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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
30 August 2006

Jerusalem, 30 August 2006 - Secretary-General's press encounter after meeting Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (unofficial transcript)

SG: Thank you very much, Madame Minister, and good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

As you have heard from the Minister we have had a very good discussion this morning. My stay here in Israel has been very fruitful ever since I arrived last night. I had very serious discussions with the Minister of Defense, the Prime Minister and now with the Foreign Minister. And of course, I had the chance, as you know, of meeting the families of the abducted soldiers and of Gilad Shalit also, who was picked up in Palestinian territory. But let me say that I do understand the importance Israel and the families attach to the release of the abducted soldiers on the personal, individual level -- having met the families and hearing their painful and moving story yesterday -- and at the national level. And I did discuss this issue in Lebanon. I intend to stay engaged on it with our Lebanese partners.

I would also want to say that I did raise the issue of the lifting of the blockade with all my interlocutors, including with the Foreign Minister, and the importance of that to the Lebanese government and to the Lebanese people.

On the issue of disarmament, the Security Council is very clear -- first in resolutions 1559, 1680 and in 1701 -- that all militia should be disarmed in Lebanon. And this is an objective that we all share. It was reaffirmed by 1701. And 1701 has been accepted both by Israel and Lebanon, including Hezbollah.

And so the initial phase of?initially we have to insure that southern Lebanon is free of weapons, except for those in the hands of the UN forces and the Lebanese Army. And then eventually the Lebanese have to work hard at the national disarmament which has been called for in all these UN resolutions. But I also believe that this exercise, full implementation of 1701, gives us a foundation and a basis to move forward and settle the differences between Israel and Lebanon once and for all, and establish a durable peace between the two of them so that we don't go through the kind of explosive situations that we have seen in the past and we saw recently in the last six weeks also.

Having come from Lebanon, and also held discussions with the Israeli leadership, I am convinced that both countries are determined to implement 1701 fully. They see an opportunity to turn a page and build on a very solid basis. And I think that it is important that we do so rapidly, sustain the momentum, and not let this drag. And I am going to devote as much energy to this as possible – because I am dealing with other crises in other parts of the world?but I promise you we will stick with it and do whatever we can to make it happen.

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