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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

WEDNESDAY, 22 DECEMBER 2010

 

 

 

U.N ENVOY CONGRATULATES AFGHAN PEOPLE ON RECENT ELECTIONS  

  • Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, briefed the Security Council on developments in that country this morning. He said that all sides, including the Taliban, realise that there is no military solution, and he described UN support for reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.
     

  • De Mistura congratulated the Afghan people and authorities for the holding of the September elections, and recognised the diligent, committed and intense work done by Afghanistan’s elections commissions. He said the commissions had worked to remove the cases of fraud that they detected.
     

  • Earlier, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the member States of the African Union to maintain the deployment until 30 September 2011 of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
     

  • The Council also unanimously renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for a period of six months, until 30 June 2011.
     

  • And by a 14 to 0 vote with one abstention, the Security Council established the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and requested the Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda to take all possible measures to expeditiously complete all their remaining work by no later than 31 December 2014.

 

BAN KI-MOON WARNS OF REAL RISK OF RETURN TO CIVIL WAR IN COTE D’IVOIRE

  • The Secretary-General briefed the General Assembly on Côte d’Ivoire on Tuesday afternoon in an informal meeting. He said that there was a real risk of a return to civil war and that the international community had to act and act decisively.
     

  • The Secretary-General rejected accusations attacking the UN as partial. This is wrong, he said. 
     

  • He added that the intention of Laurent Gbagbo and the security forces loyal to him is clearly to blockade the United Nations peacekeeping mission and to suffocate the Government of President-elect Alassane Ouattara.
     

  • He called on Member States to prepare to support the Mission to assist with the continued flow of supplies. The Secretary-General said the role of the UN Mission, UNOCI, was now even more critical for the stability of Côte d’Ivoire and the sub-region and that it was essential that it received the full support of all Member States in implementing its mandate effectively.
     

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the two communications from President-elect Ouattara with respect to the credentials of the Côte d'Ivoire delegation have been shared with the Credentials Committee.
     

  • The Secretary-General said on Tuesday that it was important that Member States proceed quickly and decisively to address the credentials issue, so that there will be no confusion as to the views of the international community on this question.
     

  • Haq noted that the Credentials Committee had begun an informal meeting on the subject at 10:00 a.m. today, and that session would resume at 3:00 p.m.
     

  • Asked whether non-essential UN staff would be withdrawn from the country, the Spokesperson said that some non-essential staff have already left as a precautionary measure, but he emphasized that it is vital that the peacekeepers stay on to do their work.
     

  • Asked about the issue of mercenaries, Haq said that the Secretary-General had raised the issue that mercenaries are operating in Côte d’Ivoire as a serious concern.

 

U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS FIRING OF MORTARS, ROCKETS AT ISRAEL

  • Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, today condemned the indiscriminate firing of mortars and rockets by militant groups in Gaza at Israel, which has escalated in recent days. These attacks are in clear violation of international humanitarian law and endanger civilians in Israel.
     

  • Serry said that Israel has a right to self-defence consistent with international humanitarian law, but he urged Israel to exercise maximum restraint and take every precaution to ensure that its forces do not endanger civilians in Gaza. He said that the maintenance of calm is essential to create an environment in which further progress can be made in the interests of the people of both Gaza and Israel.
     

  • Earlier today, Maxwell Gaylard, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, visited the site of a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem which had been demolished just twenty four hours earlier, following an order by the relevant authorities of the Government of Israel.
     

  • Asked whether the Secretary-General still hopes that talks can be held on the Middle East, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General continues to believe that the way forward is for talks between the parties on a two-State solution. He looks forward to discussing the way ahead in the peace process with the other members of the Quartet in the coming weeks.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW DEPUTY SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Robert Watkins of Canada as Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, where he will also serve as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.
     

  • Mr. Watkins succeeds Marta Ruedas of Spain, who will complete her assignment at the end of the year.  He has served most recently as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative in Afghanistan.

 

BAN KI-MOON, SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOME IRAQ’S NEW GOVERNMENT

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

  • The Secretary-General also congratulated 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.
     

  • And in a press statement, the members of the Security Council also welcomed the formation of a new representative national partnership government and encouraged its leaders to continue to pursue a federal, democratic, pluralistic and unified Iraq based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.

 

DARFUR: THOUSANDS OF RECENTLY DISPLACED PERSONS UNDER PEACEKEEPERS’ PROTECTION

  • UN African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeepers continue to provide protection, as well as water and limited medical assistance, to displaced persons who have been sheltering outside the Mission’s team sites in Khor Abeche and Shangil Tobaya, South Darfur, as a result of the recent outbreak of fighting.
     

  • There are now more than 3,000 people surrounding the Shangil Tobaya team site.
     

  • The Secretary-General issued a statement on the fighting on Tuesday afternoon.
     

  • Also in Sudan, the Chairman of the Secretary-General’s Panel on the Referenda, Benjamin Mkapa, in a statement to the press today said two important steps remain as we enter the final stages of preparations for the Southern Sudan referendum: the courts will hear any remaining challenges and the final list of eligible voters will be published. He said these steps are extremely important to the success of the referendum and the Panel will be watching closely to see how they are carried out.
     

  • Mr. Mkapa called on all sides to play their part to ensure that the vote can take place on 9 January as scheduled.

 

OUTGOING PEACEKEEPING MISSION HANDS WORK PROGRAMMES OVER TO CHAD, U.N. COUNTRY TEAM

  • The Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT) announced today the official handover of the Mission’s programmes to the Government of Chad and the UN Country Team.
     

  • The handover marks one of the final steps in the shutdown of the Mission, which will be completed on 31 December, in line with the Security Council resolution of May 2010 terminating the mission’s mandate.
     

  • Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Deputy-Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Rima Salah, said that the UN Country Team has extensive field work experience and is a natural partner to the Government. As such, the Country Team will continue to work for the benefit of the Chadian people.
     

  • The programmes handed over included human rights, rule of law and good governance, child protection and the fight against gender-based violence.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

DOWNER SPEAKS FOR U.N. ON CYPRUS: Asked about reported remarks concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that were attributed to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, the Spokesperson clarified that Downer speaks for the United Nations on Cyprus, and his views on other matters are not necessarily shared by the Organization.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY BUILDING RESUMES NORMAL WORK: The Spokesperson, in response to a question, said that normal work in the General Assembly Building had resumed today following a brief evacuation on Tuesday caused by a suspicious odor.

 

 

  

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