SG: I am just coming from the monthly lunch with the Security Council, where we discussed many issues, including the situation in the occupied Palestinian Territories, where, as you know, this morning I expressed my anguish and deep concern about the loss of civilian lives. You also know that over the weekend I had the opportunity of talking to [Israeli] Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert, requesting that they exercise maximum restraint. I also talked to [Palestinian] President [Mahmoud] Abbas, urging him to do whatever he can to ensure that Katyushas going into Israel were also stopped. And of course he also took the opportunity to brief me on the progress they were making on the formation of a national unity government.
I know the Prime Minister has expressed regret at what happened this morning, and has indicated that a full investigation has been initiated, and we look forward to the investigation, and in the meantime I hope measures will be taken to ensure that the kind of incident we had this morning does not happen, and that both sides will be conscious of their obligations with regards to international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians.
We also talked about the situation in Darfur, and the need for us to work urgently with the Sudanese Government and other parties concerned to find a way out of the impasse which exists today with the deteriorating situation on the ground. A series of meetings are being planned in Addis Ababa, beginning on the 13th. And of course the Peace and Security Council [of the African Union] have planned this meeting, also on the 24th. But everyone hopes that between now and the end of the month we will be able to come with a workable alternative so that we can move ahead with the implementation of Resolution 1706, and help the people concerned.
Q: You said, Sir, that you had spoken to Mr. Olmert on the weekend and asked him for restraint, and nevertheless we still had these new killings that took place in Gaza. What do you think should be done in order to make Israel stop these kinds of attacks against Palestinians, and with the Arab request that these attacks should be condemned and not just expressing shock and sadness, Sir?
SG: I think you saw my statement today. Obviously, to stop it, we are not going to stop it by issuing statements. We need to get the parties to cooperate and take effective action. This is why I went beyond issuing a statement and speaking to the Prime Minister as well as President Abbas. And I hope that others with influence will do the same.
Thank you very much.