SG co-chairs Libya conference in Cairo, expresses concern with “deteriorating humantiarian situation”, Abidjan becoming calmer as UNOCI patrolls streets and more from UN Direct

SG: Today in Cairo, the SG co-chaired a conference of international and regional organization on developments surrounding Libya. In his remarks to officials from the League of Arab States, the AU, the EU, and the OIC, the SG explained that swift and decisive international action saved thousands of lives, but the international community is concerned with the deteriorating humanitarian situation. In particular, the fighting has gotten more intense in Misrata, Brega and Zinta, and access to basic services and commodities like food, water, and healthcare has been largely cut off. The UN just completed an inter-agency humanitarian needs assessment in the east of Libya, with similar work planned for the west. The SG noted that Valerie Amos, USG for Humanitarian Affairs and ERC, is actively considering a visit to Tripoli in light of the humanitarian situation. Also, the SG briefed the press on the results of the conference, noting that important initiatives such as the AU roadmap and the Turkish ideas for an early resolution to the crisis were discussed. Abdul Ilah Khatib, Special Envoy for Libya, plans to return to the country soon to continue his engagement with both parties.

Côte d’Ivoire: UNOCI reported that Abidjan is becoming calmer, as water, electricity, and other basic services have been restored in some parts of the city. Businesses are currently reopening and ports as well as banks are expected to open early next week.  UNOCI is actively patrolling Abidjan in order to establish a confidence building presence. On the humanitarian front, OCHA made a $160 million appeal to scale up aid over the next nine months in the country. In order to aid over 130,000 people, the largest Ivorian refugee population in Liberia, a $146.5 million appeal was made.

Somalia: Augustine Mahiga, SRSG for Somalia, said that participants at yesterday’s HL meeting on Somalia agreed on the need to end the country’s political transition period in August 2011 as planned. Also discussed at the meeting was the proposal for the Parliament’s current mandate to be extended for up to two years in order to steer preparations for national elections. Other key decisions from the Nairobi meeting include a renewed commitment to fighting political extremism and piracy, and to accelerate the constitutional review process.

Sexual Violence in Conflict: At the Security Council the morning, Margot Wallström, the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, discussed the issue in Libya, Côte d’Ivoire, and the DRC. Despite the ongoing international action to protect civilians in Libya, there are reports of sexual violence there. In Côte d’Ivoire, preliminary reports suggest that sexual assaults may have been politically targeted, which has happened before in Kenya and Guinea-Conakry. Wallström noted the almost daily reports of sexual violence in the DRC. At this point, she is working to strengthen the prevention of sexual violence in these countries.

Nuclear Safety: The SG has said that events in Japan have underscored the importance of nuclear safety ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident when the SG will be in Ukraine.