Secretary-General: This afternoon, the General Assembly appointed Ban Ki-moon to a second term as Secretary-General. Today’s decision follows a recommendation last week by members of the Security Council that Mr. Ban be re-appointed. Under the resolution, which was adopted by acclamation, Mr. Ban’s second term will run from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016. Representatives of the regional groups among UN Member States also welcomed the decision during separate addresses to the Assembly meeting.
In his remarks to the GA following his appointment, the SG said that the UN had “laid a firm foundation for the future” on a number of issues since he assumed office, including climate change, nuclear disarmament, education, sustainable development and global health. “We are on track to eliminate deaths from malaria. With a final push, we can eradicate polio, just as we did smallpox long ago. We have shielded the poor and vulnerable against the greatest economic upheaval in generations.”
The Secretary-General also cited the UN’s peacekeeping efforts in conflicts and crises around the world, the creation of the agency known as UN Women, and the UN’s response to major humanitarian disasters in Haiti, Pakistan and Myanmar. Looking ahead, he noted that the current economic times in the wake of the global financial crisis meant the world, and the UN as an institution, have to do more with less. Ambassador Rice also delivered the following remarks to the General Assembly following the Secretary-General’s re-appointment.
Somalia: The Security Council held a debate this morning concerning piracy off the coast of Somalia. Patricia O’Brien, the USG for Legal Affairs, presented the Secretary-General’s recent report concerning anti-piracy courts. She emphasized that, if the Security Council wishes to request the Secretary-General to address any of the modalities considered in the report, with a view to moving toward the establishment of Somali specialized courts, her office will do so as a matter of priority.
Cyprus: The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities met today in Nicosia. The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Alexander Downer, told reporters that it was a constructive meeting. The talks focused on preparing for the leaders’ meeting with the Secretary-General in Geneva on 7 July. They also discussed governance and power-sharing issues. The leaders will meet again on 30 June.
Syria: UNHCR participated in a government-organized mission to the Syrian town of Jisr Al Shugour on Monday. A staff member reported that villages were almost deserted, which indicates significant displacement. The Refugee agency staff met briefly with staff of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent who described food and medicine shortages in the area. In response to a question on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s speech yesterday, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has taken note of reforms pledged by the President in his speech, and he urges the President to carry out these measures without delay and in a way that is both genuine and credible. They should be part of a broad and inclusive process of change and democratization.
Sri Lanka: Asked about UN follow-up on the report of the Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson said that response is being coordinated at the Secretariat. He said that any follow-up investigation would need either cooperation from the Sri Lankan Government or a mandate from an intergovernmental body.