Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

12 June 2001


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Susan Markham, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

**Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General

Good afternoon. Not very late today, only five minutes. And we just got news from Cairo.

**Secretary-General’s Trip to the Middle East

The Secretary-General left London this morning, and flew to Cairo, where he arrived about 40 minutes ago, at 4:10 local time. This evening, he and his delegation are expected to meet with Amre Moussa, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. That meeting will be followed by a private dinner with the Secretary-General and Mr. Moussa. So there you see a slight change already in the programme we gave out to you yesterday. At the airport in Cairo, the Secretary-General had a brief encounter with the Foreign Minister of Jordan, Abdul Ilah El-Khatib, who was also transiting through the airport.

Also at the airport, the Secretary-General had an encounter with journalists. He told them, "There is a real international alliance for peace working on this issue -- the Americans, the European Union, the Russian Federation, the Arab leaders and the United Nations, are all agreed that we should push for full implementation of the Mitchell plan. There has been too much suffering in this region,” he continued, “too much suffering for Palestinians and Israelis who have lost many loved ones for us not to try to end this tragedy. We should do whatever we can to bring the tragedy to an end. I hope my visit to this region will help move the process in the right direction."

In answer to a question, which was about the window of opportunity the Secretary-General had referred to earlier, the Secretary-General said, "I think we have a fleeting moment, a fleeting opportunity which we much seize and seize promptly, and I hope the parties see it this way, otherwise we may lose an opportunity."

The full transcript of this encounter at the airport is available at the United Nations Web site, on the Spokesman page, as well as in hard copy in the Spokesman’s Office.


**Questions and Answers


Question: Do you have any information on the talk between the Secretary-General and President Mubarak of Egypt?

Deputy Spokesman: It will happen tomorrow.


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For information media - not an official record