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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York



28 October 2003

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICES OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL AND THE SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT


Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Information Officer in the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Michéle Montas, Spokeswoman for the General Assembly President.

Good afternoon.

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**Lebanon

Yesterday evening, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed-Larsen, issued a statement in New York, strongly deploring the latest violation of the Blue Line, which had taken place earlier on Monday.

According to the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the hostilities began with Hezbollah firing rockets and mortars at Israeli military positions in the Shebaa Farms area.  The Israeli army then responded across the Blue Line, using artillery and aerial bombs.

Those events, Mr. Roed-Larsen said, underscore yet again the acute need for the Government of Lebanon to exert full control over the use of force from its territory.  He urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to respect the Blue Line fully.

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**Questions and Answers

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Question:  Farhan, I wonder if you have any UN updated figures on how much money was pledged in Madrid last week?  And if you could also tell us a little bit about the significance of this meeting this afternoon between the Secretary-General, Ayalon and Nussiebeh.

Spokesman:  The meeting that the Secretary-General is having is with the retired Israeli Admiral Ami Ayalon and Professor Sari Nussiebeh who are important voices in Israeli and Palestinian civil society, and I believe they intend to provide him with an initiative, but beyond that we don’t have any comment on that.  Ultimately, the initiative that they are presenting is something that they are responsible for, and he will be meeting them at 4:30 p.m. today.

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For information media - not an official record