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 MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

 UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday
,  December 17, 2009
 

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONVINCED DEAL ON CLIMATE CHANGE IS WITHIN REACH IN COPENHAGEN

  • The Secretary-General is engaging today in intensive discussions with world leaders who have gathered in Copenhagen for climate change negotiations. He is convinced that a deal is within reach, as he reiterated in remarks to the press.
     

  • His first bilateral meeting today was with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. And he also took part in meetings including leaders from Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, Indonesia, the Maldives, Mexico, Norway, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. He also had separate meetings with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
     

  • Also on his list of bilateral meetings today are the Presidents of Gabon and Israel and the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.
     

  • Asked about the meeting with the Israeli President, the Spokesman later added that the Secretary-General and Israeli President Shimon Peres discussed the Goldstone report, humanitarian concern over Gaza, the Middle East peace process and settlements.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL RECEIVES REPORT OF INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON GUINEA, WILL TRANSMIT TO PARTIES

  • The Secretary-General has received the report by the International Commission of Inquiry on the 28 September 2009 events in Guinea. The report flows from the work of the Commission in Conakry, Guinea, from 25 November to 4 December 2009
     

  • The Secretary-General is now considering the report, after which it is his intention to promptly transmit the report to the relevant parties, including the Government of Guinea, the African Union, ECOWAS and the Security Council.

 

AFGHANISTAN: DEPUTY ENVOY’S APPOINTMENT WAS TERMINATED IN THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS

  • Asked about the termination in September of Peter Galbraith's appointment as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the Spokesperson later clarified that Galbraith was terminated because the Secretary-General determined that such action would be in the interests of the Organization.
     

  • Further elaboration would not be appropriate at this time, since Galbraith has chosen to challenge the termination of his appointment, he added.

 

U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY WARNS OF PROBLEMS IMPEDING PEACE PROCESSS

  • Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, spoke at the Security Council today. He warned of a series of problems impeding that peace process as 2009 draws to a close. He said that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are yet to resume, confidence between the parties remains low, facts continue to be created on the ground, tensions persist in Jerusalem. He said the actions of both Hamas and Israel are not contributing to the stability and welfare of Gaza.
     

  • He said there was a danger of a political vacuum. If we cannot move forward towards a final status agreement, he said, we risk sliding backwards, with both the Palestinian Authority and the two-State solution itself imperiled.
     

  • He said the Secretary-General believes a revitalized Quartet must play its full role in urgently advancing a common agenda in the crucial few months ahead.
     

  • After a formal meeting, the Security Council continued its discussions on the Middle East in consultations.

 

SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON BURUNDI, LIBERIA SANCTIONS AND AL-QAEDA/TALIBAN LIST

  • Earlier this morning, the Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) until the end of 2010.
     

  • The Council also adopted a resolution extending the travel ban affecting individuals in Liberia by twelve months and the mandate of the Panel of Experts dealing with Liberia sanctions until 20 December 2010.
     

  • It also approved a resolution revising its guidelines concerning the listing of individuals and entities linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Among other things, the Security Council authorized the creation of an Office of the Ombudsperson, for an initial period of 18 months, which would help deal with the question of removing individuals and entities from that list.
     

  • After the Middle East consultations, the Security Council also discussed the Development Fund for Iraq. The Council received a briefing from the Controller, Jun Yamazaki.

 

LIBERIA: EXPERTS RECOMMEND CONTINUED TRAVEL BAN AND ASSET FREEZE

  • The latest report by the Panel of Experts on Liberia is out as a document. Among other conclusions, the Panel recommends that the Security Council continue the travel ban and the asset freeze until after the 2011 elections and the conclusion of the trial of Charles Taylor.
     

  • The Panel also recommends that the Government of Liberia, in conjunction with other relevant actors, conduct further investigation into the regional trading network and the potential infiltration of Ivorian diamonds into Liberia and neighboring countries.

 

U.N. REVIEW IS INTENDED FOR STAFF IN PAKISTAN TO OPERATE EFFECTIVELY AND SAFELY

  • Asked about reports that the Prime Minister of Pakistan had asked the United Nations to reconsider a reduction in its presence in Pakistan, the Spokesperson said that, in the aftermath of the recent attack on the World Food Programme Office in Islamabad and relevant security concerns, the United Nations undertaken a review to determine how the UN can operate more effectively and safely in responding to the most critical needs of Pakistan and its people.
     

  • One of the main objectives of this review, he said, has been to ensure that lifesaving humanitarian relief and critical development assistance will continue without interruption.
     

  • Nesirky added that the UN’s main priority is to continue all critical operations and to ensure that all UN staff in Pakistan can operate in a safe manner.

 

VALUE OF AFGHAN OPIUM IS FALLING, SAYS U.N. OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME

  • The potential gross export value of Afghanistan’s opiates has fallen 18 per cent since last year, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
     

  • The Office, in its latest survey on Afghanistan’s opium, writes that the export value of opiates in that country declined from $3.4 billion in 2008 to $2.8 billion in 2009 – a fall that is equivalent to around a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. The decline can be attributed to lower opium cultivation, lower production, lower prices, and a relatively higher GDP.
     

  • “Military and market forces are reducing the impact of opium on Afghanistan’s economy,” according to UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. But he warned that more also needs to be done to combat corruption in the country.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

ELEVEN NEW STATES RATIFY TROPICAL TIMBER AGREEMENT: This morning, eleven states ratified the 2006 International Tropical Timber Agreement, which is deposited with the Secretary-General, in a ceremony held by the Office of Legal Affairs. The eleven countries are: Bulgaria; the Czech Republic; Finland; Germany; Ireland; Lithuania; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; and Spain.  The Tropical Timber Agreement, which is not yet in force, will have a total of 41 Contracting Parties following the deposit of the instruments of ratification by the above States.

 

W.F.P. SUPPORTS IRAQ IN IMPROVING FOOD RATION DISTRIBUTION: The World Food Programme (WFP) has  signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iraqi Ministry of Trade, under which the two parties will work together to improve the management of the Public Distribution System, through which millions of  Iraqis receive food rations. WFP aims to strengthen the ministry’s capacity to run the system more efficiently.

 

STATEHOOD IS RECOGNIZED BY MEMBER STATES: In response to questions on Abkhazia, the Spokesperson said that the recognition of statehood is an issue for States to decide, not the Secretary-General or the UN Secretariat.

 


  Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
Tel. 212-963-7162
Fax.
212-963-7055

Back to the Spokesperson's Page