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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
12 January 2010

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


**Questions and Answers


Question:  Yes, I just want to refer back to a statement you made earlier last week, about Israel paying compensation for the UN headquarters, and you said that a final agreement has not been reached yet, but it sounds close.  So I was wondering if there is any follow-up on that and if you can give us what’s holding the final agreement, if possible?  What’s holding, what’s preventing the two parties from reaching a final agreement on the amount being paid?

Spokesperson:  As I mentioned to you, this is, we’re talking about a payment.  That’s the expression that we’re using -- a payment.  The word that’s used is a payment, and the United Nations submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel this claim for reimbursement for the losses that the UN had sustained in a number of incidents during the Gaza conflict.  And, as I mentioned to you before, discussions then took place and have been taking place between the UN and Israel, and they are at a very advanced stage.  And, as I have mentioned, agreement has been reached in principle, and where we are now is finalizing some of the details.  This is a technical matter, not to do with the principle, on the terms of the arrangement or on the payment itself.  We’re talking about technicalities, and I think this will be something that the Government of Israel is working on right now, on those technicalities.  And we would hope that there would be a green light for, if you like, an exchange of letters for the agreement as soon as possible once those technicalities have been sorted out.

Question:  You’re only requesting reimbursement?  No apology, no promise not to repeat these kinds of attacks -- only payment for something, the building that was destroyed?

Spokesperson:  This is a claim for reimbursement for a payment.  At the time, I think you will recall that there was an apology.  So, this is talking about a payment for the losses that the United Nations sustained in a number of incidents that occurred during that conflict.

Question:  May I follow up on that, please?  Is it just for property damage and not for the loss of life of the truck driver?

Spokesperson:  We went there before last time, and if I remember correctly we… this is talking about… Look, the claim was made for the reimbursement for losses to property and to the people.  But, the exact details of what that entails I am not privy to and that’s part of what was being discussed between the United Nations and Israel.  But the key point, as I say, is that the phrase that we’re using is for the losses that the United Nations sustained.  Okay.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record

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