HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 20 JANUARY 2017
 
THE GAMBIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT ADAMA BARROW ON HIS INAUGURATION

  • The Secretary-General called President Adama Barrow of The Gambia yesterday to discuss the latest developments in the country and to congratulate him on his inauguration. 
  • The Secretary-General expressed deep concern about the refusal of Yahya Jammeh to step aside and about the high outflow of Gambians into Senegal.
  • The Secretary-General told President Barrow of his full support for his determination, and ECOWAS’s historic decision, with the unanimous backing of the Security Council, to restore the rule of law in The Gambia so as to honour and respect the will of the Gambian people.
  • The Secretary-General conveyed the readiness of the United Nations system to support President Barrow and his government in their efforts to promote democracy and achieve sustainable development in The Gambia.
  • Mohammed Ibn Chambas, head of the UN Office for West Africa the Sahel (UNOWAS), is in The Gambia now, along with other regional leaders, seeking to resolve the issue of the transition.
  • Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that around 45,000 people have arrived in Senegal from The Gambia, according to the Senegalese Government.  In addition, at least 800 people crossed into Guinea-Bissau. It is feared that more people may continue to flee as the situation remains tense. 

 

SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA STAFFAN DE MISTURA CONSULTS AHEAD OF ASTANA TALKS
  • In the past few days, the Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura consulted in Davos with the Secretary-General and with regional officials.  He met with Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Iran, Norway, and with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini.  He also had brief encounters with the King of Belgium, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and many others.
  • Mr. de Mistura will lead the UN team in Astana, Kazakhstan, next week at the request of the Secretary-General. 
  • The Deputy UN Special Envoy, Ramzy Ezzeldine Ramzy, also travelled recently to Moscow and to Ankara for discussion with the Russian and Turkish Governments in preparation for the Astana meeting and the Geneva negotiations planned for February. He has also been in contact with the Iranian authorities.
  • The Special Envoy hopes that the efforts to reduce hostilities gradually among signatories would continue and create a conducive environment for the talks in Astana, so as to enable progress towards a sustainable cease-fire. Those steps would be very helpful for the planned convening of intra-Syrian negotiations in February.

 

NEW U.N. CHIEF IN SOUTH SUDAN ARRIVES IN JUBA
  • The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan, Mr. David Shearer, has arrived in the country to assume his duties.
  • Speaking on arrival, Mr. Shearer indicated that he was arriving with a fresh and open mind and would spend time listening to what various stakeholders had to say.
  • He noted that the South Sudanese people deserve to have a state that is functioning and that looks after them and is stable and provides for their peace and their prosperity.
  • He said that whatever the UN could do to contribute to that, he would do his best to make sure it happened.

 

TOTAL NUMBER OF U.N. MEMBER STATES HAVING PAID FULL DUES REACHES 13
  • Lichtenstein and Norway have made full payments to the UN’s regular budget, bringing the total number of Member States which have done so in 2017 to 13.