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Source: Secretary-General
26 April 2004



Press Briefing


DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL


Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Fred Eckhard, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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Question:   Fred, three questions on Iraq:  The first one I realize you dealt with on Friday.     But Mr. Brahimi went on American television on the weekend on a show that I understand was taped on Friday. And he (Inaudible) his criticism of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories.  How does Mr. Brahimi or the SG explain the fact that he is being so openly critical of the Israeli Government at this particular point in time?

Spokesman:  How does he explain?

Question:   Yes.

Spokesman:  He was asked a question and he answered it. 

Question:   But why is he being so openly critical of the Israeli Government at this particular stage of his mission in Iraq?

Spokesman:  He was criticizing Israeli policies and saying what he felt the impact of those policies were on the region and in particular on Iraq, which is of course, his responsibility here at the United Nations now.  The Secretary-General commented briefly on this this morning and you will see the transcript of that once it’s ready.  And of course, you’re welcome to ask Mr. Brahimi when you see him tomorrow about what he said.

Question:   May I ask a follow up?  The Bush Administration before and during the war in Iraq, said several times that a solution to the problem between the Israelis and the Palestinians goes through Baghdad.  In light of the statement made by Mr. Brahimi, does the Secretary-General agree with that assessment?

Spokesman:  I don’t think you want to start linking the Secretary-General with policy statements by individual Member States.  The Secretary-General’s views on the Middle East as we said on Friday, are laid out in public statements he has made over seven years and are well known.

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Question:   This is in regards to the question asked earlier.  It is in reference to Mr. Brahimi’s comments on the Middle East.  Does the UN think this helps him or hurt him in the region?

Spokesman:  I have no comment on that.  Yes, sir?

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