Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

17 April 2001

Geneva Press Briefing


The Director of the Information Service, Marie Heuzé, briefed the press about the Secretary-General's statement on the deteriorating situation in Middle East; a new report on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); forthcoming meetings in New York related to climate change and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD); and new reports and press conferences.

Middle East

The Director opened the briefing by highlighting the Secretary-General's expression of concern after the recent escalation of military operations across the line of withdrawal between Lebanon and Israel. She said that yesterday the Secretary-General has been in contact by telephone with the leaders in the Governments concerned and would be continuing these contacts today. He remained convinced that political negotiations should be resumed with the least delay to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

The Secretary-General was 'deeply disturbed' by the action by Hezbollah units against Israeli forces last Saturday and the heavy Israeli retaliation against Lebanese targets, and 'especially dismayed' by Israel's response of bombing Syrian positions in Lebanon yesterday. That incident and the actions of Sunday night were fuelling further escalation and were a clear infringement of Security Council resolution 425 and other decisions of that body accepted by both Lebanon and Syria, including resolution 1337, which called upon the governments and parties concerned to respect the Blue Line.

On 11 April, when fighting intensified, the Secretary-General had already reaffirmed his conviction that political negotiations should be resumed forthwith and that security measures alone would not quell further violence. Both statements were available in the press room.


For information media - not an official record