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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

SOMALIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK NEAR MOGADISHU AIRPORT

·        The Secretary-General condemns today’s terrorist attack in the vicinity of Mogadishu International Airport. He expresses deep condolences to the friends and families of the deceased, and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

·        The Secretary-General reaffirms that such criminal acts will not diminish the strong resolve of the United Nations to continue supporting the people and Government of Somalia in their work to build peace and stability in the country.

·        The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating, also condemned in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack that killed at least a dozen people.

·        Suicide bombers detonated two vehicles laden with explosives near the perimeter of the airport enclave this morning.

·        No United Nations personnel are among the confirmed dead but we would like to pay homage to the security personnel that prevented the vehicles from entering the airport enclave.

·         On behalf of the entire UN community in Somalia, Mr. Keating extended his heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY APPEALS FOR MORE FUNDING FOR VOLUNTARY RETURN OF SOMALI REFUGEES

·        The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today appealed to donors for an additional $115.4 million to fund the voluntary return and reintegration of Somali refugees from Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.

·        Following the Government of Kenya’s announcement of its decision to close Dadaab Camp, UNHCR presented a plan of action at a recent meeting of the Tripartite Commission, where Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR all sit.

·        The plan outlines a process intended to reduce the population of Dadaab by 150,000 by the end of 2016 – the camp currently hosts 343,043 people.

·        It is anticipated that the majority of the remaining refugee population would return to Somalia during the course of 2017.

U.N.: DIVISIONS IN SOUTH SUDAN NEED TO BE ADDRESSED THROUGH DIALOGUE

·        Regarding an announcement concerning the replacement of Riek Machar as First Vice President of South Sudan, the United Nations calls on all parties to ensure that the ceasefire is maintained and that any divisions within the Opposition, or between the parties, be dealt with peacefully through dialogue.

·        The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) will continue working with the Transitional Government of National Unity and all stakeholders in support of the implementation of the peace agreement for the benefit of the South Sudanese people, as mandated by the Security Council.

·         According to the latest information from the UN Mission in South Sudan, a detained staff member has not yet been released. UNMISS is continuing to press for access and visitation, but has thus far been denied. Her family has been able to visit her. The UN Mission is continuing its engagement with the authorities in this regard.

FIGHTING FORCES MORE THAN 37,000 SOUTH SUDANESE TO FLEE TO UGANDA

·        The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that the recent fighting in South Sudan has to date forced more than 37,000 people to flee the country to Uganda.

·        This represents more refugee arrivals in Uganda in the past three weeks than in the entire first six months of 2016.

·        The new arrivals in Uganda are reporting ongoing fighting as well as looting by armed militias, burning down of homes, and murders of civilians.

·        Some of the women and children said they were separated from their husbands or fathers by armed groups, who are reportedly forcibly recruiting men into their ranks and preventing them from crossing the border.

·        The humanitarian response to the influx of South Sudanese refugees is sorely lacking due to severe underfunding, with the inter-agency appeal being only funded at 17 per cent so far.

SYRIA: SPECIAL ENVOY MEETS WITH SENIOR U.S. AND RUSSIAN OFFICIALS

·        Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, met with senior U.S. and Russian officials today in Geneva on initiatives related to the urgent need for progress on the Cessation of Hostilities, humanitarian access, counterterrorism and political transition in Syria.

·        He told reporters afterwards that the participants had made some progress today but more details need to be worked out in the next few days.

·        Mr. de Mistura said that the aim is to proceed with a third round of Intra-Syrian Talks towards the end of August.

·        At the same time, he expressed the hope that concrete progress will take place on the understanding reached between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. This will create the right atmosphere both on the ground and for the Intra-Syrian Talks.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES CLOSER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN U.N.  AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION

·        The Secretary-General welcomes the approval by the General Assembly today of the relationship agreement between the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  Upon signature of the agreement on 19 September 2016, IOM will become a related organization of the United Nations system.

·        The Secretary-General believes that the approval of the agreement by the governing bodies of both organizations marks a major milestone in the long-standing and close relationship between the United Nations and IOM.  The relationship agreement not only formalizes this partnership, but also sets out an even closer cooperation between the two organizations while preserving the mandates and responsibilities of other United Nations organizations and subsidiary organs and agencies in the field of migration.

·        Migration is at the heart of the new global political landscape and its social and economic dynamics.  At a time of growing levels of migration within and across borders, a closer legal and working relationship between the United Nations and IOM is needed more than ever.

·        The Secretary-General trusts that the relationship agreement will contribute to a more effective global response to the challenges posed by large and sudden population movements.  It will help to strengthen the support provided by the United Nations system to Member States in implementing the migration-related elements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

·        The Secretary-General conveys sincere thanks to Mr. William Lacy Swing, the Director General of IOM, for his efforts and cooperation in making the relationship agreement a reality. The Secretary-General looks forward to signing the agreement on 19 September 2016 on the occasion of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants.

MAJOR GENERAL KABIR OF BANGLADESH APPOINTED U.N. FORCE COMMANDER IN CYPRUS

·        Today, the Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir of Bangladesh as Force Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, known as UNFICYP. Major General Kabir will succeed Major General Kristin Lund of Norway, who will complete her assignment on 29 July 2016.

·        The Secretary-General pays tribute to Major General Lund’s service with UNFICYP, the first female Force Commander in the UN, where her dedication, professionalism and leadership greatly contributed to the UN efforts in Cyprus.

·          Major General Kabir has over 32 years of wide-ranging command and staff experience, and we have more on this in a biographical note in my office.