|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michčle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
Good afternoon, all.
**Secretary-General’s Statement on Obama Speech
We have a statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the US President Obama’s speech in Cairo.
The Secretary-General is strongly encouraged by the speech delivered today in Cairo by President Barack Obama of the United States of America. He strongly welcomes its message of peace, understanding and reconciliation.
The Secretary-General believes that President Obama’s speech is a crucial step in bridging divides and promoting intercultural understanding, which is a major objective of the United Nations. His message reaffirms our shared commitment “to practise tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”, as enshrined in the Preamble of the United Nations Charter.
The Secretary-General hopes that President Obama’s message will herald the opening of a new chapter in relations between the United States and the Islamic world. He hopes that this will have a positive impact on the peace process in the Middle East and the resolution of a number of conflicts in the Middle East and beyond.
**Secretary-General’s Travels to Washington, D.C.
The Secretary-General is on his way to Washington, D.C., for an overnight visit. He is scheduled to meet with US Vice-President Joseph Biden this afternoon. Then, this evening, he plans to take part in a dialogue on international affairs at the Brookings Institution.
The Secretary-General has a meeting with US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu scheduled tomorrow morning, before returning to New York. He plans to be back at UN Headquarters that afternoon.
The Security Council is holding a debate today on the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Two dozen speakers are addressing the Council, including the Prime Minister of Croatia.
Speaking for the ICTY earlier, Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said that 2009 is the last year of full trial activity before the Tribunal starts downsizing in 2010. As part of the ICTY’s completion strategy, there will be a 60 per cent reduction in personnel in the next two years. Brammertz said significant progress has been made overall, including in the Tribunal’s transfer of outstanding cases to jurisdictions in the region.
Brammertz also reported increased cooperation from concerned countries. Serbia, for example, has been notably more responsive to Tribunal requests, including in granting access to national documents and archives. However, Brammertz warned that “the search for and arrest of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić” remained “the central issue in relation to Serbia’s cooperation”.
In his address to the Council, the ICTY President, Judge Patrick Robinson, also warned that, if these two men remained fugitives by the time of the Tribunal’s closure, it would leave a stain on the Security Council’s historic contribution to peacebuilding in the former Yugoslavia.
For his part, Prosecutor Hassan Jallow of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda pressed for greater Security Council assistance in obtaining the cooperation of countries in the region to deliver fugitives to the Tribunal. Jallow pointed to Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he said most of the dozen remaining fugitives are known to be residing. He also outlined the Tribunal’s completion strategy with regards to its judicial work, saying that the transfer of outstanding cases to Rwandan jurisdiction was proceeding smoothly, with Rwanda abolishing the death penalty to comply with international standards. We have full copies of all these remarks upstairs.
On Pakistan, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. John Holmes, designated today Martin Mogwanja as Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan. Prior to his appointment as UNICEF Representative in Pakistan in January 2007, Mr. Mogwanja was the UNICEF Representative in Uganda for six years, as well as the Humanitarian Coordinator in the country between 2005 and 2007. Fikret Akcura, the Resident Coordinator for Pakistan, will continue to be the Head of the UN country team.
While some 2 million people displaced from Pakistan’s north-western areas urgently need assistance with food, clean water, shelter and emergency health care, the humanitarian response plan remains only 22 per cent funded. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some sectors have already indicated that supplies such as food and essential medicines may not be sustainable beyond early July, unless the international community rapidly and generously responds to these acute needs.
Meanwhile, two new camps have been established for internally displaced persons (IDPs) arriving from Swat in the last few days, bringing the total to 21 camps.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said today that it has begun moving 97 metric tons of a highly nutritious food supplement called Plumpy Doz that is to be distributed to children under the age of 5. Even before the recent crisis WFP had been feeding 6.2 million people in Pakistan.
And the International Labour Organization (ILO) has appealed to all relief and development agencies to engage IDPs in different productive activities and pay them for short-term employment. It has been helping to employ displaced persons to perform development activities, from digging trenches and fixing tents to nursing injured and pregnant women, in two camps in Pakistan.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, has confirmed that the United Nations is working to facilitate a United States initiative to host a review conference on the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) later this month in Washington.
Qazi also noted that the CPA signatories were facing many challenges in completing the implementation of that peace deal by 2011. He was speaking in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, where he was for meetings with Southern Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit and other senior Government officials. They discussed the security situation in the south, national elections, disarmament and the preparations for an upcoming referendum to decide the status of south Sudan in relation to the rest of the country.
**Human Rights Council
In Geneva today, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay underlined the condition of civilians in armed conflicts and urged the Human Rights Council to do its utmost to protect them.
Addressing the eleventh regular session of the Human Rights Council -- which opened Tuesday -- she highlighted situations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Colombia, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Chad. Concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territory, she urged full cooperation with the independent fact-finding mission, mandated by the Human Rights Council and which is in the region now.
Pillay also cited two countries, Sri Lanka and Nepal, where post-conflict situations “warrant close scrutiny”.
Regarding the Durban Review Conference last April, the High Commissioner said that the Conference’s outcome document had provided a platform for a renewed beginning. The few States that chose to stay away should now evaluate this platform on its own merit and substance, she added. She also said she was hopeful that these States would rejoin international efforts to combat racism and intolerance, as laid out in this important document. We have her address upstairs.
In a report to the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, which is out as a document today, the Secretary-General says that the Palestinian Government under Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has made progress in recent months on fiscal, monetary and social reforms.
At the same time, as a result of the situation in Gaza, the economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory deteriorated further than envisaged in the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. By April, real gross domestic product was estimated to have declined by 13 per cent from a year before, while per capita income dipped to almost 34 per cent below its level in the year 2000.
** Sri Lanka
In response to questions I received yesterday, as he had confirmed while in Sri Lanka, Mr. Vijay Nambiar had indeed communicated to the Sri Lankan Government the conditions for the surrender of a specific group of LTTE members. This had been passed onto him, first through a Western journalist, Marie Colvin, and subsequently through an LTTE interlocutor, before he arrived in Sri Lanka. He, in turn, relayed the insistence of the Sri Lankan Government that any surrender would have to be to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and not through or to a third party. In response to a subsequent request received during the last hours of the fighting for the surrender of two individuals, Nadesan and Puleedeevan, in the presence of parties other than the Sri Lanka Armed Forces, he relayed the Government’s earlier response, and the assurance given to him, that this group need only display a white flag to the Armed Forces to safely effect their surrender. This last request conveyed to him through Ms. Colvin was also apparently transmitted directly to several other persons, including Colombo-based diplomats and politicians. These were, in turn, we understand, communicated to high governmental levels and were responded to with similar assurances.
**Global Food Supply
The world food supply looks less vulnerable to shocks than it was during last year’s food crisis. That’s according to a new report by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Although food prices remained high in many developing countries, prices for most agricultural commodities have fallen in 2009, says the FAO. The improvement concerned mostly cereals, which is considered a critical sector for food security. The press release is available upstairs.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has joined forces with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to tackle the issue of violence against women and girls in developing cities. They signed a global pact that addresses violence against women in both public and private spheres. The programme implemented under this pact concentrates on violence prevention. There is more on the website.
**United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
With the growing number of teenagers seeking asylum in Central Europe, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is calling for a new asylum system that will address their specific needs. UNHCR reports that this is the largest project that it has ever carried out and that their recommendations are being implemented swiftly. There is more on the website.
**World Environment Day -- Climate Heroes
Tomorrow, 5 June, is World Environment Day, and the theme this year is: “Your Planet Needs YOU -- Unite to Combat Climate Change!”
As part of activities marking the day, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) will be launching a special programme called “Climate Heroes”. This initiative aims to recognize and support the efforts of people who are doing innovative and unusual things to raise awareness of the simple fact that: Your planet needs you!
According to the Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, these Climate Heroes show the kind of commitment, enthusiasm and understanding that’s crucial for addressing the problems of climate change.
Among some of the Climate Heroes being recognized this year is Roz Savage, who plans to row across the Pacific to draw attention to the need to take action on CO2 levels. She hopes to achieve this by inspiring people to walk more and drive less. We have more details in a UNEP press release upstairs, also about other Climate Heroes.
And this is all I have for you today. Yes, Masood.
**Questions and Answers
Question: Michčle, on Pakistan, I just want to clarify something, maybe you will be able to tell me. One thing that you said that the World Food Programme has said that it is going to supply, is getting aid to supply food for 6 million people. And presently the IDPs which are displaced are about, over 2 million people. This 6 million figure, does it include the refugees from Afghanistan? Am I right?
Spokesperson: Yes. As I suggested, you know they have details upstairs in their own press release, and I am sure you can get all the details there.
Question: Okay. And the other thing I wanted to clarify is this…
Spokesperson: Yes, sure.
Question: …you said presently the appeal is 22 per cent funded?
Question: Earlier on Friday when he talked about it, John Holmes, he said 18 per cent, and that was around $18 million?
Spokesperson: Yes. Which means that now there is more, more has come in.
Question: It has gone up?
Question: And now, is there also going to be another appeal to the international community to make up the shortfall?
Spokesperson: You know that whenever we have a humanitarian appeal, we try to encourage, I mean it’s not just launching the appeal, it’s also convincing the Governments to actually contribute the money that is needed. So there is, of course, an effort being made for that money to increase in the next few weeks.
Question: And just one more last thing, I just want to…
Spokesperson: Yes, sure.
Question: …because he, Mr. Holmes, said it was around 3 million. You just said 2 million. Is it closer to 3 million or more than 2 million…?
Spokesperson: I think you have better figures, as I said, in the press release where they have more accurate numbers. As you know this is an ongoing process. As I said yesterday [about Sri Lanka], sometimes people are counted twice and that screws up the numbers and we have to go through them again to make sure that they reflect the actual reality on the ground. Yes, Mr. Abbadi.
Question: Thank you, Michčle. As you said, the Secretary-General praised President Obama’s speech in Cairo, indicating that it contains ideas that coincide with the objectives and principles of the United Nations Charter regarding reconciliation, tolerance, peace, mutual understanding, et cetera. Has the Secretary-General communicated his congratulations to the President or in any way communicated with him today?
Spokesperson: No, he has not.
Question: Does he intend to do so?
Spokesperson: I don’t know. Yes.
Question: Sure, Michčle. I have two questions. One is, in Sri Lanka, the Media Minister has been quoted that the Government is now preparing to bring charges against journalists it considered to have either been supportive of the LTTE or not sufficiently supportive of the Government’s charge. Human Rights Watch has spoken out against this. Does the UN have anything to say about that?
Spokesperson: Well, it was an intention stated. We are following the situation. The same thing for the doctors, who are , as you know, accused also of collaboration. We’re following the situation closely. That’s all really I can say at this point.
Question: Okay. And then, I mean, I am compelled to ask this question. I saw yesterday -- this has to do with something that you raised on Tuesday -- it came up in the briefing on Tuesday. Yesterday I saw an article on, I guess, Fox News that you’re quoted as saying: “Montas also denied Inner City Press report that the minutes indicate UN officials, quote, should consider complaining to Google News.” So I am wondering like, are you saying that the document that I have is not a UN document?
Spokesperson: What I am saying is… First, I am saying they are not minutes, okay. And I think this subject should be dealt with… You know, we have gone over this over and over again…
Question: But if you give a quote saying that it’s false, and I have the UN document saying with regard to Inner City Press we should also…
Spokesperson: Those are not minutes, okay?
Question: But then why would you…? Okay, I understand…
Spokesperson: This is a memo.
Question: …so this was a memo to Mr. Ban?
Question: Did Mr. Ban receive it and what does he think about a memo that says…?
Spokesperson: Well, Mr. Ban receives memos concerning everything that concerns every single department. He has absolutely no specific reaction on this.
Question: Well, why did you deny that it says Google… complained to Google News in it? Had you not seen the document when you said that?
Spokesperson: No, I haven’t seen the document. You’re the first person who brings it to me, to my attention.
Correspondent: But I asked about it Tuesday.
Spokesperson: Yes, because this was discussed as one of the alternatives. There was no decision to send cease and desist letters, and there was no decision to address Google News. And I said that the UN has not spoken to Google News, something that your colleague at Foxnews.com confirmed with Google, that there has been absolutely no approach by the UN to try to get Inner City…
Correspondent: But you were in the meeting. You know that it was discussed. Does this summary prepared by Angela Kane sufficiently summarize the meeting which you attended? Which is why I e-mailed you, I didn’t want to do it here, but…
Spokesperson: Essentially, this meeting, and this would have been in minutes if there were minutes, if there had been, it was about, as I said, a complaint from the Medical Service. That was what the meeting was about.
Question: But one thing I don’t understand is, if there is a story that the UN doesn’t like, isn’t it the right… I mean if you write, I put it on the website, but to have the UN’s response to a story that they don’t like to try to take the publication from being distributed worldwide through Google News…
Spokesperson: We didn’t do that! We did not do that!
Question: [inaudible] was considered. It said we should consider it?
Spokesperson: No, we should consider addressing our… the first thing that was considered is to address letters to editors of your, of the publications. In your case, I don’t know if there is an editor to your blog.
Question: [inaudible] you sent letters. But why is the Wall Street Journal on the list when they never wrote about the Medical Service?
Spokesperson: Well, the Wall Street Journal, I don’t even know why it’s there. Also it was barely mentioned. I don’t remember discussing at all the Wall Street Journal.
Question: Are you comfortable with the document?
Spokesperson: Pardon me?
Question: This is a personal debate, it is not…
Spokesperson: Yes, it is a personal debate, you’re right, Pat, and it shouldn’t be part of this [briefing]. Yes, quite true. Thank you, Pat. Yes.
Question: The Palestinian situation, which you just mentioned about that. Since the situation continues to be dire, has the Secretary-General spoken to anybody in the Israeli authorities now to loosen up the border crossings and things like that?
Spokesperson: Well, you know that he has been doing so extensively, actually. He met Israeli officials twice during the week. And as we mentioned in the readouts, every time it was [discussed].
Question: [inaudible] has not responded at all because has it manifested itself in the Occupied Territory? Any decision of the Israelis, that’s what…?
Spokesperson: No, it hasn’t. We don’t have… you know, nothing has changed in terms of the actual access. As you know, we talked about construction material, we talked about the fact that there was no way we could help reconstruct Gaza if none of the material was allowed in. Yes, Talat.
Question: Michčle, the [inaudible] spoke with us last week from the region and said that there were 630 blockades and that they were primarily being set up to protect Israeli settlements. Was there any statement or follow-up from the Secretary-General on that comment? He also had said that senior advisers on behalf of the Israeli side were speaking with UN officials about bringing down some of those blockades. Is that…?
Spokesperson: We have been talking about this for a long time now. Those blockades are not new, as you know, and they have been hampering the free circulation of people, and we have been talking about them since the Secretary-General has been Secretary-General. He has been talking about those restrictions to free movement.
Question: Has there been any follow-up in terms of the comment made by the individual last week?
Spokesperson: No, he was stating a fact, you know. I don’t think there was any specific thing to follow up. We have been following up, as I said, on a regular basis on this.
Question: So there is cohesive agreement that the blockades are being set up primarily to protect Israeli settlements?
Spokesperson: Well, this is something for the Israeli Government to say. They’re the ones setting up the blockades. It’s not for us to say. What we are saying, what we have been protesting, is the fact that there are so many of them and it makes the life of Palestinians increasingly difficult. That we have been saying over and over again.
Question: Michčle, just a follow-up on that topic?
Question: In the readout from the Secretary-General’s meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister earlier this week, it says in among urging the Israelis to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid, it speaks about socio, it said that they discussed socio-economic projects in the West Bank. Is he referring to settlements in, by socio-economic projects, the Israeli socio-economic projects in the West Bank? I mean…
Spokesperson: I can try to get more details on what they mean.
Question: Okay, because it seems like there is a moment of opportunity here with President Obama calling today in a speech for the settlements to stop, there seems to be some momentum…
Spokesperson: Well, we have been coming out very strongly against the settlements ourselves. As you know, the UN has been very vocal about that, saying that these go against previous agreements and that they should not build any new settlements.
Question: Sure, but I mean, the Secretary-General has been urging the Israelis for over a year now to alleviate the blockade of Gazans and there has been nothing in response. Is he looking that this is a moment of opportunity to kind of elevate his pressure to try and…?
Spokesperson: Well, his pressure continues, you know. It was the case when he met two high Israeli officials this week and all these were expressed during those meetings.
Question: Well, it’s kind of, just the meetings, it’s kind of hard to determine which way the pressure was going. And just from reports, the Israeli media reports, it indicates that those Israeli Government officials were pressuring him, and the UN seems to be indicating that the Secretary-General was trying to pressure the Israelis. So, there is a disconnect here of who is…
Spokesperson: I don’t think there’s any disconnect. Each group or each side just flagged their own concerns and that’s the way it went. That doesn’t mean that one accepted the point of view of the other one.
Question: I wanted to ask you about the situation in Nigeria’s Niger Delta. For about two weeks now the Nigerian military has been bombarding the people. We’re hearing figures of about 20,000 people displaced. Is the UN going to remain silent on this?
Spokesperson: I know you’ve asked the question several times, and let me try to find out whether we have more on what is happening there from the UN side and find out whether we know more. [If it is happening where] the UN has no real presence, it’s very difficult for us to assess the facts. So, I’ll try to find out for you what we know and what we have been able to confirm.
Question: And there are two sides to it. There is the political component. But there is also the humanitarian [inaudible] that is going on in the Delta?
Spokesperson: Sure, sure. We’ll try to find out first what we know and what we can confirm. Yes, Ali.
Question: First of all, it’s remarkable that you’re taking the question of the journalists as personal issues. It is not. We have always got questions to ask. Maybe you have answers or you don’t, this is fair. We don’t have problems…
Spokesperson: But you know, Ali, may I say something to you? Mr. Lee just brought it up in a meeting which is supposed to be a briefing about issues. And Pat is quite right, it’s not the place to discuss this. You can come to me, Mr. Lee and we can discuss it.
Correspondent: You gave a quote to Fox News, it went all over the world. So I asked to explain your quote that’s why its…
Question: One question is, the high-ranking Israeli officials are visiting the UN and President [Shimon] Peres was here, two ministers, and next week maybe the Foreign Minister is coming and they are talking about projects with the United Nations for the Palestinians. What kind of… Can you be specific on the kind of projects that they’re going to be in, with the United Nations?
Spokesperson: I think we can get for you additional information from the ground about what is being done, but there are always a number of projects which, of course, involve the Israeli authorities and that concern the Palestinians.
Question: What is your understanding to these frequent [inaudible] to the Israeli officials visiting…?
Spokesperson: Well, those were requested by the Israeli officials and they were granted a meeting with the Secretary-General. Yes, Mr. Abbadi.
Question: Also on the Middle East, Michčle. The United Nations is a part and parcel of the Quartet. Are there any preparations towards holding a meeting of the Quartet on the Middle East at this stage?
Spokesperson: Well, I think there are discussions about the next meeting and I’ll let you know when it happens. Yes.
Question: Thank you. I am sorry if I missed that, but you know tomorrow the Security Council has a meeting on the ICC [International Criminal Court] and the indictment of the Sudanese President. Where does Mr. Ban Ki-moon stand now on this issue? Is he calling for…?
Spokesperson: On the issue of? I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.
Question: The indictment of President [Omer Hassan Al-]Bashir and the ICC. Where does he stand?
Spokesperson: Well, his point of view has been expressed several times, it hasn’t changed. I have nothing new to add, really, to what he has been saying.
Question: The Secretary-General, I’m just following up. He was supposed to hold a monthly press conference. Last month, he didn’t hold it, this month he…
Spokesperson: Yes, that’s what I said yesterday or the day before, it is going to be the 11th, because he had to travel, as you know.
Question: Yesterday it became clear that the Secretary-General was closing down the office in Kampala with [Joaquin Alberto] Chissano, who is done six months earlier. Does that mean that the UN has resigned itself to believing that the arrest of [Joseph] Kony is the only way to move forward?
Spokesperson: Well, I think it’s a fact that, you know, what is happening on the ground… Mr. Kony has never shown up to sign the agreement, I think is definitely a factor. Mr. Chissano really cannot do much more than he has already done. We’re not resigning ourselves to the fact, but we’re just saying that there is no point in trying to keep the office open if nothing is happening.
Question: Can’t the UN arrest him, or what…?
Spokesperson: The UN does not have the power to arrest anyone.
Question: On North Korea, the spokesman there of the UN system in Pyongyang says that there are some indications that access to the provinces in the north-east may be restricted to UN agencies by the DPRK. Is that something that other agencies beyond UNICEF have suffered? What’s the UN’s read of, given the statement by the Government, of its humanitarian access? Does it have access to the whole country or not?
Spokesperson: As far as I know, we have not been informed of a blanket decision concerning the movement of UN personnel. If there is more, I’ll let you know.
Question: And on the trial that began today of American journalists there, has the Secretary-General have anything to say and now trial?
Spokesperson: No, he is just watching developments there.
Question: And what you read about Mr. Nambiar, I mean, thanks for getting an answer. What left me unclear is that it said he passed on the assurances. Is it the UN’s understanding that the individuals to whom he passed on the assurances are now dead, and, if so, has the UN conducted any inquiry to find out who killed them?
Spokesperson: Well, there is nothing we can do. As you know, there was no way for Mr. Nambiar [to go to the conflict area]. And it was a decision by the Sri Lankan Government [to give access or not to that area].
Question: Has the UN continued to ask for access to what was called conflict zones, given reports that there are still bodies being buried or otherwise being concealed?
Spokesperson: We have been [asking] over and over again. As you know, we cannot ourselves decide to go there.
Question: Okay. Yesterday, I had asked if Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari had any, either anything to say or had done anything regarding the trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Were you able to get a response on that?
Spokesperson: The Secretary-General’s position has not changed. There was a statement on 14 May, and he indicated his grave concern about the situation. He clearly urged the authorities to refrain from any actions that could undermine the national reconciliation process in Myanmar. And again from his last statement, he reiterated his conviction that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners in Myanmar should be released without delay and allowed to participate freely in the political process. That is really what I can say.
Correspondent: I just want to say the reason I asked, I was asking about your quote, I wasn’t trying to get anything personal, but I think that if there is a quote that, to me, is not factual, I am going to ask you what [inaudible].
Spokesperson: Yes, but it should… there are places to do that, Matthew.
Correspondent: That’s why I sent to you an e-mail with a… about the minutes on Monday, just respond to me in that forum rather than here. But for some reason it was never done…
Spokesperson: I didn’t get that e-mail.
Correspondent: And I also wrote to Ms. Kane, I wrote to Mr. Akasaka…
Spokesperson: As I said, this is something that we can discuss if you want to. Thank you. Yes.
Question: Yesterday, just out of curiosity, I was wondering, in Ban’s commemorative speech to U Thant, why didn’t he bring up Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?
Spokesperson: He brought up Myanmar, he brought up the democratic process and it was a speech about U Thant. It was not a policy speech about Myanmar. And he has already said over, and as I said, I quoted what he said about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in his last statement, which was a pretty strong statement about where we stood. Thank you all so very much.
Question: I am afraid I don’t have, or I don’t feel quite clear about the position of Mr. Ban Ki-moon towards the indictment of President Bashir. I know he expressed over and over that Sudan should cooperate fully with the ICC. But does it mean that he favours suspension of Article 16 or delivering the Sudanese President to the ICC to stand trial?
Spokesperson: Well, he said [inaudible] that he is not going to interfere with what is a decision by an international court. He feels that the decision by the International Court has to be carried.
Question: Right, but he said that he wants to fully cooperate with the ICC. So what does this mean? To surrender the Sudanese President or…?
Spokesperson: Well the details of what this means, I think, are something to be determined by the courts. Thank you.
* *** *For information media • not an official record