Question of Palestine home
4 February 2004
REMARKS MADE BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL UPON ENTERING UNHQ, 4 February 2004
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, two quick questions following up on your talks in Washington. I know one of the thing that you were interested in discussing was the possibility of UN peacekeeping missions in both Ivory Coast and Burundi. Did you get any positive feedback from the Bush administration? And secondly, while you were away, the Israeli Ambassador attacked you personally and I wondered whether you had any comment on that and on the Middle East, where we’re going.
SG: I think that on your first question, I did discuss the peacekeeping operations with the (US) Administration and also on the (Capitol) Hill, and I think they were forthcoming. I sense that we will get support. There are some problems, technical issues that may have to be worked out, but they are supportive.
On the comments of the Israeli Ambassador, I really don’t want to draw in, I think the whole thing is about the case of The Wall, which is before the ICJ. The defense should be made in The Hague, in the Court, not here in this building.
On the Middle East, I think we’ve been stuck for a while. We discussed it also in Washington. We would want as the Quartet to be able to do something to move the process forward. I was quite intrigued by Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon’s decision to pull out of Gaza. I think it’s a positive development, and I hope the Quartet can work with him in implementing that decision. I see it as a first essential step. Withdrawal from Gaza that has been announced by the Prime Minister, if it does take place, can really give us a very important moment – a new dynamic that can propel the process forward. But of course that should be seen as a first step because there’s also the West Bank, which one will have to deal with. Withdrawal from the West Bank would also be required if you’re going to establish two states, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and really fulfill the spirit of “land for peace”. Thank you very much.