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Source: Secretary-General
22 March 2004



New York, 22 March 2004 -
Secretary-General's press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ (unofficial transcript)

Q: What is your reaction to the assassination of Sheikh Yassin?

SG: I must say, I do condemn the targeted assassination of Sheikh Yassin and the others who died with him. Such actions are not only contrary to international law, but they do not do anything to help the search for a peaceful solution. I appeal to all in the region to remain calm and avoid any further escalation in tensions.

Q: The Quartet is meeting in Cairo later today. What do you hope to achieve? What is the future now? Is the MidEast peace road heavily derailed right now?

SG: Well, this has complicated issues. I spoke to my Envoy this morning, Terje Roed-Larsen, who is in Egypt with the other representatives, and obviously they are assessing the situation and the impact of the latest actions. As I have indicated earlier, it doesn't really facilitate the task of peacemakers.

/...

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, ...

/...

Number two, you have traditionally condemned operations by Palestinians against Israelis, deplored Israeli operations against Palestinians. Today you say you condemn the Israeli action against Sheikh Yassin. Does that represent a shift?

SG: ...

/...

I don't think that there is a shift in my position. As I indicated, I condemn strongly the targeted assassination of Yassin. I don't see the shift that you imply.

Q: In the past you had deplored operations by the Palestinians, by the Israelis against the Palestinians – today you are actually condemning the operation.

SG: I have often condemned attacks. I don't think there is any shift at all. You go back and look at my statements – I have been very clear.


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