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4 September 2003
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, September 4, 2003
ANNAN EMPHASIZED IMPORTANCE OF ROAD MAP FOR MIDDLE EAST
In a message to a meeting organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Secretary-General said that the
, if fully and fairly implemented, remains the best way to reach an independent and viable Palestinian state.
, which was delivered by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, the Secretary-General went on to say that the renewed cycle of deadly violence must not be allowed to divert us from the Road Map. The whole international community must strengthen its efforts to help both parties stay the course, he added.
The Secretary-General highlighted the importance of the role of Palestinian and Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in building bridges of trust and understanding between ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, laying the ground work for mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and cooperation.
Asked whether the Secretary-General had been in contact with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, who had recently said the Road Map was “dead,” the Spokesman said he had not.
UN MISSION IN LEBANON REPORTS OVER-FLIGHTS, FIRING ACROSS BLUE LINE
On Wednesday afternoon, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported that Israeli jets crossed the Blue Line into south Lebanon, generating sonic booms. Hizbollah responded to the air incursions with anti-aircraft rounds fired across the line, igniting an agricultural field.
Some hours later there was additional anti-aircraft fire that did not cross the Blue Line, shortly after which two Israeli jets flew deep into UNIFIL's area of operation and dropped several bombs on a Hizbollah position adjacent to the village of Al Bayyadah, near a UN position. These bombs set fire to the position and damaged a number of buildings in the vicinity. There were no casualties reported on either side.
The UNIFIL Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Lalit Mohan Tewari, expressed his deep concern about the air raid. Today, the area is reported as quiet.
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