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Briefing by Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
14 Sep 2015 -  This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the award ceremony for the UN Energy Grant. Stressing that energy is a key priority for the UN, the Secretary-General explained how energy underpins our common efforts to achieve development objectives - from reducing extreme poverty to enhancing food security, to powering essential health services and providing electricity for education. Today, one person in five still lacks access to electricity and more than a third of the world’s population relies on wood, charcoal, animal and crop waste for cooking and heating. This afternoon, the Secretary-General will be speaking at the Closing Plenary Meeting of the 69th Session of the General Assembly. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said on Sunday that he was particularly concerned by the provocations and violence in and around the Holy Sites of the Old City of Jerusalem. He urged all to do their part in ensuring that visitors and worshippers demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area. Mr. Mladenov encouraged all to stand firmly against incitement and violence, especially during the sensitive period of the Jewish High Holy Days and ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Adha. He takes note of the statement by the Prime Minister of Israel that the status quo at the Holy Sites will be maintained. And in a note issued later, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has consistently reiterated the importance of respect for the religious freedom of all, and for worshippers of all faiths to have access to their holy sites. These events once again underscored the importance of reaching a final status agreement through negotiations on all issues, including arrangements for the holy sites that are acceptable to all. In response to earlier questions, the Spokesman said that in light of the reservations expressed by the Government of Yemen, the Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, planned to return to Riyadh in order to have further consultations with the Government of Yemen, other Yemeni stakeholders and states in the region and address outstanding concerns. It is his position and that of the Secretary-General that there is no military solution to the conflict. All sides to the conflict must engage urgently and in good faith in the search for political solutions at the negotiating table with a view to bringing an end to the fighting in Yemen. Every day that we let pass without a political solution leads to more death, suffering and destruction, at a time when more than 21 million Yemenis are in humanitarian need. The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) reported over the weekend that Libyan parties attending the UN-facilitated talks on Morocco have reached what it consider a consensus on the main elements. Speaking to the press on Sunday in the Moroccan city of Skhirat, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Bernardino León, said that the Libyan House of Representatives and the General National Congress (GNC) are expected to vote on the negotiated text of the agreement. He hopes that the rest of participants will endorse the text in the coming days. Ján Kubiš, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, met Sunday with the country’s electoral commissioners and expressed the United Nations’ continuing commitment and support in promoting the professionalism, independence and impartiality of Iraq’s electoral institutions. He also condemned acts of violence targeting electoral staff and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of several dozens of electoral personnel who lost their lives in attacks perpetrated by Da’esh elements. The World Food Programme (WFP) has reported that five of its trucks have been lost following an attack on its convoy last Friday, in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province. The convoy had delivered food to the most vulnerable people in Yawan district when it was stopped by unknown armed men on its return trip. None of the drivers were harmed during the incident. WFP regrets that its food distribution in the province has been put on hold until further notice. An investigation into the incident is ongoing and WFP is closely monitoring the situation with all relevant parties. Ahead of today's European Council of Ministers of the Interior, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that the recent successive announcements of different border control measures by a number of European countries only underline the urgency of establishing a comprehensive European response. UNHRC stresses that this response must be based on the creation of effective reception centres, properly assist, register and screen people upon arrival in Greece, Italy and Hungary. It must be accompanied by the rapid implementation of a relocation programme as proposed by the European Commission. UNHCR says it is concerned that the combination of different, individual measures might create a situation where large numbers of ref