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Source: Secretary-General
19 November 2007

New York, 19 November 2007 - Secretary-General's press encounter following his visits to Argentina, Chile, Antarctica, Brazil, Tunisia, Lebanon and Spain [unofficial transcript]


Q: Secretary-General. Maybe, apart from [US] Secretary Rice, you are the only international figure to have already confirmed going to Annapolis. What do you expect to happen in Annapolis?

SG: In fact, I had telephone talks with Secretary Rice yesterday and I'm going to participate in [the] Annapolis international conference on the Middle East. I think this international conference in Annapolis will be a good beginning of a credible process to resolve all these issues. At the same time, I'd like to see that the participants in the Annapolis meeting base their expectation on a more practical and realistic assessment. They are now watching to see the Israeli and Palestinian track as a main track to be discussed in depth. At the same time, I hope that this process will be built upon, more comprehensively, as progress continues. This is my sincere hope and my understanding. I know that there are some different levels of expectation according to who participates there, particularly Arab countries. We hope, first of all, while this first meeting will [continue to concentrate] on the Arab/Israeli track, [that] this process should be able to address [the issue] comprehensively [according to] the relevant Security Council resolutions, 242 and 338, and other relevant resolutions, and also have the Arab Peace Initiative as core elements.

Q: Do you have a date?

SG: That is what we need to discuss.

Q: Is there a date already for Annapolis?

SG: That is what the American Government should announce, but I am aware of the dates, but I am not the person who should officially make it public.

Q: My question is related to Annapolis. Any Middle East peace process under the current situation, without the participation of Hamas, would it be really a peace process without the participation of an elected government, which is Hamas?

SG: As I said, this process will be addressed more comprehensively as time goes by, as progress is made. For this particular specific issue - like participation of Hamas, or any specific issues or agenda, that, I hope, we will be able to discuss at a later stage.


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