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Source: Secretary-General
Department of Public Information (DPI)
19 May 2011

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon, and welcome to the briefing.

**Security Council

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, briefed the Security Council today on the situation in the region, including on the reconciliation agreement concluded by the Palestinians, and the serious clashes on Sunday between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Syria, Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Both developments, Mr. Serry said, remind us that popular protests and political change continue to sweep the Arab world and shake the unsustainable status quo found in many parts of the Middle East. The Arab-Israeli conflict will not be immune to these dramatic developments.

He warned that deep differences remain over the stalemate in the peace process. There is a genuine lack of trust, and no credible initiative has yet been taken that could overcome the impasse. He noted that, in the absence of negotiations, and amid continued Israeli settlement expansion, the Palestinians are preparing to approach the United Nations in September to seek recognition of a Palestinian State. We have his remarks in my office.


**Questions and Answers


Question: Martin, with regard to the impasse in the Middle East peace process, is the Secretary-General… does he intend to call for another meeting for the Quartet, especially that there hasn’t been a meeting for a long time, and shouldn’t there be any movement in order to expedite any settlement?

Spokesperson: Well, this is precisely what Mr. Serry, who reports to the Secretary-General, said in the Council today. He said that we will continue to seek enhanced and substantive Quartet engagement to shape the process between now and September, and beyond. We must show purpose, rather than paralysis, as we approach a critical period in the search for peace in the Middle East.

Question: However, he did not pinpoint who is the obstacle in these meetings. Why are these meetings…? I believe that the Secretary-General is keen to get a meeting done?

Spokesperson: These meetings take place when the four members of the Quartet deem it appropriate to meet at Principal level. The envoys, including Mr. Serry, are meeting more regularly in the background. And of course, that is an important part of the process. Yes, as the Special Envoy has said, Mr. Serry has said, there is a need for enhanced and substantive Quartet engagement. And that is, I am sure, what they will be working for.


Question: On Nizar’s question about the Quartet, I just want, it’s like a follow-up also, in view of what President [Mahmoud] Abbas has been saying, asking the international community to recognize Palestinian statehood. Has anybody in Quartet discussed that at all? Or is it just the Quartet minds have not met together and they have decided that this is important enough to consider it?

Spokesperson: I would need to check whether the envoys have discussed this in any fashion. Obviously, there are two things which I mentioned before, that a two-State solution is a clear and long-held UN policy. And any question of statehood for any entity is for the Member States to decide. ...


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For information media • not an official record

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