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Source: Secretary-General
19 August 2013



OFF-THE-CUFF

Secretary-General's press encounter at UN Headquarters


New York, 19 August 2013


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I then travelled to Jordan, Palestine and Israel to underscore the United Nations’ commitment to a just and lasting peace. There is at last a fresh opportunity for real progress towards a peace agreement. Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders must seize this historic opportunity.

There is no time to lose. Achieving an agreement will require vision, statesmanship and courage.  It will take sacrifices, understanding and leadership from both sides. The negotiators and leaders will have to make tougher decisions and even more difficult choices. This is not a zero-sum game. It is possible, and indeed necessary, to arrive at a solution that clearly benefits both Israelis and Palestinians – and we will continue to support all efforts to meet that goal.

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Thank you, and I will now answer a few questions.

Thank you very much.

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Q: On Friday, you said to students that, at the United Nations, Israelis suffered from bias and discrimination sometimes. What do you, as Secretary-General, intend to do about it and can you elaborate - what did you mean by that?

SG: During my visit to Palestine and Israel, I had quite moving experiences of meeting young students. In Ramallah, I had a videoconference with students joining from Gaza and there were many students from the West Bank. And in Jerusalem I had quite a number of young students who came to Government House. Discussing and exchanging views with the young people was quite inspiring and moving and I was able to learn what their aspirations and what their challenges and their frustrations were.  Later, I found that, in one case, what had happened was that incitement against Israelis and Jews by a certain group of people at the summer camp. This was raised and reported. And this investigation is going on. But the United Nations doesn’t have any role in that. It was simply a summer camp conducted in UNRWA [UN Relief and Works Agency] facilities. The investigation is going on.

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