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Department of Public Information (DPI)
14 September 2009
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
PRESS CONFERENCE BY UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS
Lynn B. Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, outlined, at a Headquarters press conference this afternoon, a wide range of political issues confronting his Department on the eve of the opening of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly tomorrow.
“The broad front” of issues that would be at the centre of attention during the next few weeks in New York included the situation in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, the Middle East, Lebanon, Cyprus, Somalia and Madagascar. In particular, he announced his forthcoming visit to Sri Lanka this week, where concerns remained about the pace of progress since the Secretary-General’s recent visit to the country, including on the issues of internally displaced persons, the political process and a possible accountability mechanism.
Turning to the Middle East peace process, Mr. Pascoe mentioned the possibility of a Quartet meeting next week, adding that Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Robert H. Serry, was working with all the parties concerned on a broad range of issues, with particular emphasis on access to Gaza.
“We all understand the huge number of problems and difficulties, and we are all trying to do something,” he said in response to a question on that issue, adding that the key element was how to make life better for the people of Gaza.
Asked about Israel’s attempts to link the release of Gilad Shalit to the granting of access, he said that he was not prepared to say anything on what was happening or not happening with regard to the release. The United Nations had certainly tried to do everything it could, and the Secretary-General had repeatedly made it clear that the Israeli soldier should be released.
The situation in Lebanon remained complex, he continued. There had been a general stabilization, and there were days when one could feel optimistic. However, the difficulties in forming a government remained. That was a matter for the Lebanese parties to resolve, but the United Nations was encouraging them to conclude the political process as soon as possible.
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