HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 26 AUGUST 2016
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES GABON TO HOLD PEACEFUL POLLS
- On the eve of the presidential election in Gabon, the Secretary-General calls on all Gabonese to exercise their civic duty responsibly and looks forward to the holding of the poll in a peaceful and credible manner.
- The Secretary-General commends the Government of Gabon and the Autonomous and Permanent National Electoral Commission (CENAP) for the timely preparations for the election. He further welcomes the deployment of regional and international election observers in Gabon and stresses the importance of the free and responsible participation of the media.
- The Secretary-General urges all political stakeholders, in particular the candidates, to exercise restraint, abstain from any acts of incitement or the use of inflammatory statements, and maintain a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the election. He calls on all candidates to contribute to the integrity of the electoral process by addressing any complaints that may arise through established legal and constitutional channels.
EVACUATIONS OUT OF DARAYYA, SYRIA, MUST BE VOLUNTARY: U.N. ENVOY
- In a statement issued today, Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, said it is imperative that people of Darayya are protected in any evacuation that takes place, and that this takes place voluntarily. He strongly appeals to the Co-Chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and co-sponsors of the Cessation of Hostilities and other ISSG members to ensure that the implementation of this agreement and its aftermath is in full compliance with international humanitarian law and protection standards.
- He said he had been made aware overnight of the agreement to evacuate residents, both civilians and fighters, starting today. The UN was not consulted or involved in the negotiation of this agreement. A UN humanitarian team is reaching out to all parties, including the local population. He said it is tragic that repeated appeals to lift the siege of Darayya, besieged since November 2012, and to cease the fighting, have never been heeded.
- In a statement issued today on the humanitarian pause in Aleppo, Syria, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said that more than 100,000 children remain trapped in the eastern parts of the city since early July.
- Today is another sad and dangerous day for the children in Syria, in particular those living in Aleppo, Mr. Lake added, stressing that every second of every minute counts when it comes to protecting and saving the lives of children.
- Until there is peace, there is a desperate need for the humanitarian pauses, ceasefires and constant access necessary to save lives and save hope. UNICEF continues to be at the ready to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance, including medicines, vaccines and nutritional supplements.
U.N. YEMEN ENVOY CALLS FOR RENEWED COMMITMENT TO CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES
- The Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, was in Jeddah yesterday where he met with the US Secretary of State; the UK Minister for the Middle East, North Africa and Counter Terrorism; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates.
- The meeting focused on finding a peaceful political solution to end the conflict in Yemen and on the role of the international community. A roadmap was presented that consists of a set of principles, details of the sequencing and timelines.
- The Special Envoy insisted that the Yemeni parties should first renew their commitment to “an immediate cessation of hostilities and facilitating humanitarian access” and engage in discussing a single comprehensive and sequenced agreement for both security arrangements as well as political arrangements.
U.N. PEACEBUILDING FUND APPROVES US$3 MILLION FOR COLOMBIA
- Anticipating the peace accord that the Colombia government reached Wednesday with the FARC rebels, the UN Peacebuilding Fund approved a total funding of US$3 million for a project to support collective reparations of victims of the armed conflict and help pave the way for the implementation of the peace agreements.
U.N. FIELD SUPPORT CHIEF TO TRAVEL TO NEPAL AND PAKISTAN
- The Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, will be travelling to Nepal tomorrow and then to Pakistan. In both countries he is expected to meet with senior government, military and police officials to welcome and discuss their continuous engagement in peacekeeping.
- There will be no noon press briefings next week. Highlights will be posted each day and, should there be breaking news that warrants holding a briefing, the Office of the Spokesperson will inform correspondents.