SG announces travel to ME, Europe, Africa, Duvalier returns to Haiti, OCHA’s Bragg on 3 day mission to Sri Lanka, and more from UN Direct

Côte d’Ivoire: Yesterday, Gbagbo supporters fired on UNOCI at the entrance of the Pullman Hotel in Abidjan, which forced the peacekeepers to respond by shooting in the air. RTI continued its false propaganda against UNOCI surrounding the event.   Aid agencies in West Africa have launched a nearly $33 million emergency plan to preposition needs to an estimated two million Ivorians, including 100,000 refugees and 450,000 IDPs, who could be affected by the political crisis.  This appeal would allow UN agencies and NGOs to secure funds aid the country and its neighbors: Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.  Today, SRSG Young-Jin briefed the press on the current situation in Côte d’Ivoire, explaining that ECOWAS and AU efforts are ongoing.  With tens of thousands displaced (latest refugee figures are over 28,000 and IDPs roughly 17,000) and over 200 deaths, he said that while an “ethnic conflict” is apparent, there is not sign of ethnic cleansing yet.  Gbagbo has expressed his desire to establish a power-sharing agreement, which the SRSG said is “out of the question” – mostly due to the precedent it would set for the 18 elections due to take place in Africa this year alone.  While ECOWAS is still deliberating the possibility of military action, Young-Jin noted that if Gbagbo fails to pay his 60,000 security forces and 140,000 civil servants, the crisis could end. A decision has not yet been taken by the Council to augment UNOCI by 2,000 troops, but is anticipated soon.

Haiti: The SG’s spokesperson said that MINUSTAH was surprised by Duvalier’s return, adding that it is a “source of concern to see him resurfacing in the landscape, especially now, at a critical time for the stability of the country”.  MINUSTAH had no involvement in the developments throughout the day regarding Duvalier and Haitian authorities.

Lebanon: Yesterday, upon the Prosecutor’s filing of an indictment, the SG reaffirmed his support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), an independent judicial process mandated by the Security Council at the request of the Lebanese government to determine who was responsible for the 2005 bombing which killed Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri and 22 others in Beirut.  He called on all parties to refrain from any interference or influence in the tribunal’s work. Secretary Clinton also issued a statement expressing her support for the STL, stating that it would be “impossible to achieve the peace and stability that the people of Lebanon deserve” without an end to impunity.

SG: Yesterday, the SG made opening remarks at the Fourth World Future Energy Summit, explaining that a global clean energy revolution that would make energy available and affordable to all is needed.  He also spoke to the Young Future Energy Leaders on energy solutions and their large role in combating climate change.  He is expected in Oman tomorrow.  Next week, he will travel to Switzerland and Ethiopia. In Geneva, he will make remarks at the 2011 Consolidated Appeal Resource Mobilization Conference, the Conference on Disarmament, and the HRC.  He will also speak at the first meeting of the Accountability Commission for Women’s and Children’s health, to be co-chaired by PM Stephen Harper of Canada and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.  While in Switzerland, he will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, and speak at sessions on Combating Chronic Disease, Human Security, and A New Vision for Agriculture and Sustainable Development.  The SG will also travel to Addis Ababa to attend the AU Summit at the end of the month.

Sudan: Over the weekend, the SG welcomed the end of polling for the Southern Sudan Referendum and urged the people of Sudan to be patient until the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) announces the final results.  Preliminary results are expected as soon as February 2.  This morning, Haile Menkerios, the SRSG for Sudan, told the Security Council that the conclusion of the Referendum is a historic milestone in the implementation of the CPA, and the UN must continue supporting the North and the South through the rest of the peace process as both parties need to establish new constitutional arrangements. Menkerios also discussed tensions in Abyei, saying that the continued absence of a settlement leaves open the possibility of further clashes.  Speaking to the press after the Council session, Ambassador Rice called the voting a “real milestone” in Sudan’s history, appealing for calm as results are tallied.

Sri Lanka: Catherine Bragg will arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow for a 3 day trip to highlight humanitarian needs caused by conflict and recent flooding.  The UN is expected to launch a flash appeal for the country January 20th.