Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
19-Oct-2018 00:09:37
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General said that, as Afghanistan prepares for parliamentary elections on 20 October, he encourages all eligible Afghan voters to exercise their right to vote and thus to contribute to the development of sustainable democratic institutions and create conditions conducive for a more stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

The Secretary-General called on all political leaders to work together to ensure full respect for the electoral process, in which every voter, particularly women and minority groups, will be able to cast their ballot.

Against the backdrop of existing security challenges, the Secretary-General encouraged relevant authorities and all political stakeholders to take the necessary measures to do their utmost to prevent any form of electoral violence.

The UN Mission in the country today condemned yesterday’s attack against government officials in Kandahar.

The Mission said that the timing of the attack, which was fewer than 48 hours before the elections, had contributed to a feeling of uncertainty and insecurity at a moment when many Afghan citizens are preparing to exercise their constitutional right to elect representatives.

The Mission said it is encouraged by the steps taken by the Government to ensure continued stability and functions of the Government in Kandahar under such tragic and difficult circumstances.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today it delivered the first of more than 1,300 emergency tents for families who have been made homeless following the recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. Additional supplies, such as sleeping mats, mosquito nets and solar lamps, will be delivered in the coming weeks.

The Government estimates that some 68,000 houses have been damaged and 80,000 people have been displaced.

For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) is helping the Government to expedite, manage, store, and distribute aid supplies in Sulawesi.

WFP is working on logistics, transport and storage of relief supplies in Palu and the airport hub of Balikpapan on the neighbouring island of Borneo.

The agency is due to have 40 trucks in operation in and around Palu by tomorrow, 20 October. These trucks will be available to all aid partners to transport and distribute aid.

This morning, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, briefed the Security Council on the latest developments in Mali.

Mr. Lacroix noted that the presidential elections in July were held under a largely peaceful climate, demonstrating political maturity. However, he said the elections should have been underpinned by more progress in the implementation of key reforms.

He urged the Government and opposition to engage in constructive political dialogue ahead of impending parliamentary elections.

Mr. Lacroix also conveyed to the Council his concern about the security situation in the country. Today’s briefing took place as five UN peacekeepers were wounded by an improvised explosive device in the Kidal region yesterday.

He added that, following an intensification in violent extremist attacks in neighbouring Burkina Faso, the G5 Sahel Joint Force remains as relevant as ever and must be complemented by initiatives aimed at improving governance, resilience and development.

In response to questions received regarding the commander of the Sri Lankan contingent in Mali, the Spokesperson said that, following a review of the human rights background of the commander of the Sri Lankan contingent deployed to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali, the Secretariat has requested that the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to immediately repatriate him to Sri Lanka. This will be done at their cost, as per normal procedures. This decision to repatriate the commander was made by the UN following a review, based on recently received information. The Secretariat remains engaged with the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed will be traveling to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to give a keynote speech at the United Nations World Data Forum 2018. That meeting is organized by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) of the UAE, together with the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and it will be held in Dubai from 22 to 24 October. She will also have bilateral meetings with senior Government officials and the UN country team during her visit.

She will return to New York on Tuesday.
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