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

11 November 2004

Press encounter with the Secretary-General
11 November 2004
(unofficial transcript)

Q: Good morning, Sir. The death of [President Yasser] Arafat, what does that represent for the future of the Palestinian issue, as you see it?

SG: First of all, let me begin by offering my deepest condolences and sympathy to his wife and daughter, and to the Palestinian people. Chairman Arafat really embodied the Palestinian aspiration. He had the courage to accept the fact that they would have the two states, and the Palestinians will live side-by-side with the Israelis, and he also signed the Oslo agreement. Now that he is gone, I think the best legacy that his people can live by, is to engage constructively and peacefully with the international community and the Israeli Government and people to make that dream – a dream of two states living side-by-side in peace – a reality. And I will urge that we all get to work and really press for the achievement of that goal.

Q: And what would you like to see happen first? What could be a first step towards achieving that?

SG: I think what is important, it appears to be already happening, is smooth transition on the Palestinian side. The signs are very good that they are sorting out their leadership issues and there will be a solid Palestinian leadership for one to work with.

Thank you.

For information media - not an official record