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Department of Public Information (DPI)
7 October 2008
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, 7 OCTOBER 2008
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you very much. I will be happy to answer your questions
: Thank you, Sir. In your remarks here, you made a review of different political crises all over the world, like what is happening in Somalia, Darfur, Afghanistan, Georgia, but I was wondering, still, why you didn’t say any word about the peace process in the Middle East -- I mean, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Does it mean that you are going to put this issue on hold for a year or two?
: There should be no misunderstandings. You cannot talk of all the issues of the world at one time.
The Middle East is also a very important priority issue for the peace and stability of the world. As you know, I have convened a very important Quartet meeting, as well as a Quartet-plus Iftar dinner, inviting 13 Arab leaders on September 26th. We had very good discussions. First of all, we agreed that the Annapolis Middle East peace process should continue, and there should be a dividend achieved out of this Annapolis peace process. It is encouraging that the leaders of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been regularly meeting, and I am quite convinced that this bilateral meeting will continue, even with the change of leadership in Israel. There may be some scepticism [about] whether this Annapolis peace process may be able to be realized as was promised by the U.S. President. But our duty, our role, and our commitment should continue until the very last minute of President George Bush’s mandate. If it cannot be achieved by then, they should be taken over as a priority issue by the incoming Administration of the United States. Many Arab countries were also hopeful about the prospect of this. So, one should not be overly pessimistic, even though we have not seen any very positive, tangible results. You have again my full commitment. There was an agreement that we will have another Quartet meeting in the region with the parties concerned -- that means the Israelis and Palestinian leaders will participate in the Quartet and brief on their progress of the peace talks.
: Are you going to Annapolis II in November?
: If there is going to be any important meeting on the Middle East, I will participate.
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