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

TUESDAY, 21 DECEMBER 2010

 

 

 

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: SECRETARY-GENERAL TO BRIEF GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS

  • The Secretary-General will brief the General Assembly Member States in an informal meeting at 3:30 p.m. today about the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
     

  • The Security Council, in a formal meeting on Monday, adopted a resolution urging all the Ivorian parties and stakeholders to respect the will of the people and the outcome of the election in view of the recognition by the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union of Alassane Ouattara as President-elect of Côte d’Ivoire and representative of the freely expressed voice of the Ivorian people as proclaimed by the Independent Electoral Commission.
     

  • The Security Council resolution also renewed the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) until 30 June 2011.
     

  • In a separate statement to the press, the Security Council President said that Council members remain deeply concerned about the continued violence in Côte d’Ivoire, and they condemned in the strongest terms acts of violence against UNOCI.
     

  • Security Council members urged all Ivorians to exercise maximum restraint, remain calm, resist provocative actions, refrain from violence and work together to restore sustainable peace.
     

  • The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that it has been beefing up its contingency arrangements for Côte d’Ivoire over the last few days. The agency currently stands ready to cope with the needs of up to 30,000 refugees.
     

  • UNHCR also says that as of today, the number of Ivorians having fled westwards into Liberia and Guinea stands at around 6,200 --- 6,000 of these in the Nimba County area of eastern Liberia, the rest in Guinea.
     

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson noted that UNOCI was working to protect UN staff in the country, and was also protecting key officials of President-elect Ouattara’s government at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER CLASHES IN SOUTH AND NORTH DARFUR

  • The Secretary-General notes with deep concern clashes between the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/MM) and Government of Sudan Forces in areas of South and North Darfur.  These clashes included attacks on civilians and destruction of property, and have resulted in renewed displacement, and the withdrawal of humanitarian agencies from some areas.  The Secretary-General is particularly disturbed about reports of violence at an IDP camp in Shaeria.
     

  • The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Sudan and the SLA/MM to desist from renewed conflict, the excessive use of force, including the offensive use of aircraft, and to allow access by the humanitarian community and UNAMID to areas in need.
     

  • The Secretary-General expresses his support for the work of UNAMID, UN agencies and NGO personnel stationed in these areas, working tirelessly under difficult conditions to protect civilians in need.
     

  • The Secretary-General calls on SLA/MM to rejoin the peace process and on the Government of Sudan to exercise restraint and ensure the protection of civilians caught in the conflict areas.

 

SOUTHERN SUDANESE RETURNING HOME AHEAD OF REFERENDA

  • The UN Refugee Agency says that some 55,000 southern Sudanese who had been living in the northern part of the country have returned home, ahead of the January referenda.
     

  • But the new arrivals are straining a fragile humanitarian situation in South Sudan, which is already dealing with more than 215,000 internally displaced people uprooted by ethnic clashes and rebel attacks, among other security problems.
     

  • UNHCR says it has begun distributing aid to some 35,000 returnees in and around Abyei. The agency has also mobilized resources to deal with a likely increase in humanitarian needs, including in surrounding countries.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW GOVERNMENT IN IRAQ

  • The Secretary-General welcomes today’s announcement of a new Government in Baghdad, which has been approved by Iraq’s Council of Representatives, and congratulates Mr. Nuri al-Maliki on his confirmation as Prime Minister. This represents a major step forward in Iraq’s democratic progress.
     

  • The Secretary-General also congratulates Iraq’s political leaders for their concerted efforts to ensure that the new government is inclusive, broadly participatory and has the support of the people of Iraq. He calls on them to continue working in the spirit of national unity to swiftly conclude the government formation process, and address the major challenges that face the country, including national reconciliation, reconstruction and long-term stability.
     

  • In accordance with its comprehensive Security Council mandate, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) will continue to support the people and Government of Iraq in building a prosperous and peaceful Iraq.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF VOICES DEEP CONCERN OVER ELECTION-RELATED VIOLENCE IN BELARUS

  • High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has expressed her deep concern over the violence against and the detention of opposition candidates and their supporters following presidential elections held over the weekend in Belarus.
     

  • She condemned calls to violence by some radical opposition elements, but stressed that authorities must fully respect and ensure their political opponents’ rights to peacefully demonstrate and to freedom of speech.
     

  • According to a statement issued by Ms. Pillay’s office, violence broke out following the Sunday polls, resulting in a leading opposition candidate being attacked on his way to a mass rally. He was hospitalized and later abducted by unidentified persons.
     

  • The High Commissioner called for the immediate release of opposition candidates and their supporters who were not involved in any violence and called on the Government of Belarus to ensure that human rights defenders, journalists and civil society groups are free from any harassment.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY BUILDING EVACUATED FOLLOWING SUSPICIOUS ODOR

  • The Spokesperson, in response to questions, said that several floors of the General Assembly building had been evacuated this morning because of an unidentified odor. Host country authorities, including from the New York Fire Department, helped to identify the cause of the odor, which was determined to be the result of high tides in the East River backing up sewage near the building. The gas released as a result was determined not to be harmful.
     

  • The Spokesperson added that several meetings had been relocated today to the North Lawn Building from the General Assembly Building; meetings at the General Assembly Building would resume on Wednesday.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS AT INFORMAL SECURITY COUNCIL YOUTH MEETING: The Secretary-General spoke at an informal meeting organized by the Security Council President, in which Council members took questions received from young people around the world. The Secretary-General said that there is one common denominator to the questions that the young people have: sustainable development. With sustainable development, you won’t have war over resources.

 

SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERING SITUATION ON KOREAN PENINSULA: Asked whether the Secretary-General would send an envoy to the Korean peninsula, the Spokesperson recalled that, earlier this year, the Secretary-General had send Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He added that, for now, the Security Council was considering the issue of the peninsula, including during consultations on Sunday, and that we would await any unified position by the Council.

 

ECOSOC GRANTED OBSERVER STATUS TO IIMSAM GROUP: Asked about the status of the Intergovernmental Institution for the Use of Micro-algae Spirulina against Malnutrition (IIMSAM), the Spokesperson said that IIMSAM was granted observer status as a non-governmental organization by ECOSOC decision 2003/212 of 5 March 2003. In accordance with that decision, IIMSAM’s representatives have the right to attend ECOSOC meetings on subjects that are relevant to its work on a continuing basis until ECOSOC decides otherwise. Currently no grounds passes have been issued to representatives of IIMSAM as no person has been able to confirm that they are the authorized representatives of the Organization.

  

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