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Source: Secretary-General
5 November 2004




New York, 5 November 2004 - Press Encounter with the Secretary-General outside Room S-226 in the UN Secretariat Building

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Q: Mr. Secretary-General, Yassir Arafat is apparently in a coma. I wondered whether you had any thoughts about his importance to the Palestinian cause and….

SG: I think Chairman Arafat embodied in his person the Palestinian aspirations for the statehood and he has been leader of his people all these years, and obviously, it's going to leave a gap amongst the Palestinians. But I hope, and so far they seem to be handling it well, that the succession will not be a problem. Chairman Arafat is still in hospital. I wish him well, but I think the arrangements they have in place with the Prime Minister Qurei and Mr. Abu Mazen is working well and I hope they will be able to ensure a smooth transition.

Q: Do you have a sense that this will jumpstart in any way the Roadmap or present any new options?

SG: I think when the Quartet met last September, we were hoping and determined to press on with the implementation of the Roadmap, particularly in the new year. And I think that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and with the changes taking place on the ground, I think we should be able to press ahead with the implementation of the plan.

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