Iraq; Syria; The Pope; Darfur; Mozambique

Iraq: The SG today strongly condemned Saturday’s mortar attack on Camp Liberty – the temporary transit center near Baghdad for former residents of Camp Ashraf – which killed a number of residents and injured Iraqi police officers. UNAMI is in close contact with the Government of Iraq on the response to the incident, and Mr. Ban urges Iraqi authorities to promptly investigate the incident and bring perpetrators to justice.

Syria: Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi on Sunday met with the Head of the Syrian National Coalition, Moaz Al-Khatib, Coalition Vice-President Riad Seif, and an accompanying delegation in Cairo. During the meeting, the leaders discussed the latest initiative launched by Mr. Al-Khatib, as well as the Syrian National Coalition’s plans. Mr. Brahimi reiterated his support for this initiative and encouraged the Coalition to continue in this direction in the coming meetings.

The Pope: In response to Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation today, the SG lauded his commitment to inter-faith dialogue and the promotion of peace. In a note to correspondents, Mr. Ban reflected on the Pope’s visit to UN HQ in April 2008 and his efforts to address such global challenges as the alleviation of poverty and hunger, as well as the promotion of human rights and peace. The SG hopes that the wisdom demonstrated during his Pontificate may stand as a legacy upon which to build.

Darfur: The Government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement signed a ceasefire agreement in Doha on Sunday. Acting Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator ad interim for Darfur, Aichatou Mindaoudou, has congratulated the two parties on this “major breakthrough on the road towards a comprehensive and lasting peace accord in Darfur.”

Mozambique: Heavy rains have led to massive flooding in southern Mozambique, killing 105 people and displacing some 150,000, destroying hundreds of houses, infrastructure, and crops. OCHA announced today that $5.13 million will be distributed from the CERF to various UN agencies to provide basic needs and services such as shelter, food, medical aid, water, sanitation and hygiene, and logistical protection to those in need. OCHA and the Government have already allocated $10 million to cope with the emergency, though given the scale of the disaster more resources are required.