Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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ENGLISH 09-Jan-2017 00:15:58
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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In a statement, the Secretary-General condemned the terrorist attack by a Palestinian assailant which took place in Jerusalem yesterday. He conveys his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a swift recovery to those who were injured.

Violence and terror will not bring a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- quite the opposite. All those responsible for such acts must be brought to justice, condemned and disavowed. Their acts should not be allowed to deter from the need for a renewed commitment to dialogue.

The Secretary-General will depart New York on the afternoon of Wednesday, 11 January, to travel to Geneva. On Thursday, 12 January, he will open and chair the Conference on Cyprus.

The UN remains concerned that 5.5 million people in and around Damascus city continue to be deprived of running water, due to damage in the water infrastructure resulting from ongoing hostilities fighting in Wadi Barada area since 22 December. Technical teams from the Syria water authorities have reportedly not yet to be able to access the damaged water infrastructure to assess the damage. Negotiations continue to enable repairs to the infrastructure and to reach an agreement in the area. The UN calls on all parties to allow immediate, unrestricted and sustained access in order to restore the provision of water.

Since 22 December, the fighting in Wadi Barada has resulted in the displacement of an estimated 10,000 men, women and children out of the area, including 7,500 people registered by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Government-controlled areas. Registration is taking place at the exit point where families receive vouchers to collect assistance from distribution points before they settle with their families and acquaintances.

The UN and partners provide the displaced with winterization kits, blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses, kitchen sets and other emergency assistance. The UN has pre-positioned humanitarian supplies ready for distribution and contingency plans are in place in case more people are displaced.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the first inter-agency humanitarian convoy of 2017 delivered much needed food, health, nutrition, education and non-food assistance for 40,000 men, women and children in need in Madamiyet El Sham. The last convoy to the besieged area was on 23 October 2016.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) launched today two international appeals totalling $813 million to fund the emergency response to the crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and to meet the critical humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria, including those displaced into Lebanon and Jordan. The Agency’s emergency appeal this year for the occupied Palestinian territory totals $402 million, while its emergency appeal for the Syrian regional crisis amounts to $411 million.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said that 1.6 million Palestine refugees, who are more insecure than ever and whose needs are growing, require our resolute action. He called for urgent and generous support from the international community.

In response to questions about the activities of the Special Envoy on Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Spokesman said that the Envoy arrived today in Riyadh, where he intends to speak to Saudi and Yemeni officials in the coming days.

The UN mission in Côte d'Ivoire reports that the situation in the country is calm after two days of protests by members of the armed forces. An agreement was reached between the soldiers and the Government on Saturday over a number of issues, including bonuses and promotions. The UN mission reports that soldiers returned to their barracks across the country yesterday. The Mission has not received reports of any casualties related to the incidents.

Meanwhile, peacekeepers from the Mission's Quick Reaction Force remain deployed to Bouake in support of national authorities. The Mission continues to monitor the situation.
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