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Department of Public Information (DPI)
3 June 2009
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 Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
I have been asked in recent days about the Secretary-General’s position concerning inquiries into what happened earlier this year in Gaza, and I wanted to make a few points clear.
The Secretary-General has certainly not rejected the notion of an inquiry into the recent Gaza conflict. On the contrary, and apart from the Board of Inquiry that he had instituted into the damages against the UN, he has both privately and publicly supported the Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission. He has also counselled and urged the Israeli Government to cooperate with this inquiry. Indeed, he last did so yesterday at his meeting with the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister. It is precisely because such an inquiry exists that the Secretary-General did not contemplate establishing another commission to undertake the very same task.
The Secretary-General is conscious of the fact that the Human Rights Council is especially well placed to commission an investigation into whether breaches of international humanitarian law have taken place, and had done so, inter alia, by selecting respected jurists to undertake this task, and had revised their terms of reference to ensure a balanced approach.
Questions and Answers
: [inaudible] the Israeli Vice Prime Minister at the stakeout had said, seemed to be saying that Iran with nuclear weapons is a fact that they cannot live with, and they seemed to be drumming up support for, in addition to future sanctions, possible military action against Iran. Did the Secretary-General talk to the Vice Prime Minister or Mr. [Ehud] Barak on Monday about these statements that seemed to be kind of looking to drum up support for action militarily against Iran in terms of not helping the situation?
: Well, the concerns about Iran were expressed by the Israelis, yes. What the Secretary-General said about this that was not reflected in what I got in terms of, you know, readout of the meetings, but I can find out what happened yesterday. We didn’t have a readout of last night’s meeting.
[The reporter was later informed that the Secretary-General and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom discussed the situation on the ground in Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the region, including Iran. They discussed the need for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations and for socio-economic projects in the West Bank. The Secretary-General expressed his concern for the humanitarian situation of the people of Gaza and urged the Government of Israel to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials.]
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For information media • not an official record