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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
6 January 2010


Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

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




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



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

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

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Questions and Answers

Question:  [inaudible] the U.S. administration is ready for [inaudible] which will include resuming negotiations within the next month then [inaudible] borders and fixing the limits for the conclusion of a peace accord within two years, etc. etc.  Was the Secretary-General yesterday briefed by [United States] Senator [George] Mitchell on this plan specifically?

Spokesperson:  I think we circulated yesterday what I’m able to tell you about the conversation that the Secretary-General had with Senator Mitchell yesterday.  And this was to take stock of the Middle East peace process, and they discussed the importance of overcoming obstacles to resuming those negotiations and the role of the Quartet.  And the Secretary-General expressed his appreciation and support for United States efforts.  But, in response to your very specific question, I don’t have any more than that at the moment.  Okay.  It seems to be going back in the room.  Matthew.

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Question:  Hi, Martin.  In regard to an answer that you gave yesterday about the Quartet, sometimes the answers a spokesman gives actually produce the news, even if the question is not based on a news issue.  And it just seems that… I wanted to say that we’re paid to decide what is news or not.  I think it’s dangerous if the Spokesman’s Office sets a precedent.

Spokesperson:  I’m not setting a precedent.  I’m not setting a precedent.  And I made clear that this was a reference to the questions about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Not about the Quartet -- which I answered.  It was questions about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Question:  The question was the Secretary-General’s role in the Quartet, which I would like to follow up on.

Spokesperson:  I answered that question.  I answered that question.  Take a look at the transcript.

Question:  I did.  Okay I will.  I have a different aspect of it.  Several ambassadors have told me over the years:  who does the Secretary-General report to?  Who does he represent?  The General Assembly?  The Security Council?  The staff?  [inaudible] he doesn’t seem to report to anyone.  So who is he representing when he’s on the Quartet?  Who at the UN is he representing?

Spokesperson:  The Secretary-General has a number of roles, as you rightly point out, that are set out in different documents, including in the Charter.  He has the right and responsibility to be involved in the Middle East peace process and that’s what he does.

Question:  [inaudible]

Spokesperson:  I beg your pardon.

Question:  He’s representing only his own offices?

Spokesperson:  Yes.  He represents his own offices.  That’s right.  Yes James.

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Question:  The other thing that I wanted to ask you was, this unfolding tragedy in Gaza with the crossings in Egypt.  Has the Secretary-General taken note of this, and what does he say about this [inaudible]?

Spokesperson:  The Secretary-General is aware of this and we’re troubled by the violence along the Egypt-Gaza border, including the killing of an Egyptian security officer today.  And the United Nations is calling for calm and respect for Egyptian sovereignty, and we remain deeply concerned about the unsustainable conditions in Gaza and reiterate the need for the re-opening of all the crossings, as envisaged in the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access.

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For information media • not an official record

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