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Source: Secretary-General
3 August 2010

Tokyo, Japan, 3 August 2010 - Secretary-General's joint press encounter with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada [unofficial transcript of Secretary-General's comments only]


Q: Air strikes have been taking place in the Middle East in recent days including in Israel, in Jordan, in Gaza as well as most recently on the Lebanese-Israeli border and there have been civilian casualties. Media reports say that Israel had lodged a protest with the United Nations after a Palestinian rocket exploded in an Israeli city. Secretary-General, what is the current situation over these attacks as well as the Israeli protest, and how will the United Nations respond to the situation? Thank you very much.

SG: Thank you. In fact the details of this recent reported attacks are still unavailable at this time. However, I would like to state my position as the Secretary-General and of the United Nations. I condemn the rocket attacks on Aqaba, Jordan and Eilat, Israel, which killed one Jordanian citizen and injured three others. I urge again, as the Secretary-General, cooperation among the countries concerned to bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible. This is an act of terrorism. After today's violence, and earlier unacceptable rocket attacks against civilian neighbourhoods in Israel like Ashkelon and Western Negev in Israel, and Israel's retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza which caused civilian casualties, I sincerely hope that all these countries concerned should exercise maximum restraint.

I underscore the importance of maximum restraint to prevent any further escalation of the situation. I call for an end to indiscriminate attacks by militants and urge all parties in the region to remain focused on the urgent goal of moving forward the political process. All these situations, which happened recently, would not be conducive to on-going dialogue between Israel and Palestine for the peace process.

I have been working very hard. As you may know already by this time, I have launched a panel of inquiry to look into the case of the flotilla, which happened on 31 May. I sincerely hope that all these efforts will contribute to the ongoing peace process in the Middle East.

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