HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, February 14, 2003
ANNAN WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER
- In a statement made through his Spokesman, the Secretary-General welcomed the announcement by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat that he intends to appoint a Prime Minister and also that he fully embraces the Road Map of the Quartet, which comprises the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and United States.
- The Spokesman said the Secretary-General believed that these are two very important steps towards restarting the Middle East peace process and that he looked forward to working with a credible and fully empowered Palestinian Prime Minister.
- The Secretary-General also believes that it is essential for the Palestinian Legislative Council to meet as soon as possible, so that Mr. Arafat can bring his nomination forward and he urges both parties to do everything necessary for that to happen.
- The Secretary-General noted the importance of this move in advance of meetings in London next week between the parties and key members of the international community to discuss donor assistance and Palestinian reform. The Quartet Envoys will also convene during this set of meetings.
ANNAN WARNS CONFLICT BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS CAN GET WORSE
- In a message to be delivered this afternoon, the Secretary-General warns about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis: "Let us not to fall into the trap of imagining that it can not get any worse. It easily can."
- In the statement to the opening of the 2003 Session on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which will be delivered by Iqbal Riza, Chef de Cabinet, the Secretary-General outlines again the steps needed to be taken to realize the vision of a two state solution.
- He underscores the importance of international help and pledges that UN agencies, including UNRWA, will continue their efforts. He notes that UNRWA today is facing an especially severe financial crisis and calls on donors to contribute generously in this time of acute hardship.
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