|On-the-Record Briefing on the Upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)|
Kristen Silverberg, Assistant Secretary for International Organizations Affairs
September 15, 2006
(12:55 p.m. EDT)
MR. CASEY: Good afternoon, everybody. Glad to be here with you. As you all know, Secretary Rice will be headed on up to New York this weekend to participate in activities at the United Nations General Assembly to talk to you a little bit, both about some of the major themes and activities at the Assembly and also cover some of the multilateral events that the Secretary will be participating in while she's up there. We've got Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Kristen Silverberg here. Let me turn the podium over to you, Kristen.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SILVERBERG: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. Glad to talk to you today about next week's events at the opening of the 61st General Assembly. As you know, the annual opening of the General Assembly is an exciting time for us here at the Department because along with President Bush, Secretary Rice, and really most of the senior officials at the Department convene in New York to have meetings with our key counterparts and we cover really the range of foreign policy issues.
On Wednesday, September 20th at 12:30, the Secretary will attend a meeting of the Quartet to discuss the Middle East peace process. At 2:30 she will meet with foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council to discuss a range of regional, economic and security issues. At 4 p.m., she'll meet with a Kosovo Contact Group for a discussion of Special Envoy Ahtisaari's efforts to reach a status agreement this year.
QUESTION: The Middle East is going to occupy the main focus of your efforts at the United Nations. I wonder if it will cover dealing with the plight of the people under occupation, Israeli occupation in Golan -- the Golan city and Golan Heights and in the Palestinian territories. And if you are going to do that at least on a humanitarian base or level, would the plight and suffering of the Palestinians -- you are carrying your kids, written on their bodies, "I am hungry every day," because of the embargo of transferring money to these people --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SILVERBERG: I think -- thank you. I think that the -- there's no question that the Middle East peace process will be a topic of discussion. As I said, the Secretary will be meeting with the Quartet. And so that'll be an issue that's discussed in that context. It'll also come up in a number of her bilateral meetings and of course, the humanitarian situation is a big part of those discussions.
The Quartet has laid out a series of principles that a government and a partner for peace needs to sign onto. Those -- all of the Quartet members remain committed to those principles. And so I think you'll see those principles reaffirmed and also, the Secretary will talk with other Quartet members about status in the peace process.
QUESTION: Should we expect a (inaudible) on the peace process efforts of --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SILVERBERG: I'm sorry, what's that?
QUESTION: Should we anticipate that after all these meetings at the United Nations, that there will be a new invigoration of efforts, American efforts, to push the peace process forward for the Middle East?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SILVERBERG: I hope the meetings will move the ball. I mean, that's the reason the Secretary has them. And so yes, I think that is our hope that we see progress.