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Source: Secretary-General
22 February 2007



Vienna, Austria, 22 February 2007 - Press Encounter of the Secretary-General with Austrian Foreign Minister

SPOKESMAN OF THE FOREIGN MINISTER: Thank you Secretary-General. [in German: opens the floor to questions]

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Q: Madame Minister, you have surely spoken with the UN Secretary-General about the peace process in the Middle East. Can you briefly inform us?[inaudible]...?

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SG: ...

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On the peace process in the Middle East, we had a very useful and constructive Quartet Meeting yesterday, among the United Nations, United States, Russia and European Union. We agreed that while we appreciate the role of the King of Saudi Arabia, and also welcome these diplomatic initiatives, particularly at Mecca, it is important at this time that the international community encourage this peace process which will facilitate dialogue and negotiations between the parties concerned.

At the same time, while this national unity government is not yet in place, we will have to closely monitor how the Palestinian people, after establishing this national unity government will fully comply with the principles set out by the Quartet, namely the recognition of the right of Israel and the cessation of violence and adherence to all previous agreements and obligations agreed with the international community. In sum, I think the international community should fully utilize all these ongoing diplomatic initiatives. There was a Mecca deal; this Quartet process has been re-energized, Arab countries are now taken on-board and we need to encourage all this process so that we will be able to see peace and security in the Middle East.

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FOREIGN MINISTER: Just to add one word on the Quartet meeting. I had a word this morning with [German Foreign Minister] Frank Walter Steinmeier to brief a little bit in advance of our meeting and in addition to what the Secretary-General just said, I think it is important that Europe is visible and is active in the Middle East peace process in order to promote a political process and it is therefore important that the German President has so firmly committed to creating a process with Quartet. This is the second meeting of the Quartet already within a few weeks and there is a plan for involving the regional partners in the Middle East more closely. There is the plan for holding quite soon a meeting in the region. And I think this is an important element to develop a joint choreography. The momentum has to come from the Israeli Palestinian situation, but partners in the region and the international community have to act simultaneously to pick up necessary elements for a political process.



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