexual violence, which begins at 3:00.
     

  • He will tell Council members that we must do more to fight stigma, protect women’s security and help the victims. And he will say that we cannot permit the sexual violence that is used as a tactic of war to become a way of life.
     

  • The Security Council this afternoon will also consider a resolution that, among other things, could enable the Secretary-General to list parties who commit sexual violence in his reports on this question.

 

SUDAN: SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES STATE OF PREPARATIONS OF REFERENDA

  • Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Security Council this morning on Sudan, and discussed the state of preparations for the referenda scheduled for next month. He said that we are greatly concerned about the impasse concerning the referendum for Abyei.
     

  • He also expressed concern about the recent reports of bombings by the Sudanese Armed Forces along the border areas between Northern Bahr El Ghazal State and South Darfur and in Western Bahr El Ghazal State.  We urge both Governments to exercise restraint and prevent the situation from escalating.
     

  • Le Roy told Council members that we are working on options for a possible augmentation of UN troops in Sudan, to prevent any deterioration in the security situation after the referendum, and to increase our capacity to monitor possible cease-fire violations and protect civilians throughout the mission area.  We continue to engage the parties on this issue.
     

  • The Security Council then adopted a Presidential Statement on the referenda in Sudan, which notes, with deep concern, the absence of an agreement on Abyei. They welcomed the Sudanese parties’ reaffirmation of their commitment to full and timely implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
     

  • The Security Council this morning adopted a resolution, requesting the Secretary-General to establish the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) as a significantly scaled-down United Nations presence, for an initial period of 12 months, beginning on 1 January 2011.

 

U.N. LAUNCHES NEW ACCOUNTABILITY COMMISSION ON FUNDS COMMITTED TO WOMEN AND CHILDREN’S HEALTH

  • The United Nations is establishing a high-level commission charged with developing an accountability framework that will link resources committed to women's and children's health with the results they are intended to achieve. This follows the adoption of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health at last September’s Millennium Development Goals Summit which called for the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish such a commission.
     

  • The Secretary-General says that strengthening accountability is critical if we are to save the lives of more women and children. “We must ensure that partners deliver on their promises but, in turn, it is crucial that they know whether investments are leading to sustainable progress,” he said.
     

  • The Commission will be co-chaired by Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Hamadoun Touré, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, will act as vice-chairs.
     

  • The Commission will hold its first meeting on 26 January and will present its final report by May 2011.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

D.R. CONGO MISSION REINFORCING POSITIONS IN L.R.A.-AFFECTED AREAS: Asked about UN troops’ actions against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Spokesperson said that, based on lessons learned from the previous years, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has been reinforcing its positions in the areas where LRA rebels operate. It has recently established operation “Rudia Umbrella” in the Dungu area of Haute Uele. However, he added, it is clear that a broader approach is needed in order to comprehensively address the threat that the LRA poses to regional security.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO GIVE HIS END-OF-YEAR PRESS CONFERENCE: The Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General would give his end-of-year press conference at 11 a.m. on Friday. Accordingly, there would be no noon briefing that day.

 

* The guests at the Noon Briefing today were Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and Said Djinnit, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Office for West Africa (UNOWA); and Carmelita Pires, Special Advisor to the President of the ECOWAS Commission. They briefed on a new multi-agency programme to help curb drug trafficking and organized crime in West Africa.

  

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017
Tel. 212-963-7162
Fax. 212-963-7055