Remarks to Press at Stakeout with H.E. Michael Spindelegger, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs
Vienna, 2 September 2010
Q: Veronika Oleksyn, from AP, Mr. Secretary-General what are your realistic expectations of today’s direct talks in Washington on the Middle East, and do you believe that talks with Hamas should be included in this process at some point?
SG: I’m very encouraged and happy that these direct talks for the Middle East peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are now taking place today. The United Nations has been and will continue to work together with the parties concerned to strongly support this Middle East peace process. And in that regard I commend the initiative of President Obama and his team, his government, to make this Middle East peace process direct talks possible this time. It is important that all the parties concerned not only Israelis and Palestinians but countries in the region and the international community should work together and facilitate this process and I would really hope that the parties directly concerned, Israel and the Palestinians, will continue to work sincerely and with a sense of flexibility and a sense of pragmatism to talk about peace. I know that it will not be an easy process, it may be very difficult, there may be some hurdles, we must work very closely and very hard to avoid all this unexpected political and security hurdles. We have already seen some such attempts by very cynical groups who really want to derail this peace process. That we have to guard against. I sincerely hope that all the parties concerned will prove the point. Now the dialogue is led by the Palestinian Authority, led by President Abbas , and it is important that President Abbas is given full support, his leadership is recognized by the international community and as the Secretary-General and as a member of the quartet I will continue to work together.