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Daily Press Briefing (20 December 2011)
20 Dec 2011 -  Briefing by Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Spokesperson for the President of General Assembly

Oscar Fernandez Taranco, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said in a briefing to the Security Council this morning that the realization of a two-State solution for Israelis and Palestinians has not advanced, with violent incidents erupting at a worrying rate. Efforts to get the parties to resume direct talks continue, including recent meetings by the Quartet envoys and Tony Blair with the parties. Mr. Fernandez Taranco said that it is encouraging that, at their last meetings with the envoys, both the Israelis and the Palestinians, showed willingness to consider reciprocal actions that may help to reduce tensions.
Mr. Fernandez Taranco noted recent arson attacks and acts of desecration against mosques, among other actions from Israeli extremists. He welcomed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s strong condemnation of these acts and intent to prevent further such incidents.
He also discussed concerns about the situation in Syria. He said the signing in Cairo yesterday of a protocol to dispatch League of Arab States monitors to Syria was encouraging.
Earlier, the Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi until 15 February 2013.

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, launched a massive airlift operation from Kenya to South Sudan today to bring aid to around 50,000 Sudanese refugees.
The first of 18 scheduled arrived this morning carrying 12 tons of supplies, including plastic sheets and rolls, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, buckets, jerry cans and kitchen sets.
The items will be distributed to refugees in Upper Nile state and Unity state which have been hosting refugees fleeing the fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states.
According to the Refugee Agency (UNHCR), at least 40,000 refugees have arrived in Upper Nile state since September. And 22,000 refugees from the Nuba mountains of Southern Kordofan have fled to Unity state since August.

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Libya visited Tripoli in Libya from 31 November to 16 December 2011 as part of its continuing investigations into serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict in the country.
During their visit, Commissioners met with the Chairman of the National Transitional Council and other senior officials in the Libyan Government. They also met with representatives of non-governmental organizations and interviewed detainees at a detention center.
The Commission will return to Libya in January 2012.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced today that the Government of the Philippines has accepted the offer of assistance from the international humanitarian community to respond to Tropical Storm Washi.
The humanitarian action plan for Mindanao launched recently will be revised to include a response for this emergency.
According to Government figures, nearly 1,000 people have died and some 340,000 have been affected.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is delivering water and sanitation supplies and is calling for $4.2 million to help families affected by the storm for the next three to six months.
The World Food Programme (WFP) says that it has been requested by the Government to provide food and other support to the people hardest-hit by the storm. It is distributing three tons of high-energy biscuits for nearly 8,000 people and is also providing logistical support.
For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) is working to put a disease surveillance system into place for communicable and non-communicable diseases.
The Secretary-General spoke by the telephone this morning with Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario and they discussed the impact of Tropical Storm Washi.
As you’ll recall, yesterday, the Secretary-General made clear his concern over the impact of the tropical storm and expressed this condolences to those affected.
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