DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

28 November 2007

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

28 November 2007
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
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 Farhan Haq, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Briefing by the Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Good afternoon everyone.

**Security Council

The Security Council this morning unanimously adopted a resolution appointing Serge Brammertz as the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for a four-year term that begins next January.

Brammertz, currently the head of the International Independent Investigation Commission dealing with Lebanon, will replace Carla Del Ponte, whose term expires at the end of this year.  We had previously announced that Brammertz will be replaced on the Investigation Commission by Canada’s former Deputy Attorney General, Daniel Bellemare.

The Security Council then heard a briefing, in an open meeting, about Burundi by the Facilitator of that country’s peace process, the Minister of Safety and Security for South Africa, Charles Nqakula.  I believe that Mr. Nqakula has since come to the stakeout.  That meeting has just recently concluded.

** Lebanon

Speaking of the International Independent Investigation Commission dealing with Lebanon –- the Secretary-General this morning transmitted to the Security Council the Commission’s ninth report.

That report provides an overview of progress made by the Commission in investigating a number of assassinations and bombings in Lebanon since October 2004, as well as some of the measures the Commission has taken to prepare for the handover of its activities to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, at the time when the Tribunal will begin functioning.

** Sudan

Just to recap from yesterday afternoon -- all of you know that the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, and his Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, both briefed the Security Council in an open meeting.

Guéhenno outlined the fundamental challenges that UNAMID, the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping Operation in Darfur, is facing in the areas of force generation, the final identification of the force composition and bureaucratic impediments.

He said that, in order to overcome the current uncertainty, the Secretary-General is discussing with African Union Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konaré how to further engage the Sudanese authorities at the strategic level.  A strategic decision on the part of the Government of Sudan is necessary, Guéhenno said, if we are to achieve our common goal:  peace and security in Darfur and in all of Sudan.

Should the anticipated discussions fail to clear the path to the deployment of an effective force, the international community will be confronted with hard choices, Guéhenno said.

Jan Eliasson noted that factors beyond our control have impeded the Darfur peace process.  And in order to determine the course ahead, he said he and his African Union counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim, will be in close contact with the parties.  They plan to meet with regional partners on 4 December in Egypt.  After that meeting, he said that he would proceed to Sudan to visit the movements in the field and meet with other stakeholders.

**Timor-Leste

Meanwhile, the seven-member Security Council delegation visiting Timor-Leste today joined senior Government officials, including President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, at an official ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the Proclamation of the National Independence of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

The delegation also met with the Bishop of Dili and travelled to the western district of Liquica, where they met with local authorities, political party representatives, the national police and the UN police stationed in the area.  Discussions focused on the needs of the people in the district, including food security, the general security situation and policing.

The delegation also met with former Timorese Prime Ministers Mari Alkatiri and Estanislau da Silva.

** Central African Republic

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned today that Cameroon may not be able to provide adequate humanitarian aid to refugees from the Central African Republic, who keep arriving in the east of the country.  In that context, it called for more international support.

To date, more than 45,000 persons have come to Cameroon, fleeing violence and insecurity in the Central African Republic’s north-western provinces.  We have more on that upstairs.

** Liberia

Jobs for more than 50,000 people in rural Liberia will be generated through a road rehabilitation project that’s being run jointly by the UN Mission there and the national Government.

The World Bank, the UN Development Programme, the World Food Programme, and the International Labour Organization, are also supporting the project, which runs through next June.  We have more information on that upstairs.

** Rwanda

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has confirmed a number of convictions against the three accused in the so-called media trial.  Prison sentences for Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze were reduced from life terms to 30 and 32 years, respectively, for incitement to genocide, among other crimes.  The sentence for Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza was reduced by three years from the original 35-year prison term for participation in genocide and other offences.

Nahimana and Barayagwiza were founders of Radio-Télévision Libre des Milles Collines.  Ngeze was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Kangura.  Both news media were proven to have publicly incited extremist ethnic Hutus to exterminate ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in early 1994.

**United Nations Environment Programme

Some good news.  A promise made last year to plant 1 billion trees before next month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Bali has been achieved.

The Billion Tree Campaign was launched at the UN Environment Programme’s headquarters in Nairobi last November.  UNEP believes that the billionth tree was planted somewhere in Ethiopia; more than 700 million trees have been planted in that country as part of the country’s Millennium Commemoration.

The second largest number of trees –- 200 million –- was planted in Mexico, followed by Turkey, Kenya, Cuba, Rwanda and the Republic of Korea.  Half of the campaign’s participants were private citizens or households, who planted between one and three trees each, UNEP says.  We have more information on that upstairs.

**Stakeout Today

Javier Solana, the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, will meet the Secretary-General this afternoon, and then, at 4 p.m., he will brief you at the Security Council stakeout.

**Press Conferences Tomorrow

Also, tomorrow there are quite a lot of press conferences scheduled.

Starting at 10 a.m., Ambassador Carsten Staur of Denmark; Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision US; Sam McGuire, the Senior Vice-President of Ipsos Public Affairs; and Bunmi Makinwa, the Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS in New York will brief you on the release of a report revealing the awareness and attitudes of populations in seven wealthy nations towards those affected by HIV and AIDS globally.

Following that, at 11:15 a.m., the senior UN System Influenza Coordinator, Dr. David Nabarro, will brief you on the latest avian influenza progress report.

Our guest at noon will be Nicholas Burnett, Assistant-Director General for Education at UNESCO, who will brief you on the 2008 Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

And, at 2 p.m., the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court will sponsor a press conference on multilateral cooperation between the International Criminal Court and States parties during investigations in Darfur, Sudan and Northern Uganda.

That’s it from me.  Do you have any questions?  Yes, Masood.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  Farhan, yesterday, Hamas, at the conference, Hamas basically said that the Palestinians who were there in Annapolis, that they were represented by somebody who was not a representative of the Palestinian people and they basically rejected the… any findings of the… I mean any conclusions of the conference.  Would the Secretary-General, in his capacity as the Secretary-General, make any effort to bring Hamas back into the fold so that a comprehensive peace can be reached over there?

Associate Spokesperson:  The Secretary-General, in the comments that he made in Annapolis yesterday, did point to the need to, in particular, to deal with the situation in Gaza, and that also includes dealing with, obviously, dealing with an area that is currently under the control of Hamas.  At the same time, you have to understand that President Abbas is the elected President of the Palestinian Authority.  We continue to deal with him, and we have encouraged the process between President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert, including, of course, the meeting that took place in Annapolis and the agreements that they had reached that were announce there.  You’ve seen from what the Secretary-General said that the UN is committed to continuing to support that process.  Certainly we hope that all parties will try to involve themselves in this process and that it will expand further from there.

Question:  Before this conference, they’re saying the release, about the 400 Palestinians.  Originally there were like 12,000 Palestinians, didn’t they say, have been jailedby [inaudible]?  Do you have any information about how many Palestinians now in jail again?

Associate Spokesperson:  I can check, but the latest number I had seen from our people on the ground was about 10 or 11 thousand.  But you’re right, it has been reduced by several hundred in recent days, and of course we welcome any efforts by the parties to build confidence with each other.  Yes?

Question:  Thank you, Farhan.  A few points.  Now, Serge Brammertz was confirmed by the Security Council.  I was asking before, can you now confirm that there was some kind of opposition expressed through letters to the Secretary-General, or any other forum or organ here at the United Nations to his appointment?

Associate Spokesperson:  We can confirm the Secretary-General has received letters concerning the nominations of the various candidates.  As far as that’s concerned, however, the Secretary-General made it fairly clear that he had nominated Mr. Brammertz as his choice.  Mr. Brammertz’s record speaks for itself, and today the Security Council has unanimously approved Mr. Brammertz to be the Prosecutor.

Question:  Can you tell us a little bit more about those letters?  Who… they’re written by whom, and when and in which fora?

Associate Spokesperson:  It’s not my role to characterize letters that are sent by other parties.

Question:  Regarding Kosovo, is the Secretary-General having any reaction, direct reaction, or any feeling he would like to express regarding the stalemate on Kosovo talks?  It’s obvious that they failed.

Associate Spokesperson:  As far as that goes, it’s obvious, at this point that the talks are in a difficult stage, but what we are doing is encouraging the Troika to do all they can to stay engaged in the process, and to do what they can to forge a consensus before the deadline.

Question:  Does the Secretary-General still believe that the compromise is possible?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes.  Yes, Matthew?

Question:  Sure.  Two questions.  One is, does the Prime Minister of Thailand, who said that Ban Ki-moon is going to be visiting him, but that Burma will not be discussed.  Is that something that the Secretary-General has either, you know, consented to or… what is his objective… In going to Thailand, does he anticipate raising issues about Myanmar/Burma?

Associate Spokesperson:  Certainly, issues like that could be raised.  Since this will be a tête-à-tête meeting, we certainly won’t say clearly in advance what the agenda of the meeting will be, but a number of topics could easily come up.  That certainly is one of the topics that could come up.

Question:  I’m only asking because he said publicly, and been quoted in the press in Thailand, as saying Myanmar won’t come up.  So I wanted to make sure that that’s not something that…

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, we’ve seen the media reports, but, certainly, that’s something that could come up.

Question:  I wanted to ask about the… yesterday I had just asked a pretty simple question on whether this PAE contractor, the one that was chosen “no-bid” in Darfur, in fact got the Congo air field services contract?  That seems like a fair, factual question.  Can you say if they got that contract?  It’s a new question.

Associate Spokesperson:  About air field support?

Correspondent:  Correct

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, regarding that, what we were told by procurement is that this is a closed case, since it was never acted upon by the Headquarters Committee on Contracts.  It was submitted to that Committee in June of 2007, but was not reviewed by the Committee, as the contract strategy changed between June and October, when the Contracts Committee made a final contract recommendation to the Controller.  So the case was determined to be irrelevant.

Question:  So who got the contract?  Who is providing air field support in Congo, for how much, given that the minutes are public, showing that they…  You see what I mean?  That was the question.  Who’s doing it?

Associate Spokesperson:  I’ve given you the information I have, which is, again, to recap, that the contract strategy did change and the information that you had raised pertains to a case that was determined to be irrelevant given the change of that.

Question:  And can I…  About a week ago it had been said that the Department of Field Support, or someone, would come and brief about these PAE issues.  Is it still… when is that going to take place?

Associate Spokesperson:  It’s probably not the Department of Field Support, because they’re not the ones who handle.  What I have on that is that the Procurement Division stands ready to explain any UN Secretariat procurement activities, in particular, the rules of contract award, for which the UN applies best value for money in the case of a request for a proposal.  As we said yesterday, we will wait for the debates on the budget to conclude, in the Fifth Committee, and then… where the Secretariat will answer questions raised by Member States, and then after that we can get a briefing for you by someone in procurement.  Yes?

Question:  First of all, to follow up on the PAE line, yesterday I asked what was… what needed to be done for PAE… what PAE had to do in order to get back on the vendors list after it was accused by OIOS of overcharging in the 2002 case?

Associate Spokesperson:  You mean just what any company would need to do to get back on a vendors list…

Correspondent:  No, I want to know what PAE had to do.

Associate Spokesperson:  Okay, I’ll try and look that up.

Question:  And secondly, will anybody be able to brief us on the Brammertz report?

Associate Spokesperson:  Not immediately, because it’s not out as a document.  At some point, presumably next month under Italy’s Security Council presidency, there would be a briefing by Serge Brammertz to the Council on his report, and we would try to line you up with a briefing, possibly by Mr. Brammertz, once we have that Security Council briefing, but all of that still needs to be scheduled.  Yes, so…

Question:  So wait, if I ask a question about it now, it will be treated as if the report is not out?  Is that how it would work?

Associate Spokesperson:  The report hasn’t been seen by all Member States.  It has gone to the Council members, but it’s not a document yet, so there’s nothing I can say in any detail about it today.

Question:  So, but it does mention, the report -- this is about past things –- it mentions persons who have recently been identified by the Commission –- it calls them “persons of interest” –- without actually saying who they are.  Is there any way to know which ones, since they’re referring to past persons… persons that have been identified in the past?

Associate Spokesperson:  Well, just to let you know, on that, what Mr. Brammertz has made clear, on previous occasions, is that his strategy has been to prepare documents that could be handed over, not simply to his successor, Mr. Bellemare, but eventually to a prosecutor, so that these cases may be tried.  Given that, his strategy has been not to give out names in these reports…

Question:  …but the reports have identified them, the question is…

Associate Spokesperson:  …but the information -- sorry, but you keep interrupting me –- will be transmitted onwards, first of all, to Mr. Bellemare, and then on to whoever is the prosecutor for this tribunal, so they will have the names…

Question:  But we can’t still hear about names of the persons that in the past… that in past –- I’m sorry to harp on this, but it does speak here of persons that in the past have been identified by the Commission, I mean, identified by the Commission, so, the question is…

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, and if you notice the first two reports of the Commission did include some names, so you can look back on them and see those.  Yes?

Correspondent:  And then they were edited out.

Question:  Thank you.  To follow up on Matthew’s question, what do you mean by “best value for money”?  Is it what the American company was thinking when they started to ask $750 million and then went to $250 million?  Were they thinking about “best value for money”?

Associate Spokesperson:  “Best value for money” is a procurement term.  When the procurement people are ready to give the briefing…

Question:  I don’t believe that [inaudible]…

Associate Spokesperson:  …they will explain to you what that means, but that is the concept that they try to act upon.  They can explain it further when they can brief you.  Yes, Jonathan?

Question:  While we’re on the topic of competitive bids and what not, there’s a lot of talk out in, certainly on the Internet and other sites, and articles, about UNDP and the, some three point, three and a half, $3.6 billion that’s been doled out in contracts, nearly half of those, in fact more than half of those, I think $1.9 billion were given without competitive bids, and I was wondering if you could address that issue and why that practice is done.  Why there would be waivers on competitive bids on such a large scale?

Associate Spokesperson:  I can’t.  I’d suggest that you talk to UNDP about the specifics behind those particular transactions.  Mr. Abbadi.

Question:  How satisfied is the Secretary-General with the outcome of the Annapolis Peace Conference, in addition to the communiqué?  And does he have any reaction regarding the appointment by President Bush of a senior army general to follow up the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes.  The Secretary-General is very satisfied with the meeting.  I think his remarks yesterday speak for themselves.  He believed that it was historic and certainly an initiative that deserved support from all of the relevant global partners.  To that end, the Quartet parties on Monday agreed to meet next month to discuss follow-up to the proceedings in Annapolis and, hopefully, we’ll have something more to tell you in the coming days about when the Quartet might meet next.  As for the appointment by the U.S. Government of someone, the Secretary-General yesterday also did remark about the idea of having a standing committee, and also having a Quartet role in follow-up that would be complementary to the work of the trilateral mechanism.  So he is encouraged by anything that helps move along the process of making sure that the parties live up to their commitments.  Yes?

Question:  Just on Shebaa Farms, I know that the UN was involved in associated cartography issues.  Where are we now with the UN operation in trying to work as a mediator to resolve that conflict?

Associate Spokesperson:  You saw, a few weeks ago, in our last report on the implementation of resolution 1701, we provided in that, a geographical definition of the area of Shebaa Farms that was provided by our cartographer, so that’s included in a couple of paragraphs in the report itself.  What we hope is that this can serve as a basis for the parties to deal with the issue among themselves.  Of course, we do not negotiate for the parties about the status of a territory, but we did help to define it, and that’s a jumping off point for their agreement.

Question:  This is follow-up.  Will there be some sort of more, I guess the word would be, proactive role that the UN might call and bring in the parties together, now that these findings are available, and the good services are being made available to the discussion, would there not be some attempt to try to bridge the parties?

Associate Spokesperson:  As always, with UN good offices, if the parties want and agree to such a role, we certainly could provide it.  Yes.

Question:  When you mentioned Mr. Ban Ki-moon believed in a compromise that can be achieved by December 10 on Kosovo, did you mean that he still supports Mr. Ahtisaari’s report and proposal for the independence of Kosovo, or are you referring to something else?

Associate Spokesperson:  What I was referring to is the work that’s being done by the Troika.  It’s the Troika who are currently dealing with the parties and trying to forge a consensus, and he continues to encourage them to do so.  And, of course, they will report back to him.  Yes.

Correspondent:  The Troika is expressing not that kind of optimism.

Associate Spokesperson:  It’s not necessarily an optimistic time, but nonetheless, we haven’t given up, nor do we think that it’s time for the parties or the Troika to give up.  We have some time left to go.

Question:  Can I follow up the question?

Associate Spokesperson:  I think Linda had her hand up before you.

Question:  Farhan, two questions:  one regarding the Quartet.  Is there a sense that the meeting could take place here in December at the United Nations, or no locale has been decided?

Associate Spokesperson:  I think we’ll have more information on the locale to give you later, but I don’t think it will be here, no.

Question:  And another question, following up on Shebaa Farms.  I just want to clarify that the UN cartographers put the position, basically, of the United Nations is that Shebaa Farms belongs to Syria and not Lebanon, correct?

Associate Spokesperson:  We didn’t determine whose status it was.  This is something that ultimately needs to be decided by the respective Governments.  What we did was to define, in the report itself, where the territory extends from:  what its geographical dimensions are.  I’d just refer you to the report.

Question:  A follow-up on that.  I thought that –- maybe, I don’t remember it correctly –- that in 2000, the UN was asked to use its good offices to verify that Israel withdrew from all of Lebanon, and it did so?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, it did.  And at that point the Security Council had a resolution to that effect.  Yes.

Question:  So, in that case, what Linda asked was a correct question, that the UN has determined that Shebaa Farm is Syria.

Associate Spokesperson:  I believe, at that point, that what was said was that the UN had determined that the area in question was within the area of operations of the UN Disengagement Observer Force.  At the same time, remember…

Question:  [inaudible] that Israel withdrew from all of Lebanon.

Associate Spokesperson:  To repeat, the UN does not determine the status of a territory between States; it’s States who determine it.

Question:  So what’s the Blue Line?  Define the term “Blue Line”.

Associate Spokesperson:  The Blue Line…

Question:  And who determined what the Blue Line was?

Associate Spokesperson:  The Blue Line was drawn, to get back into historical argument, I imagine, the Blue Line was drawn for the simple purpose of making sure that a Security Council resolution had been complied with.  It was for that purpose.  It was not intended to fill the place of negotiations between parties, between Member States, about what their common border would be.  It’s States who set their borders, not the United Nations.  Yes?

Question:  But what was the Security Council resolution that the United Nations asked to determine was about?

Associate Spokesperson:  I can refer you back to the text, resolution 425. Yes?

Question:  Tony Blair has taken a leadership position with the Quartet.  Did the Secretary-General have any one-on-one discussions, and can you characterize any of those that might have happened yesterday?

Associate Spokesperson:  With…

Question:  With Tony Blair?

Associate Spokesperson:  With Mr. Blair?  No, he was not able to meet bilaterally with Mr. Blair yesterday.  Yes?

Question:  Farhan, any more comments than yesterday on those… on the lawsuit that was filed after the immunity was lifted on UN by the local court in the Netherlands?

Associate Spokesperson:  I don’t have any comment on the local court ruling.

Question:  Can I ask you, then, is that because the UN has a feeling that the, probably, the higher court, some higher court, when your lawyers are going to file a kind of appeal or so are going just to dismiss that, or is that kind of indifference that is coming from…

Associate Spokesperson:  I wouldn’t speculate or pre-judge what higher courts do.  I just don’t have any comment on the local court ruling.  Yes?

Question:  You are not interested in that?

Associate Spokesperson:  I have no comment on it.  If you ask further, I’d still just have to say I have no comment.

Question:  I’m just asking that question.

Associate Spokesperson:  Okay.

Question:  I just have a follow-up on the Srebrenica issue.  When does the UN decide whether it’s going to say, no, we’re not going to do this; it’s immunity; we have immunity.  I mean, when do they… when does the Organization engage in a dialogue… you know, is a response an immediate, you know, doors are closed; we have an immunity, no discussion, sorry, go away, don’t want to talk to you again, or is there a policy of having the door open, at least have some initial discussion of the issue to try to find out whether there’s a way to perhaps bridge the difference, or at least accommodate some of the concerns of the party that feels aggrieved?

Associate Spokesperson:  The UN has a policy on its own immunity that’s written out, spelled out very clearly in our own conventions and treaties dealing with privileges and immunities.  From time to time, those privileges and immunities may be waived in the interest of the Organization, and we’ve done that, as you know, many, many times in the past.  That’s not an issue that’s arisen at this point.

Question:  [inaudible] a follow-up.  I mean, it’s a court in the Netherlands that has found reason to proceed with this thing.  The Netherlands are a Member State.  Would there not be some deference, rather than immediately saying, sorry, we’re closed for business; we can’t talk to you; we have immunity; would there… is that…

Associate Spokesperson:  First of all, that’s not what I’ve said.  Second of all, I don’t want to pre-judge what the court system in the Netherlands will do.  You’re referring to one local court ruling.  I don’t know what the legal system as a whole will do over time.

Question:  A follow-up on that.  Just factually, not to comment on it.  Did the UN system make a filing to that court seeking immunity, yes or no?

Associate Spokesperson:  I would have to check.  I don’t know the answer.

Question:  If so, are the UN’s legal filings like, at the press corps here, can we get a copy of what the UN files in court?  You know what I mean, just put it…  That’s, I guess, a request.  Is that… is it your position that the UN…

Associate Spokesperson:  First of all, you’re asking about a legal filing that’s submitted to a court.  I presume that, as with any jurisdiction, you would have to ask the court about whether they make it public, but I’ll check whether we made a filing or not.  Yes.

Question:  I just want [inaudible] yesterday, in the speech of the Secretary-General in Annapolis did not refer to resolution 242 and 238 as the basis for a resolution of the Palestinian… Israeli-Palestinian crisis…

Associate Spokesperson:  He referred to a number of resolutions…

Question:  238 and 242.

Associate Spokesperson:  …including 242.  No, no he did.  He referred to a number of resolutions, including 242.  Those remain the basis for dealing with the situation.  Yes?

Question:  In addition to Thailand, will the Secretary-General be visiting any other countries in the region?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, he will, but it’s still considerably early for us to make an extensive announcement about his travels.  One of those stops you already know, of course, that he will be at the Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Question:  [inaudible] policy issue.  The report yesterday by UNDP, the Human Development Report on Climate Change, you know, called for specific emissions targets, including for developing countries.  It’s been criticized by India and even by Dr. Pachauri, the UN’s IPCC expert on it.  What… does Ban Ki-moon, does he agree with the UNDP report, or does he disagree with the report?  What does he think of it?  It’s a UN report on climate change that now Dr. Pachauri has criticized.  So where does Ban Ki-moon stand on the recommendations of the report?

Associate Spokesperson:  We stand by the UN system’s reports.  Obviously, they have the right to publish a variety of reports with a variety of views in it.  We don’t have to sit as the referee between different officials about that.

Question:  That’s what I’m saying.  Does he believe that the developing countries should go to Bali with an idea of committing to targets for reductions of emissions or not?  Developing countries.  That seems like a key issue.

Associate Spokesperson:  The Secretary-General’s positions about Bali have been articulated by him several times in the past, and I can just refer you simply to his comments, which do not deal with that particular issue.

Question:  Since we’re not –- maybe someone in this room is –- but we’re not experts on international law when it comes to immunity, necessarily, and we’ve all read about it, would it be possible to have someone in to sit where you are and talk us through… you know, we can discuss the Srebrenica issue, of course, in the context of what we’re talking about here, but someone who can explain the UN’s position and… to help demystify this a little bit for us.

Associate Spokesperson:  I don’t know how much of a legal briefing you can get, but I’ll see whether that’s possible.

Question:  Is the UN legal team discuss, that you know, after that decision in the Netherlands anything?  Are you guys preparing your lawyers, or what you do?  Just to demystify.

Associate Spokesperson:  I did actually tell you several questions ago that I had no further comment on this, so it’s still…

Question:  This is not an answer.

Question:  Who inside the building is dealing with this?  Is this Nicolas Michel’s purview?  Is this…

Associate Spokesperson:  This is a legal matter, so the Office for Legal Affairs will look into it.  Yes.  And with that, I wish you all a good afternoon.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.