SG acknowledges preliminary election results in Haiti, Serry expresses disappointment with Israel’s decision to ignore the call to freeze settlements, Choi stands behind vote in Côte d’Ivoire, and more from UN Direct

Haiti: In a statement issued today which “takes note” of the preliminary election results released yesterday in Haiti, the SG placed emphasis on the fact that the results are not final and expressed his concern with allegations of fraud.  Candidates who want to challenge the results have 72 hours to file an appeal, and the SG is urging them to exhaust the formal remedies and legal procedures for a clearer result. The SG also expressed his concern about the recent outbreak of violence, and has asked for all parties to remain calm.  If a runoff happens, it is expected to take place January 16.

Climate Change Conference: The SG will return to New York from Cancun later today, after attending high-level events on deforestation as well as on climate change financing. In a briefing to the press yesterday after addressing COP16, he reiterated that “this is not a sprint, but a marathon.”

Côte d’Ivoire: Choi Young-jin, the SGSR for Côte d’Ivoire, explained the UN’s certification process of the presidential election in a press conference held in Abidjan today. He stated that the will of the people, which was formally expressed on November 28, is irrefutable. Choi used three different ballot methods to tabulate that Alassane Ouattara won the election. This morning, the Security Council also held related consultations.

Mideast Peace Process: Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, stated his concern today that Israel has ignored the Quartet’s call to freeze settlement activity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Such activity goes against the Roadmap and international law, making it more difficult to continue effective negotiations.

Iraq: interesting scene-setting piece by Varner in Bloomberg today, which quotes Mexican Ambassador Heller, indicating that the December 15 high-level Security Council meeting on Iraq may conclude with the lifting of trade sanctions on Iraq, which have been in place since 1991 in response to Hussain’s invasion of Kuwait.

Human Rights Council: good piece by Ted Piccone of Brookings on the value of UN’s human rights mechanisms, in light of expectations of criticism by Republicans and the upcoming five year review of the HRC; “As governments take stock of the council’s first five years, it is crucial to consider how this body actually promotes and protects human rights for the victims it is designed to defend, instead of focusing solely on the political machinations in Geneva….As a proactive and constructive player in Geneva, the United States has real opportunities to push for additional reforms at the council that will translate into protection of victims on the ground. Rather than walk away to let the spoilers take the reins, the United States should stay engaged by focusing on strengthening and supporting what we know works.”