HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 12 JANUARY 2016
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED FOR SOLID, SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION FOR CYPRUS
- The Secretary-General today is in Geneva, where he chaired and opened the Conference on Cyprus.
- Speaking to the press, the Secretary-General paid tribute to the statesmanship, courage and determination of the leaders of the two communities.
- He noted the progress that has been made, both in the past 20 months as well as in recent days, but stressed that the work will continue.
- The Secretary-General said that we are not looking for a quick fix, but rather a solid and sustainable solution.
LITTLE PROGRESS MADE IN DARFUR PEACE NEGOTIATIONS, U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
- This morning, Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Security Council on Darfur. He noted that there had been a significant decrease in armed conflict, particularly as a result of the Government’s military successes against the armed movements and the efforts of State Governments to curb inter-communal violence. However, he also stressed that civilians remained exposed to significant sources of insecurity such as inter-communal conflict and criminality, including the activities of armed militias. The situation had been exacerbated by the widespread proliferation of weapons and the inadequacy of rule of law and justice institutions.
- Mr. Ladsous further noted that little tangible progress had been made in the Darfur peace process. He stressed the need for long-term comprehensive solutions to create the necessary conditions for the return or resettlement of the 2.6 million people who remain displaced and for the resolution of the underlying causes of conflict related to access to land, water and other natural resources.
- In a joint appointment made by the Secretary-General and the Commission Chairperson of the African Union, Jeremiah Mamabolo of South Africa has been appointed as Acting Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
U.N. MISSION HEAD MEETS SOUTH SUDANESE MINISTER TO CLARIFY REPORTS ON REGIONAL PROTECTION FORCE DEPLOYMENT
- Today, the Acting Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Moustapha Soumaré, met the South Sudanese Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Martin Lumoro, and requested clarification on various press reports which cited senior government officials stating that the government had changed its position on the deployment of the Regional Protection Force. The Minister confirmed that the government’s position on the subject remained unchanged, and that in line with the relevant Security Council resolutions the government would continue to facilitate the deployment of the regional force.
U.N. SYRIA ENVOY: CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES HOLDING, BUT AID ACCESS YET TO IMPROVE
- Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, spoke to the press in Geneva today following a meeting of the Humanitarian Task Force in Syria. He said that the cessation of hostilities in the country has been largely holding, with some exceptions. However, he added, humanitarian access has yet to improve and he stressed the importance of steps to improve access.
- He said the main area of concern is Wadi Barada, and the cutoff of water from there to some 5.5 million people in Damascus. Mr. de Mistura said that five villages in the Wadi Barada area had reached an agreement with the Government, which he welcomed; but two other villages, including one which is the source of the water supply, have still not reached any such agreement. He noted that water engineers are ready to repair the water supply lines once there is security to do so.
- Mr. de Mistura said that the UN was supportive of planned talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, and said it is ready to contribute to a positive Astana meeting.
YEMEN: U.N. YEMEN ENVOY WRAPS UP VISIT TO SAUDI ARABIA
- The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, concluded a three-day visit yesterday to Riyadh, where he met with Saudi and Yemeni officials.
- The Envoy briefed the diplomatic corps on the latest developments in the Yemeni peace process and the steps towards a new Cessation of Hostilities. During the visit, he also met with the Governor of the Central Bank in Yemen, Monasser Al-Quaiti, to discuss the economic situation and the urgent measures which are necessary to avoid further economic deterioration. Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed is encouraging the adoption of measures which will allow the resumption of salary payments in all parts of Yemen as the liquidity crisis is overcome.
- In the coming days, the Special Envoy will intensify his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict and will be traveling to Doha, Muscat, Amman, Aden and Sana'a.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION TO LAUNCH VACCINATION CAMPAIGN FOR 4 MILLION CHILDREN IN NORTH-EASTERN NIGERIA
- The World Health Organization (WHO) says that a mass vaccination campaign to protect more than 4 million children against a measles outbreak in north-eastern Nigeria is planned to start tomorrow.
- The two-week campaign will target all children aged from 6 months to 10 years in accessible areas of conflict-affected States Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
- High insecurity, difficult terrain and lack of functioning health facilities add to the enormous logistical challenges of assembling and training more than 4,000 vaccination teams and ensuring the vaccine is kept within cold chain conditions in a climate where the average daytime temperature is above 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
FOOD PRICES DROP FOR FIFTH YEAR RUNNING, U.N. AGENCY FINDS
- The prices of major food commodities declined for the fifth year in a row in 2016, some 1.5 percent below their 2015 levels, according to the regular Food Price Index of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
- 2016 was marked by a steady decline in cereal prices, while the prices of tropical commodities such as sugar and palm oil rose, due in part to the El Nino phenomenon.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS BRAZILIAN NATIONAL AS DEPUTY HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN COLOMBIA
- The Secretary-General is announcing today the appointment of Tania Patriota of Brazil as his Deputy Special Representative for Colombia and Deputy Head of the UN Mission in Colombia.
- Ms. Patriota brings to this position more than 20 years of experience with the UN. Over the past 13 years, Ms. Patriota has worked with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Brazil, Haiti, Colombia and Mongolia as well as postings in New York headquarters.