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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
24 November 2008

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

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


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Enrique Yeves, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Good afternoon all.


**Palestinian People The Secretary-General attended an event this morning to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  In his remarks, he said the situation in Gaza remains a major concern.  He called for immediate measures to ease the near blanket closure of Gaza, which has been leading to worrying shortages of basic supplies.

The Secretary-General added that Israel must refrain from unilateral actions in Jerusalem, such as demolitions and evictions, which undermine trust or alter the status quo.  At the same time, he said, he recognizes Israel’s security concerns.  We have his full remarks upstairs.

In connection with today’s event, there will be a screening of the film La terre parle arabe at 1 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.  Then, at 6 p.m., an exhibit called “The Palestinians: 60 Years of Struggle and Enduring Hope” will open in the Public Lobby of the General Assembly Building.

** Gaza

The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process reports that some supplies were permitted to cross from Israel into Gaza today.  Included in those supplies were nine truckloads of goods for the World Food Programme and eight trucks containing powdered milk and rice for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Also, 440,000 litres of industrial gas were pumped through to Gaza’s power plant -- meaning that the number of power cuts in Gaza City will be reduced.

UNRWA says the eight trucks it got into Gaza today are not enough.  It says it needs to bring in 15 trucks a day for its operations to continue running at acceptable levels.  For tomorrow, UNRWA has requested that 12 trucks of food and 3 trucks of medicines be allowed to enter Gaza.


Briefing by the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

Good afternoon to everybody, especially for being here after more than one hour briefing. Thank you very much. Let me start with marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the President of the GA, Miguel d´Escoto, made a statement this morning, saying, and I’m going to quote:

“Today, we recall that, 61 years ago this month, the General Assembly adopted the historic resolution 181, calling for the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab State.  The State of Israel, founded a year later in 1948, now celebrates 60 years of its existence.  Shamefully, there is still no Palestinian State to celebrate.”

“I believe,” Mr. d’Escoto said, “that the failure to create a Palestinian State as promised is the single greatest failure in the history of the United Nations.  It has been 60 years since some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes and property, becoming refugees and an uprooted and marginalized people.

Although different, what is being done against the Palestinian people seems to me to be a version of the hideous policy of apartheid.”

And this is what I have for you today, unless you have any questions at this time?  No questions?  Thank you very much.
* *** *

For information media • not an official record

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