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Ethiopia, Eswatini, Afghanistan & other topics…

Ethiopia, Eswatini, Afghanistan & other topics - Daily Press Briefing
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Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
From Ethiopia, we have received alarming reports of aerial attacks this morning, and those took place apparently in the residential areas of Tigray’s capital Mekelle. We are still trying to verify the details of the air strikes, but we are deeply concerned about the potential impact on civilians who reside or work in the affected areas. The Secretary-General is following with concern the ongoing developments in Eswatini, including the recent deployment of armed security forces at various schools, reports of excessive use of force in response to student demonstrations, and the indefinite closure of schools. This adversely affects children and young people. Turning to Afghanistan: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today announced the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccinations across the country for the first time in three years. On Haiti, our colleagues on the ground are telling us that the recent upsurge in gang violence, including kidnappings, is impacting relief operations. The Secretary-General is saddened by the passing of Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State. The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo tomorrow until Sunday, the 24 October. The visit will be an opportunity to assess recent developments related to the political and security situation, as well as key challenges associated with the implementation of the UN Mission’s mandate. The Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, has arrived in Libya for the start of a five-day visit that will see her discuss UN support to the political process and other issues, including the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries and the forthcoming elections. Turning to the Central African Republic, you will have seen over the weekend that the Secretary-General welcomed the unilateral declaration of a ceasefire announced by President Faustin Archange Touadéra. Here in the Security Council, the Central African Republic was also on the agenda. You will have seen that the Sixth Session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee Small Body began its work today in Geneva. A quick COVAX update from Colombia: They received 2.6 million doses through COVAX today. This brings the total number of doses they have received through COVAX to more than 10.8 million, helping authorities continue the rollout of the vaccination campaign. Lastly, I want to thank Belarus for its full payment to the regular budget. We are now up to 131 nations which have paid their dues in full.