Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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ENGLISH 23-Nov-2016 00:24:38
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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In a statement, the Secretary-General said that he has been updated by his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Espen Barth Eide, about the outcome of the talks that took place between the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mustafa Akıncı, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, in Mont Pèlerin, Switzerland, on 7-11 November and 20-21 November. Despite the best efforts of Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı, the talks did not yield the desired results regarding agreement on the criteria for territorial adjustment and they decided they would return to Cyprus to reflect on the way forward.

The Secretary-General shares the disappointment of the two leaders who had hoped that the meetings in Mont Pèlerin would pave the way for the final phase of the talks. On the same night of 21 November, thousands of people from both communities gathered in the buffer zone in Nicosia in support of the leaders’ shared vision of a united homeland. The Secretary-General is confident of the leaders’ continued desire to deliver on these expectations with a mutually beneficial solution. Cypriots deserve nothing less.

The Secretary-General encourages Mr. Akıncı and Mr. Anastasiades to do their utmost to overcome also this particular hurdle and conclude the promising work that they had undertaken in Mont Pèlerin. They have made significant progress across chapters over the past eighteen months, advancing their talks further than ever before.They should continue to build upon their substantial achievements. The Secretary-General urges the leaders to continue their efforts in line with their shared commitment to do their utmost in order to reach a settlement in 2016. Especially in a region and in a world marked by increasing tension, they must not let this historic opportunity slip.

The Secretary-General reiterates his full support and the commitment of the United Nations to assist the two leaders in reaching their shared goal, while respecting that the future of Cyprus will be determined by Cypriots, for all Cypriots. He will be in contact with both leaders soon to discuss the next steps. He is in close contact with his Special Adviser who is currently assessing the situation.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, warned the Security Council today that the inaction in moving forwards with Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts has a cost, measured in human lives and suffering. The situation on the ground is changing steadily and dangerously, as proponents of Israeli settlement expansion feel emboldened, internal divisions among Palestinians flare up and the prospect of a future Palestinian state comes under threat like never before.

He said that he visited Nablus, in the West Bank, twice this month, adding that the harsh conditions he saw, combined with regular Israeli incursions and the lack of a permanent home, create a potential for violence. What people need, he said, are courageous Israeli and Palestinian leaders who together can chart a clear strategy to peace and security.

Stephen O’Brien, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, also briefed the Council, saying that 70 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip currently receives some form of international assistance – yet our ability to deliver that assistance has become increasingly restricted. In the West Bank, he reported, the pace of demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian property by the Israeli authorities has far exceeded previous years on record – more than double this year compared to 2015.

In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, welcomed the resumption of UN inter-agency humanitarian aid operations at the “berm” along the Syrian-Jordan border.

The resumption of humanitarian operations has opened a lifeline to an estimated 85,000 Syrians – three-quarters of them women and children – stranded in a remote, arid desert area, in desperate need of lifesaving assistance and support.

Food and essential items were delivered yesterday to approximately 170 households in the Rukban community in preparation for the winter months. This was the beginning of a planned two-week distribution cycle, with further plans to provide basic health care services in the coming days.

Mr. O’Brien welcomes the continued partnership and support of the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Jordanian people, which will be needed to ensure full, safe and sustained humanitarian access to the many tens of thousands of displaced Syrians living at the “berm.”

The UN in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reports that tensions remain high in Bria following clashes between the Front Populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique, or FPRC, and the Union de la Paix en Centrafrique, or UPC. The Mission confirms that at least 16 civilians have been killed and 52 wounded. The local Red Cross has reported an additional 58 deaths, which the Mission is trying to confirm. One UN peacekeeper was also injured by gunshot. The violence also caused the displacement of around 6,000 people, who have sought refuge at an improvised site adjacent to the UN camp.

In response to the security situation in Bria, the UN Mission has reinforced its patrols in the city and is facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to meet the immediate needs of internally displaced people. The Mission also continues to engage in mediation efforts together with local, national and religious authorities.

A new report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today found that the number of patent applications rose to 2.9 million in 2015, up nearly 8 per cent from the previous year, according to a new report.

The jump was powered by innovators in China who filed more than one million applications for the first time within a single year.

After China, innovators from the United States and Japan filed the most applications.
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