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Source: Secretary-General
26 April 2004

New York, 26 April 2004 - Secretary-General's press encounter with CNN

Q: Your comment on Mr. [Lakhdar] Brahimi's comments which have been somewhat controversial [on] Israel, calling it the “great poison of the region”.

SG: I think what Mr. Brahimi, whom I've spoken to, was trying to convey was the reactions he has picked up in the region and in the Islamic world, and [he was] really talking about the conflict in the Middle East and its impact on [other] efforts in the region. The way he explained it, he was trying to convey reactions from the region. I think he's here and we'll be talking further about this.

Q: Okay, and also his call for the US to show some restraint, saying that if they go into Fallujah, if they go into Najaf, [they would] create further hostilities, make more enemies. Do you agree with this?

SG: I think basically the US itself has been very careful about how it handles the situation in Fallujah. Anytime one is forced to fight in built-up areas, it is a very tricky and a very dangerous situation because you want to protect civilians, at the same time you want to get to those who have guns and are shooting at you. And so it is a situation where one has to be extremely careful. And I have noted that the military – the CPA and the military on the ground -- have been extremely careful. And I hope they will succeed in working out a political settlement. I know they have succeeded with the ceasefire, but I hope they will find a way out without having to fight their way into Fallujah.

Q: Mr. Brahimi, with his comments and through his work, would seem to have to build up support among the Arabs that he deals with. This is going to be a very delicate mine that he has to tread. What are your thoughts?

SG: He's operating in a very difficult region.


Thank you.

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