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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

FRIDAY, 23 DECEMBER 2011

*U.N. Headquarters will be closed on Monday, 26 December. The noon briefings will resume on 3 January 2011.

SOMALIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS KILLING OF U.N. STAFF

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General strongly condemns the killing of two World Food Programme (WFP) staff members and a staff member of a cooperating partner today in Mataban, Hiraan province of Somalia. 

  • The Secretary-General calls on the authorities to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers.  He expects those responsible to be swiftly brought to justice.

  • The Secretary-General extends his sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of the three humanitarian workers and to their colleagues in Somalia.

  • For its part, WFP said the incident illustrates the risks that humanitarian workers can face while working in one of the world’s most difficult and dangerous environments. 

  • The attack took place on Friday morning in Mataban town in Hiiran province in central Somalia. Two WFP members of a monitoring mission were shot, as was a third person who worked for Doyale, one of WFP’s non-governmental organization partners.

  • The mission was in the area to monitor a general food distribution as well as camps for internally displaced people (IDPs).

  • WFP is providing food for IDPs and malnourished children in Hiiran province, which was badly affected by this year's Horn of Africa drought but was not officially declared to be in a state of famine, as were some other parts of Somalia. 

SYRIA: BAN KI-MOON VOICES CONCERN AT UPTICK IN VIOLENCE

  • The Secretary-General says in a statement that he is gravely concerned at the escalating violence in Syria. Today's explosions in Damascus, which resulted in more deaths and injuries, underscore his growing concerns. He emphasizes that all violence is unacceptable and must stop immediately.

  • The Secretary-General urges the need for a credible, inclusive and legitimate Syrian-led process of comprehensive political change that will address the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. The Syrian Government should fully and speedily implement the peace plan put forward by the League of Arab States. In this regard, the Secretary-General welcomes the arrival of the advance team of the Arab League and looks forward to the deployment of the full-scale observer mission, which must be given unhindered access.

  • Asked about the situation in Syria, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, and her Office have carried out their tasks in a professional manner. He said the Syrian Government should allow Human Rights Council-mandated officials access to the country.

SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS 9/11 MEMORIAL IN NEW YORK

  • The Secretary-General paid a visit to the 9/11 memorial in New York’s Lower Manhattan this morning.

  • The City of New York authorities invited the Secretary-General after he expressed a wish to visit the site.

  • The Secretary-General was accompanied by the Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs. Ban and a small number of senior officials.

  • The Secretary-General was keen to visit the memorial to offer his respects to those who were killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

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