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Source: Secretary-General
3 January 2006

Spokesman's Noon Briefing

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


Following is a near verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon, and welcome back and Happy New Year.


**Questions and Answers


Question:  Happy New Year, Steph.  Does the SG have anything to say about the demand, the call, by the Mehlis investigation to interview Assad and Al Shara?

Spokesman:  The Secretary-General would urge Syria and anyone else who’s asked to cooperate by Mr. Mehlis to do just that.  And I’m not aware of any contacts between the Secretary-General and any Syrian authorities over the last couple of days.

Question:  Just a follow-up.  Could you maybe explain how Mehlis will be leaving, and who’s running the Commission now, and who’s operating it?

Spokesman:  Mr. Mehlis continues to be in charge of running the investigation and the Commission until a successor is in place.  And we do expect an official announcement on that in the middle of next week.

Question:  Abbas said he was going to postpone elections if Israel refuses to allow the Palestinians in East Jerusalem to take part.  And, I know the EU is working with elections, but there’s also some UN coordinators there.  Does the UN have any comment on this?

Spokesman:  In terms of the voting, I would refer you back to the Quartet’s statement of last week, in which, obviously, the Secretary-General was a party to, in which they said that both parties should work to put in place a mechanism to allow Palestinians resident in Jerusalem to exercise their legitimate democratic right to vote.

As for UN participation, UN support, we do have a small electoral assistance team working with the Palestinian Authority, offering them technical advice, and also working on the coordination of international observers, as we have done in the past.

Question:  Does the UN have any comment on the reports that Sharon intends, if he is re-elected, to abandon the Road Map?

Spokesman:  No.

Question:  Just to follow up on the Quartet statement, if I remember it correctly, it also said that factions who want to participate in the political process should also recognize the right of Israel to exist, and, as well, to disarm, both of which Hamas has vowed not to do.  How do you square that with Hamas’ participation in the election?  How does the Quartet square that?

Spokesman:  The Quartet, as far as I’ve been told, has nothing to add to its rather lengthy statement that was issued on the 28th.  Yes?


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For information media • not an official record

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