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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
7 December 2009


Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

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



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

AND THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT
 

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Jean Victor Nkolo, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

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**Questions and Answers

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Question:  Yes, Martin, just a different topic.  Has there been contact among the Quartet parties on the Middle East peace process late last week to discuss the Israeli Government decision to freeze partly settlements for 10 months?  There have been some press reports on that.

Spokesperson:  I’ve also seen the press reports, but I don’t have anything for you on that at the moment.

Question:  Sorry, Martin, can you also check if the US wanted to release a statement at that time praising the Israeli Government’s decision and that this was opposed by other members of the Quartet?

Spokesperson:  This is something that you can ask the Americans, I think.

Question:  Has anybody in the United Nations -- the Secretary-General or anybody else -- talked to the Israeli authorities about opening up of the Gaza crossings, which have been closed, ever since, for about, years?  Has anybody, (cross-talk)… I know there are ongoing talks, but every now and then there is an update.  Has there been at all recently sort of a conversation between United Nations authorities or the Secretary-General with the Israeli Government?

Spokesperson:  Let me find out.

Question:  One more on the Quartet?

Spokesperson:  Yes.

Correspondent:  The European Union is considering a resolution brought up by Sweden, which is obviously very … It’s not supported here in the US …?

Spokesperson:  We’re not in the US right here.

Question:  What?

Spokesperson:  We’re in the United Nations.

Question:  Right!  And the UN is part of the Quartet, which includes the European Union and the US.  Where does the US, the UN stand on this?

Spokesperson:  Okay, again, I need to find out. ...

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Briefing by the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

Question:  I spoke to Treki last week and it wasn’t clear from his answer.  Does he support the two-State solution?

Spokesperson:  Following your question to him, he put out a full and detailed response to your questions.  I can provide them to you again if you so wish.

Question:  The question is specific:  does he support the two-State solution?

Spokesperson:  I can provide the specific response that he put in writing.

Question:  Cross-talk between correspondents) … I mean, does he support the two-State or the (inaudible) proposed by President [Muammar] Gaddafi?

Spokesperson:  President Treki believes that the establishment of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital is a condition for a just and fair solution.

Correspondent:  That does not answer my question.  Please answer my question.

Spokesperson:  I will not go beyond what President Treki has already put in writing and which we have circulated to everyone.  And we referred to questions that you did put to him.

Question:  So let me rephrase the question.  Is it a problem for him that the country that he represents does not support the two-State solution, that in fact it publicly supported a one-State solution?  Is it a problem for him to address that question?

Spokesperson:  President Treki represents all the Member States of the General Assembly, and if you have a specific query regarding the country where President Treki comes from, you may well address that query to the Permanent Mission of Libya.  But when it comes to this very specific question, President Treki has responded in line with UN resolutions.

Question:  Oh now, hold on a minute!  That’s not true.  Does he recognize the existence of Israel, President Treki?

Spokesperson:  The President is the President of the General Assembly and Israel is a Member State of the GA. I mean …

Question:  So the answer is …?

Spokesperson:  I mean, your question is obsolete.  I don’t think … (Interrupted)

Question:  Well, what’s the answer?  Yes or no?  Does he recognize the existence of Israel?

Spokesperson:  That goes without saying.  The President of the General Assembly recognizes the existence of Israel and all Member States of the General Assembly.  He is the President of the General Assembly; Israel is a recognized and fully-fledged Member State of the GA.

Question:  So, when you say he supports the creation of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, you’re talking in addition to the existing UN Member State, Israel, is that correct?

Spokesperson:  I do not want to make a conflagration of …

Question:  …was that the State of Israel?

Spokesperson:  You are speaking there, not President Treki.  You have to go back to his statement.  Did you …?

Question:  (Cross-talk between correspondents) …  His statement doesn’t mention. … He doesn’t seem to be able to answer the most simple question on Middle Eastern policy, which is:  Does he believe in the two-State solution, which is UN policy?  It’s embedded in General Assembly resolutions, it’s the position of the Secretary-General; he doesn’t seem to be able to answer the questions.  It’s kind of extraordinary.

Spokesperson:  The President of the General Assembly speaks on behalf of all Members States of the GA, and his statements are in line with all UN resolutions.  And as you say, these resolutions recognize the State of Israel.  I don’t know why you keep on asking the President if he supports this or that … (Interrupted).

Question:  (Cross-talk) … If I might ask why President Treki is not going to Copenhagen.  He does not think it’s an important issue?  That climate change …

Spokesperson:  Not at all.  If we may just … I’ll come back to that Khaled.  It’s not that I’m trying to run away from a very important and good question.  Let’s just make this clear.  The President of the General Assembly, Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, represents all Member States.  And he recognizes all Member States, and that it, obviously without saying, includes Israel.  And the President believes, however, that in line with your question, the creation, the establishment of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, is a key condition to a just and fair solution.

Question:  Yes, but he told me that in candour, he told me specifically, that, with the settlements, he’s not sure that two States is even possible.  So he doesn’t know.  That’s a quote.  So my question to you is, does he support the two-State solution or are you going to hide behind “he supports every resolution in the world”?

Spokesperson:  Not at all.  Nobody is hiding behind anything here.  What the President was telling you was that the question of the settlements has become a complicating factor, and this is a matter of fact.

Correspondent:  He didn’t say complicating; he said he was not sure that two States is possible.

Spokesperson:  He actually said in his statement, he made reference to the settlements in his statement, and his statement was very clear on what the settlements were doing to a possible outcome.  That is very clear and that is written and that is being shared with all.  So we cannot go beyond what President Treki has said so clearly on the question of the settlements.

Question:  Everything I agree with except for the word “clearly”, which is not very clear here.  I mean, I have to agree that I’m still confused about whether President Treki supports a two-State solution.

Spokesperson:  He supports … (interrupted)

Correspondent:  He would seem unable to say that, so that’s why I am confused.

Spokesperson:  Well, I think that if you want to put two things that are not together in his statement, this is where I do not want to go.  But what I am responding to you is to say the President recognizes the State of Israel, Israel is a Member State of the General Assembly.  The President, however, believes that the creation of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital is a condition to a fair solution in the Middle East.  Yes, Khaled.

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Question:  Given that he recognizes the State of Israel, does that mean that he thinks that Isratine”, the proposal by the Libyan leader for a single State in Palestine is not a viable solution to the Middle East conflict?

Spokesperson:  You may well have to ask the Libyan leader, so the Libyan … (Interrupted) …

Question:  No, I’m not asking … I’m asking, given that Ali Treki recognizes the State of Israel, does that mean he doesn’t believe thatIsratine is a viable solution to the Middle East conflict?

Spokesperson:  We have said here from the very beginning that Dr. Treki, as the President of the General Assembly, will not comment and will not be dragged into commenting on specific statements or positions taken by any specific Member State, including his own country of origin.  He is speaking as the President of the General Assembly, and it is in this capacity that he would be very happy to respond.  Have a good afternoon.


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For information media • not an official record

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