HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 2 MAY 2012
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN
- On Wednesday morning, the Security Council approved its programme of work for May this morning, in its first consultations under the Council Presidency of Azerbaijan.
- The Council then went into a formal meeting in which it unanimously approved a resolution deciding that Sudan and South Sudan shall unconditionally resume negotiation under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel.
- The Security Council added that Sudan and South Sudan should, among other things, immediately cease all hostilities, including aerial bombardments, within 48 hours; unconditionally withdraw all of their armed forces to their side of the border, in accordance with previously adopted agreements; and cease the harbouring of, or support to, rebel groups against the other State.
U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN CONDEMNS SUICIDE ATTACK IN KABUL
- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns in the strongest terms the car bomb and suicide attack that killed eight civilians in Kabul, including women and two children, and wounded 11 others.
- These attacks took place less than 200 meters from a school, and the UN Mission stresses that such attacks are unacceptable.
- The Mission offers its condolences to the families of those killed, and it also commends the rapid response of the Afghan National Security Forces that quickly contained the incident.
- Asked about an agreement signed on Wednesday between the US and Afghanistan, the Deputy Spokesperson said it was a bilateral issue.
- He added that the UN has been involved in Afghanistan for many years and will be continued to be involved for many years to come, working on issues such as institution building, education, women’s rights, and health.
U.N. URGES INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT NEW SOLUTIONS STRATEGY FOR AFGHAN REFUGESS
- On Wednesday, an international conference on Afghan refugees opened in Geneva with a call by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, for the global community to throw its full weight behind a new “solutions strategy” drawn up between Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
- The strategy, which is being presented at the two-day conference for endorsement, aims both at preserving asylum space for Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries over the coming three years and beyond, and at supporting sustainable reintegration for those Afghans who return home.
- Afghan refugees constitute the largest and longest-standing refugee situation in UNHCR's history. Despite the return of some 5.7 million Afghans to their homeland since 2002, there are still around 2 million Afghans in Pakistan and close to 1 million in Iran. And in recent years, return rates have slowed. In 2011, about 70,000 Afghan refugees returned home.
U.N. MISSION WELCOMES OSCE TO FACILITATE VOTING IN KOSOVO FOR SERBIAN ELECTIONS
- The UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has welcomed the agreement reached on 30 April, by which the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will facilitate voting in Kosovo for the Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections.
- Those elections will be held this Sunday.
- The UN Mission calls upon the concerned authorities, as well as the general public, to extend full cooperation to the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and to ensure that those exercising their right to vote do so in conditions of safety and security.
U.N. AGENCY CONFIRMS OUTBREAK OF A NEW STRAIN OF FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE IN GAZA STRIP
- On Wednesday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) confirmed that following outbreaks of a new strain of foot-and-mouth disease in Egypt and Libya, the virus has reached neighbouring Gaza Strip and could soon spread across the Middle East and North Africa.
- According to FAO, local animals do not have any acquired resistance to the so-called SAT2 variant. With vaccines against the novel virus still in short supply, the priority at the moment is to limit animal movements to prevent its further spread. Heightened surveillance of animal populations to quickly detect and respond to new outbreaks is also critical.
- Gaza Strip will be receiving an initial lot of 20,000 vaccine doses to protect its valuable cattle. An additional 40,000 doses will be made available as soon as possible for sheep and goats.
- Meanwhile, a FAO Crisis Management team has arrived in Libya today to take additional samples from affected animals so that the virus can be better characterized and the most suitable vaccine found or produced, thereby ensuring the maximum efficacy of eventual vaccination campaigns.
U.N. EMPHASIZES THE ROLE OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
- Under the theme of “Mainstreaming organic agriculture into the African development agenda”, the 2nd African Organic Conference, jointly organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the African Union, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), opened today in Lusaka, Zambia.
- The UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Petko Draganov told the opening session that “organic agriculture can offer an impressive array of food security, economic, environmental, and health benefits for developing countries, including in Africa.” And it can have an important role in achieving sustainable and inclusive development.
- The three-day conference has among its objectives the development of an African Organic Action Plan intended to spur expansion of the organic farming sector, streamline certification and “organic equivalency” systems that allow more vigorous trade in organic goods, and add to the continent’s markets for organic produce.
U.N. CALLS FOR PEACEFUL ELECTIONS IN EGYPT: Asked about the reported deaths of demonstrators in Egypt, the Deputy-Spokesperson said the Secretary-General has always called for the right of people to demonstrate peacefully. The Secretary-General calls for the elections to be held in a peaceful way with no violence.
U.N. MISSION BASE FIRED UPON DURING DRC CLASHES: Asked about the search for Bosco Ntaganda, the Deputy-Spokesperson said following developments in North Kivu where a number of elements of a former armed group known as the CNDP have clashed with the Forces Armées de la RDC (FARDC) over the past days. The former CNDP elements involved in this incident have defected recently from the FARDC and are believed to be loyal to ICC indictee, Bosco Ntaganda.
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