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The Secretary-General was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia, a pivotal figure in the history of Tunisia and the country’s independence. In recent years, he was instrumental in successfully steering the country through its historic and peaceful transition to democracy.

President Essebsi will be remembered for his bold determination to uphold democratic rule in Tunisia and to respect and promote the rights of its citizens, including his strong advocacy for women’s rights and equality. President Essebsi was a Tunisian pioneer, an Arab and African trailblazer, and a global leader.

The Secretary-General conveys the deepest condolences of the United Nations to the family of President Essebsi and to the people and Government of Tunisia

The Secretary-General strongly condemned the deadly terrorist attacks that took place in Mogadishu yesterday directed against the offices of the Benadir Regional Administration and in the surroundings of Villa Somalia.

The Secretary-General extended his deep condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones. He reiterated the full support and solidarity of the United Nations with the people and Federal Government of Somalia.

The United Nations remains committed to supporting the people of Somalia in the pursuit of peace, stability and development.

Meeting with the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

In response to questions about the Secretary-General’s meeting with the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People yesterday, and whether the issue of the demolitions in Sur Bahir was raised, the Deputy spokesman confirmed that the issue was raised by members of the Bureau of the Committee. The Secretary-General reconfirmed his strong support for the recent statements made by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, as well as by the Humanitarian Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jamie McGoldrick, and other senior UN officials in the region.

These statements expressed sadness at the Israeli authorities’ destruction of homes in the Palestinian community of Sur Bahir and noted that Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law.

Yesterday afternoon, the Council heard an update by Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel.

He welcomed progress in the consolidation of democracy in the region, notably through recent elections in Nigeria, Senegal and Mauritania, but also pointed out that human rights continue to be challenged in several countries.

Mr. Chambas told Council Members that since the beginning of the year, the region has witnessed an even more visible and significant rise in attacks directly related to violent extremism. In the entire Sahel, violence and insecurity have sparked an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that has left 5.1 million people from Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali in need of assistance.

He noted the rapid deterioration of the security situation in Burkina Faso, and also highlighted how attacks by Boko Haram splinter groups in the Lake Chad Basin continue to threaten the peace and stability of the region.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that, two years after the prolonged drought of 2016 and 2017, poor rainfall between March and mid-May of this year across swathes of the Horn of Africa is leading to increased food insecurity.

As of today, nearly 13 million people are severely food insecure in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, with that number expected to climb to 14 million by next month.

Nearly 800,000 children are severely malnourished and nearly 700,000 pregnant and lactating women are acutely malnourished in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Many of the areas affected by drought have also been affected by internal violence and conflict.

More than 25 million people have been affected by flooding due to the torrential monsoon rains in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar, with more than half a million people displaced, our humanitarian colleagues tell us.

At least 600 people have reportedly been killed in monsoon-related incidents.

In Bangladesh, it is estimated that more than 4 million people have been affected, and the UN is helping to assess needs to determine the necessary response and is also supporting the Government in the areas of water and sanitation, as well as health.

In Myanmar, waters in some areas have receded, allowing some of those who had been uprooted to return home, but over 40,000 people remain displaced.

The governments in all four countries are leading the response with support from the UN, aid agencies and the private sector.

Ambassador Mona Juul of Norway was elected today as the 75th President of the UN Economic and Social Council, or ECOSOC.

Ambassador Juul said that she will make the whole ecosystem of ECOSOC as relevant and efficient as possible. She will reach out to the wider UN family to ensure that ECOSOC plays its part in the implementation of UN reform.

Ambassador Juul said she will strive to advance the financing for development agenda through the work of the whole system. Her aim is to also hold an inclusive, fact-based and action-oriented 2020 High Level Political Forum.

The Secretary-General has appointed Fayaz King of Zimbabwe as Assistant Secretary-General to serve as the Deputy Executive Director, Field Results and Innovation, for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). He will succeed Shanelle Hall of the United States, to whom the Secretary-General and UNICEF are grateful for her dedicated service.

Mr. King recently served as the Chief Operating Officer at Econet Wireless, where he was influential in digitally transforming the telecommunications company. He served on the Boards of Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe, Econet Burundi and Econet Lesotho, bringing to the position over 30 years of experience in innovation, business development, organizational and digital transformation.

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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General