Question of Palestine home
1 May 2002
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, May 1, 2002
ANNAN TO ATTEND “QUARTET” MEETING IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
On Thursday afternoon, at the invitation of the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, the four parties that have been meeting as “the Quartet” dealing with
concerns – that is, the United States, United Nations, the European Union and Russian Federation – will convene in Washington. D.C.
The Secretary-General will attend that meeting, which begins at 3:00 p.m. in the U.S. State Department, and which is to be followed by a joint press conference featuring the four principal participants – Annan, Powell, High Representative for European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. Also attending the meeting will be Foreign Minister Josep Pique of Spain, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
Following the press conference, the Secretary-General will return to New York later in the afternoon.
Entering the building this morning, the Secretary-General was asked about his hopes for the Quartet meeting, and he
he hoped that it would provide “a chance to speak frankly and share ideas and decide what happens next.”
Asked about the meeting today between the Secretary-General and his Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Terje Roed Larsen, the Spokesman said it was intended to prepare for the Quartet meeting.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO CONSIDER MIDDLE EAST THIS AFTERNOON
The Security Council is scheduled to return to consultations on the Middle East at 5:00 p.m. today.
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast briefed the Council on Tuesday on the Israeli Government’s decision concerning the fact-finding team for Jenin. Prendergast
reporters afterward that, in the Secretary-General's view, a thorough, credible and balanced report on recent events in Jenin refugee camp would not be possible without the full cooperation of the government of Israel. He added, “Since it appears from today's Cabinet statement by Israel that the difficulties in the way of deployment of the fact-finding team will not be resolved any time soon, the Secretary-General is minded to disband the team.”
The Council expects to consider how to respond to the recent developments in this afternoon’s consultations.
Upon entering the building this morning, the Secretary-General
he had indicated his inclination to the Council and would discuss further with them, and that he would wait to see how the Council discussion goes.
Asked how the Secretary-General was consulting with the Council, the Spokesman said that he has been primarily in touch with some Council members bilaterally. He said that the Secretary-General had received a number of phone calls this morning that helped him to firm up his position.
He responded to a reporter’s comment that the Secretary-General may not wait for formal action by the Council before making a decision by saying that was “a fair assumption.” Eckhard added that the Secretary-General’s comments to reporters on Tuesday indicated that he expected to make a decision today.
Asked to comment on reports that Palestinian estimates of deaths at Jenin had decreased, the Spokesman said, “The purpose of the team wasn’t to establish a body count.” The Secretary-General had felt it would be in everyone’s interest to clarify what happened, and he had received assurances from Israel that it would cooperate with the fact-finding team. The United States then took the lead in sponsoring a
, approved by the Security Council, which welcomed the SG’s initiative.
“The Secretary-General probably regrets that, in the end, we may never know the precise facts, what happened in Jenin,” Eckhard said.