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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
10 February 2011



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.

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Question:  I have a question about Mr. Barak coming here, meeting with the Secretary-General.  Will he be, or will they be discussing, Gaza, West Bank and the situation over there in Gaza?

Spokesperson:  Well, we’ll provide a readout very quickly after the meeting that will give you a good picture of what is going to be discussed or what will have been discussed at that point.

Correspondent:  Will the… I am just saying, because basically one thinks that he is here because of the Holocaust conference or meeting and so forth, Mr. Barak.

Spokesperson:  I think the reason, of course, that is a very important and poignant reason for the Minister’s visit to the United Nations, not least because his grandparents perished in the Holocaust.  But I think you could find out from the Israeli Mission quite easily what other engagements he has while he is in the United States.

Correspondent: One of my points is the condition of the Palestinians in Gaza is also very poignant, what is happening over there.  Strangulation of all of the crossings, I mean passages, over there and everything, towns and what have you, on the crossings.  And urgency is there because there are other events overtaking; the urgency is still there.

Spokesperson:  Urgency is still there and the Secretary-General has been very vocal on this subject.  Not just vocal, but he has visited Gaza twice, including right after the conflict that saw many people die and many people suffer.  Of course, this is an important topic for him.  Let’s wait for the readout so that you can see what points have been raised.  Yes, Nizar?

Question:  Follow-up on that:  is there any progress regarding rebuilding the schools of UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] in Gaza?  Is there any development or progress?

Spokesperson:  As I think you know, there was an agreement reached between the Israeli authorities and the Quartet envoy, Tony Blair, that involves in part — one of the parts of this is to do with, indeed rebuilding schools.  But it’s obvious that, while progress has been made, there is still an awful lot to do, particularly for children, because that is a fundamental part of breaking the cycle of violence — is to ensure that children can have an education and a sustained education in the right kind of surroundings.  That’s important for the Secretary-General and for the people of Gaza.  And as I say, there has been some movement on that.  The Secretary-General will continue to push, and our colleagues in UNRWA work extremely hard on this, extremely hard every day to help the people of Gaza precisely with that kind of reconstruction.

Question:  Will this be one if the subjects to be discussed today with Ehud Barak?

Spokesperson:  As I said, there would be a readout after the meeting and at that point I am sure there will be some details that would help you on that particular point.  Okay.

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For information media • not an official record

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