SG to travel to Tunisia & Egypt, Council considers Libya NFZ at 6pm and more from UN Direct

SG Travel: This morning, the SG inaugurated a monument in memory of the Guatemalans who lost their lives while serving in UN peacekeeping missions. Yesterday, at a meeting with heads of state of Central America, he explained that leaders of the Arab world must heed the calls of the people, and called the excessive use of force a “crime against humanity”.  He also announced that he will travel to Tunis and Cairo today, where he will speak to government officials and civil society and offer the UN’s assistance.

Japan: The SG is deeply concerned by what’s going on at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The SG spoke yesterday with Yukiya Amano, the DG of the IAEA, and the SG received a detailed briefing of the situation at the nuclear plant. The DG plans to make a trip to Japan soon. The SG expressed appreciation for the IAEA’s assistance to help Japanese authorities with their efforts.

Afghanistan: This morning, Staffan de Mistura, the SRSG for Afghanistan, briefed the Security Council on Afghanistan on the work of UNAMA. He explained that the government is increasingly and legitimately demanding to lead all aspects of governance, development, and efforts to achieve peace. De Mistura welcomed efforts to have a transition on the security side and added that a transition is only sustainable if it’s linked to a political and development process, including peace and reintegration, and a substantive regional process. Also, he said that we have heard the message from the Afghan authorities loud and clear. This is a year of sovereignty and we can’t operate just as if it is business as usual. UNAMA plans to support Afghan counterparts in this respect.

Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia: Today, Mr. Ndolamb Ngokwey, DSG of the SG and Humanitarian Coordinator for UNOCI; and Mr. Moustapha Soumare, Humanitarian Coordinator for Liberia, briefed the press on the situation in the two countries, with a particular focus on the humanitarian aspects. As the situation in Côte d’Ivoire continues to grow worse, there are more challenges to access of the vulnerable population. Social infrastructure, which was intended to respond to the humanitarian crisis, has been very week. Thus, Ngokwey called for more international aid and the need to scale up efforts in order to be able to deal with the crisis. In regards to Liberia, with the upcoming elections which is organized by the Liberian Government itself, the country is simultaneously dealing with the influx of refugees who have fled from the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. Roughly, 90,000 refugees have crossed the borders and are being hosted by communities there. It is worth noting that Soumare said that “the war is also coming closer to Liberia. If it continues, the IDPs will come to Liberia.” Evidently, this illustrates the gravity of the humanitarian and security impacts. For example, communities are strained and affected by the infrastructure such as road conditions. The UN launched a flash appeal for $55 million in order to address the needs of 50,000 Ivoirian refugees in Liberia but in just three days last week, roughly 30,000 new refugees crossed the borders into Liberia and thus, it’s important to take the new planning figures into account.