SG deplores Abyei deadlock, travels to Istanbul for LDC-IV opening Monday, OHCHR investigates human rights violations in Cote d’Ivoire and more from UN Direct

Sudan: Today the SG issued a statement expressing his concern by the tension in the Abyei region, deploring the deadlock which has led the the of life and calling on the NCP and SPLM to refrain from provoking each other and engaging in military confrontation. He added that the resumption and conclusion of the negotiations on Abyei must be a priority.

SG: Today, in addition to meeting with the President and FM of Bulgaria, the SG addressed a major conference in Sofia on the changes underway in the Middle East and North Africa, speaking out against the use of force in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen.  This week he made his third call to President Assad, telling him “I do not interfere with internal politics.  But when it comes to fundamental human rights, when there is a clear violation of those rights, I will speak out”.  He will open LDC-IV in Istanbul on Monday.

Bin Laden: Today the Special Rapporteurs on executions and human rights while countering terrorism issued a joint statement requesting that the U.S. disclose the details surrounding the use of force against bin Laden.

Lebanon: Today, the Security Council discussed the SG’s report on SCR. 1559 on Lebanon. The SG noted that political tension in Lebanon has increased in recent months, fuelled, among other things, by speculation and public pronouncements concerning the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The SG added that the positions for and against the Tribunal are becoming growingly entrenched and are polarizing the country. He reiterated his belief that through a Lebanese-led political process, the disarmament of armed groups such as Hezbollah can be achieved.

Côte d’Ivoire: OHCHR reported that members of the International Commission of Inquiry are in Abidjan now to meet with stakeholders, while OHCHR staff investigates reports of human rights violations in Yopougon. UNOCI’s Human Rights Special Investigation Team plans to visit an alleged mass grave today. Meanwhile, OCHA continues to urge for the need for continued humanitarian assistance in the country, noting that the appeal is just 22% funded. Fortunately, the U.S. just announced an additional pledge of $8.5 million to assist the more than 170,000 refugees and IDPs.

Senior UN Staff Travel: DSG Asha-Rose Migiro will leave NY on May 9th to head to Geneva to chair the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. Afterwards, she will head to Istanbul for the 4th UN Conference on LDCs. Migiro will be back in NY on Friday, May 14th.

Palestinian Unity: In response to a question on whether the SG supports reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, Haq noted that the SG just finished talking on the phone with Benjamin Netanyahu, the PM of Israel, about welcoming Palestinian unity within the context of the previous commitments (i.e. Arab Peace Initiative).