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Source: Secretary-General
24 April 2007



Damascus, Syria, 24 April 2007 - Secretary-General's press encounter upon departing Syria

SG: I am delighted with my first ever visit to Syria. It was short but productive. I had an excellent meeting with His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad, followed by one with Vice-President Shara. While flying to Damascus, I had a very good meeting with Foreign Minister Muallem and this meeting continued during a lunch he kindly hosted for my delegation.

I had the opportunity to visit our peacekeepers in UNDOF today, and was very impressed by their continuing commitment to preserve stability on the Golan Heights. UNDOF has maintained the ceasefire and supervised compliance by Israel and Syria with the Disengagement Agreement for over 30 years. While UNDOF has performed its duties successfully, the unresolved issues of the Golan Heights and a comprehensive peace in the Middle East are fundamental to address. The basis for a solution involves an end to the occupation of Arab territory, and a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the region, as called for in the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Government of Syria for continuing its cooperation to this UNDOF operation and look forward to such continuing contribution.

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Q: [in Arabic]

SG: The United Nations, particularly the Security Council, has taken, adapted many important resolutions in the past to bring peace and security in this region, particularly resolution 242 and 338. There are resolutions recently taken – 1559 and 1701. Those are all important resolutions giving guidelines to the peace process and security in this region. It is my sincere wish that all the parties concerned have fully complied with those resolutions.

Q: [in Arabic]

SG: It's unfortunate that all the relevant resolutions have not been implemented by the cooperation of parties concerned. When I visited Israel I emphasized the necessity and importance of implementing all relevant resolutions, which obligate Israel to fully comply. At the same time, there are still many resolutions which are not implemented by other parties. At this time, I have some optimism that the Arab leaders are looking at the Arab peace initiative and the Quartet had been re-energized. There are some Arab countries who will participate in this Quartet process. The National Unity Government of the Palestine was established. We hope that all this peace process moving on, the international community should encourage such an ongoing peace initiative so we will be able to see for the progress in this peace process.

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