21 June 2001


Press Briefing


Briefing the media on security arrangements during the General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS, today's guest at the noon briefing, Chief of Security and Safety Service of the United Nations, Michael McCann, said that the Organization would be "open for business" as usual until Monday, when some restrictions would come into force.  On Saturday and Sunday, the complex would be open to the public.

Also responding to questions was the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, Sue Markham.

On the opening day of the special session, Monday, 25 June, special arrangements for media access would begin, Mr. McCann said.  They would remain in effect until the closing of the event on Wednesday, 27 June.  Most of the traffic and pedestrian restrictions normally used during summit meetings and special sessions would not be instituted, however.  First Avenue would not be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Entering the complex, correspondents should not encounter any additional restrictions, he continued, but inside some minor adjustments would come into force.  The 46th Street gate (the Visitors' entrance) would be the primary access point for everyone, including the media.  Resident correspondents without equipment would be able to enter the building at the 42nd Street entrance.  Print media without equipment would have access to the second floor at the Security Council area.  However, the area from the Delegates' entrance to the conference elevators would be off limits to the press, unless escorted by Department of Public Information (DPI) staff.  Additional security officers would be on duty, and rules would be strictly enforced.

A chart describing the security arrangements would be available to the press in the Spokesman's office, he said in conclusion.

Asked if there would be a special access line for correspondents to allow them access without delay, Mr. McCann said that there would be no special line, but there would be enough access points to avoid delays.  If the press arrived prior to the beginning of the session, between 7 and 9 a.m., they would have no difficulty entering the building.  Also, the building would be closed to tourists, and he did not think there would be a line to enter the complex.

To a question about the gate at 46th Street, he said that he did not anticipate a repeat of the difficulties that the correspondents had encountered during the Millennium Summit.  The entrance would not be moved from the Visitors' gate.  Arrangements for inspection of video cameras and other equipment were being made with the New York Police Department.

Responding to a question about media access to meetings with participation of various groups, Ms. Markham said that there was a difference, depending on where such a meeting would take place.  In the first basement, "we are trying to be as unrestrictive as possible to all media," she said.  As the hallways could be

crowded, however, it was necessary to be careful when "running through with lots of equipment”.  Media with equipment needed to be escorted by DPI.  Media representatives with valid passes would be able to attend open meetings in the basement.

Mr. McCann added that the area in the first basement was unrestricted as far as media without equipment were concerned.  The general rule was that before the beginning of the meeting, media representatives would be allowed on the floor.  When the meeting started, the media would be asked to leave.  Media representatives with equipment needed to be escorted. 

Asked about video and audio feed, Ms. Markham said that the media centre would be situated in Conference Room 1, where audio and video feed would be available from the plenary, the roundtables, the press conferences and some other events.

Was there any possibility that some of the roundtables would be transmitted on the in-house television? a correspondent asked.  Ms. Markham replied that the technical details were being worked out.  At the moment, the feed was just going to be directed to Conference Room 1, but she would follow up on that to see if it would be sufficient.

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For information media. Not an official record.