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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
22 October 2008

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 Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Enrique Yeves, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly. Good afternoon.  I would like to welcome several journalists participating in DPI’s annual training programme for Palestinian media practitioners as well as colleagues from the UN Communication Group in Islamabad to the noon briefing today. /... Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the Security Council on the Middle East in an open meeting this morning, telling the Council that, despite recent efforts by the Palestinian Authority to improve the security and judicial systems, the situation on the ground is not improving in the way that is required. Israeli-Palestinian violence this past month claimed the lives of seven Palestinians, two of them children, while injuring 116 Palestinians and 34 Israelis, he said.

Mr. Pascoe said that we look forward to all regional States lending their support to Egypt’s efforts to reconcile the West Bank and Gaza.  He added that, notwithstanding the transition currently under way in Israel, we hope that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will not only continue but intensify between now and the end of the year within the Annapolis framework.  We look forward to the parties briefing the Quartet in the near future.  Speaking on the wider region, Mr. Pascoe encouraged the continuation and intensification of indirect Israeli-Syrian talks, and said that further work is also essential to build on recent positive developments in Lebanon. /... /...

Question:  In [inaudible] of Mr. Pascoe’s briefing on the Middle East, he didn’t express any optimism as to the Middle East peace process and Mr. Bush’s vision of a two-State solution before he leaves office seems to be fading, does the Secretary-General think that, by the end of this year, they’ll be able to achieve their objective of two States or it’s an impossible dream? Spokesperson:  I think your interpretation of what Mr. Pascoe said is not quite what he said.  Your interpretation is that he’s pessimistic.  I don’t think that was the case.  Of course, it is a difficult subject as you know and I think … Question:  … the Secretary-General is optimistic that there will be a Middle East that is two States in the Middle East by the end of this year? Spokesperson:  He is doing as much as he can for this to happen.

Question:  But he’s not …

Spokesperson:  I cannot say that he is optimistic or not.  Let’s just say that he is doing, he is calling as many people as he possibly can, getting in touch with many ongoing initiatives, people leading as many ongoing initiativesthat exist to really make this a reality.

/... Question:  On the Middle East, does the Secretary-General have anything specific to say on Israeli [inaudible – adverse] to the Saudi peace proposal?

Spokesperson:  As you know, he is very much in favour of the Saudi peace proposal.  He has talked about it over and over again, so that’s all I can really say at this point.  Yes? /...
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For information media • not an official record

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