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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 EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
 
FRIDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2012
 
NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, NON-PROLIFERATION CRUCIAL FOR PEACE AND SECURITY, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS IN VIENNA
 
  • The Secretary-General wrapped up his visit to Vienna on Friday.
  • Before leaving the Austrian capital, he attended a ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
  • In his remarks, the Secretary-General stressed that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are not utopian ideals, but are critical to global peace and security. He added that we have a legal and moral obligation to rid our world of nuclear tests and nuclear weapons.
  • Regarding the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, he noted that it is irresponsible to see this Treaty still waiting to come into effect 15 years after it was opened for signature.
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DEPART FOR U.K., ZAMBIA AND ANGOLA
 
  • The Secretary-General will depart New York next week for a trip that will take him to the United Kingdom, Zambia and Angola.
  • In the United Kingdom, he will attend the London Conference on Somalia and will also hold a number of bilateral meetings.
  • The Secretary-General will then travel to Zambia, where he will meet with President Michael Sata and other senior officials. He will address the National Assembly in a special session and hold an interactive dialogue with its leadership and representatives from selected Parliamentary bodies.
  • He will visit a UN-supported initiative that uses life skills and sports to reach and inspire vulnerable children, including children who live on the street. Together with Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Secretary-General will visit the Olympic Youth Development Centre, a pilot project of the IOC Committee within its ‘Sports for Hope Programme.’
  • While in Zambia, the Secretary-General will dialogue with Human Rights Clubs hosted by schools in the city of Livingstone, before participating in a ‘tourism for development’ event at Victoria Falls Park.
  • The last stop on his trip will be Angola, where he will meet with President José Eduardo dos Santos; the President of the National Assembly, Antonio Paulo Kassoma; Foreign Minister Georges Rebelo Chikoti, and other top officials.
  • The Secretary-General will also attend the launch of a polio vaccination campaign, and meet with young people at a project on water and sanitation.
  • He will return to New York on Tuesday, 28 February.
 
LIBYA: DEMOCRATIC FUTURE WITHIN REACH – SECRETARY-GENERAL
 
  • In a statement issued on Friday, the Secretary-General says that Libyans are within reach of a democratic future which one year ago seemed only a distant dream. In the year ahead, the United Nations stands ready to lend its utmost support to Libyan efforts in the transitional period, particularly to the election of a National Congress and the subsequent process of constitution-making. The Secretary-General urges all Libyans to stand together in a spirit of reconciliation; to insist that a revolution in the name of human rights must not be tarnished by abuses but must bring about justice through rule of law; and to ensure that women, youth and civil society as a whole are encouraged to play their full part in the development of transparent, inclusive and accountable institutions. The transition to democracy is a period of great challenges, but it is also a time of opportunities to build a new Libya that honours the sacrifices of its people in their struggle for freedom.
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION ON SYRIA
 
  • In a statement issued on Thursday evening, the Secretary-General says that as Syria's crisis has deepened, bringing escalating violence and suffering to the Syrian people, it is critical for the world to speak with one voice to put an end to the bloodshed and to exert maximum efforts to resolve this crisis peacefully. On Thursday, the General Assembly did so by indicating a way through the resolution toward a political solution and a peaceful future in Syria, with democracy, human rights and dignity for all of the Syrian people. The Secretary-General welcomes this much awaited message, and calls on the Syrian authorities to heed the call of the international community and the voice of the Syrian people.
  • The Secretary-General joins the General Assembly in calling on the Syrian government to immediately put an end to all human rights violations and attacks against its citizens, and to fully comply with its obligations under international law. The Syrian authorities must allow immediate, full and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need. The Secretary-General calls on all sides in Syria, including armed groups, to immediately stop all acts of violence. 
  • On Thursday, the General Assembly has expressed its support for the plan of the League of Arab States to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system. This process must respect the will and the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
  • The Secretary-General is prepared to carry out his responsibilities, as mandated by the resolution, and will work closely with the Arab League and others in the international community to find a peaceful and durable solution which will bring the crisis to an end.
 
U.N. SPECIAL ADVISOR WRAPS UP VISIT TO MYANMAR
 
  • The Secretary-General’s Special Advisor for Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, concluded his five-day visit on Friday.
  • While in the country, he met with President Thein Sein and other senior officials. He also met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as with civil society, ethnic and business representatives.
  • One year after the formation of the new Government and the launch of political and economic reforms under the leadership of President Thein Sein, the changes currently underway in Myanmar have attained an unprecedented level of initiative. The Special Adviser strongly commends the President and the Myanmar authorities for their determination and commitment to move the country forward in a way that meets the needs and aspirations of the peoples of Myanmar.
  • The Special Adviser also welcomes the Government’s recognition of the value of partnership with the United Nations to help Myanmar meet the challenges and opportunities before it. The good offices of the United Nations are ready to work with all stakeholders in this important task. The Special Adviser also feels that the international community must respond more robustly to the needs of the Myanmar people by lifting current restrictions on UN programmes. Now is the time to step up support and to adjust existing policies in order to help build conditions for sustaining the reform and for the betterment of Myanmar’s peoples.
 
U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES CÔTE D’IVOIRE LEADER’S ELECTION AS HEAD OF WEST AFRICAN BODY
 
  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, has congratulated President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire on his election as the new President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority.
  • Mr. Djinnit pledged the United Nations’ continued support to the newly-elected ECOWAS Authority and paid tribute to the dedication and achievements of the outgoing team.
  • He also expressed hope that the cooperation and partnership between the United Nations and ECOWAS will intensify in the months and years ahead.
 
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON SUDAN
 
  • The Security Council returned from Haiti on Thursday evening and met this morning.
  • The Council adopted a resolution on Sudan this morning extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts to 17 February 2013, and noting that the situation in Darfur continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region.
  • It requests the Panel to assess progress towards reducing violence by all parties. The resolution expresses the Council’s intention to impose targeted sanctions against individuals and entities that commit violence against civilians and impede the peace process. It also expressed its concerns that the travel ban and asset freeze imposed on designated individuals is not being implemented by all Member States. 
 
OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL SWIFTLY CONDEMNED ATTACKS ON ISRAELI DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS: In response to questions on the bombing of Israeli diplomatic missions in India and Georgia, the Deputy Spokesperson said that on February 13, the Spokesperson issued a note to correspondents and read it at the noon briefing on February 14. This underscores the Secretary-General's strong and outright condemnation of the attacks, and was sent out to correspondents on the very day of the attacks.
 
U.N. WORKING WITH LIBYAN GOVERNMENT TO CONSOLIDATE DEMOCRACY: Asked about the situation in Libya, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the people and Government of the country are working to create democratic institutions where none previously existed. The United Nations is working closely with the Government to help them through this process, according to the needs of the government. He added that challenges – such as the disarming of militias – are being met on a case-by-case basis.

U.N. INTERVENED FOR RELEASE OF THREE PEOPLE IN D.R. CONGO: Asked about arrests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the UN mission there (MONUSCO) was informed by sources in the Catholic Church that three priests, two nuns and one civil society activist were arrested by the Congolese National Police. MONUSCO has intervened for their release and three of them were released yesterday evening by the authorities. MONUSCO is seeking confirmation of the arrest and location of the three other individuals. The Mission is also verifying the media reports of violence allegedly committed by the Police.
 
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
18 – 24 FEBRUARY 2012
 
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
 
Saturday, 18 February
 
There are no major events scheduled for today.
 
Sunday, 19 February
 
There are no major events scheduled for today.
 
Monday, 20 February
 
Today is an official UN holiday in New York.
 
Today is the World Day of Social Justice.
 
Tuesday, 21 February
 
This evening, the Secretary-General departs for official visits to the United Kingdom, Zambia and Angola.
 
Today is International Mother Language Day [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)].
 
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on peace and security in Africa on the theme: “the impact of transnational organized crime on peace, security and stability in West Africa and the Sahel region.”
 
This evening, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a screening of a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Ciné Institute documentary, “Haiti Rebuilds: A Journey of Hope.” It will take place at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Participants will include UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Columbia Journalism School Professor June Cross.
 
Wednesday, 22 February
 
This morning, the Security Council will be briefed on Somalia and piracy and then hold consultations on Security Council missions. In the afternoon, it will hold a debate on the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).
 
Thursday, 23 February
 
This morning, the Security Council will adopt a resolution on the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and then hold an open debate on women and peace and security.
 
Friday, 24 February
 
There are no major events scheduled for today.
 
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017
Tel. 212-963-7162