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Source: Secretary-General
Department of Public Information (DPI)
24 January 2011



Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

 
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Acting Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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**Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thanks, Farhan.  I have a question on the recent documents published by Al Jazeera entitled “The Palestine Papers”, in which negotiations show that the [Palestinian Authority] was willing to concede almost all of East Jerusalem, to which Israel offered virtually nothing in return.  I’m just wondering, in light of these negotiations, whether the Secretary-General will be planning on taking a more firm stance with Israel and its aggressive policy of settlement building.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, the Secretary-General’s views on settlement building are well known.  Regarding the documents disclosed by Al Jazeera, the one thing I want to point out is that in the aftermath of the publication of certain documents in the media, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said that some of the commentary he has seen conveys an inaccurate impression.  Mr. Serry said he could personally attest to the commitment of the Palestinian leadership to secure the legitimate rights and interests of the Palestinian people, based on international law and UN resolutions.  At this crucial time, he urged both parties to show their readiness for a negotiated peace based on a two-State solution, and to deliver on the ground.  It is to the genuine credit of the Palestinian leadership that they are doing so, and this is widely acknowledged in the United Nations, he said.  Yes?

Question:  Does Mr. Ban have any comment about the flotilla report of Israel?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  In terms of that, the only real comment that we have had to make is that I can confirm that the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry received a copy of the Turkel Committee’s report on Sunday.  As you know, to help complete their important mandate, it is essential for the Panel to review material provided by both sides, Israel and Turkey.

Question:  What is the next step of this process?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  Well, the next step is really in the hands of the Panel that is headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer.  They now have both reports and they now can prepare their own response, after they review the material that they received from the two sides.  Yes?

Question:  When Turkey submitted its report in September last year, they didn’t disclose it.  But Israel made public the report yesterday.  Isn’t there any rule about this disclosing the material and the reports?  And also the second question is, Turkey has made public the report today and what we see from these two reports is that they are contradictory to each other.  What they say is just opposite of each other.  So in such a circumstance, what can the UN Panel of Inquiry do?  Because there are opposing views.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  Well, we leave it to the Panel of Inquiry to decide how they will deal with the contents of these reports.  Remember, it was envisioned when the Panel was set up that it would look at reports from both Israel and Turkey, and then take into account any other information as needed.  And so this is what the Panel is doing.  Now, it has received both reports and it will evaluate them.  And it’s up for them also to evaluate whether there was any problem having to do with the public disclosure of any of the contents.

Question:  So there are not any rules about it?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  Like I said, I’ll leave it over to the Panel themselves to make a determination about whether the matters have been handled appropriately or not.

Question:  I still don’t understand what the next and after the next step of this process.  The SG is going to put his own view, I guess, of the Palmer people… Will they go to the Security Council or something or what?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson:  It will be up to the Secretary-General to determine what the next step is once he receives the report from the Palmer Panel.  Hopefully now that the inputs have been received, they can set about to completing their work.  Yes?

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For information media • not an official record

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