Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

 

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
OFF THE CUFF

This document contains remarks made from 1 April to 30 June 2002

 

(To find a particular subject, press Control and F simultaneously, then type in the word you wish to find. To scroll from one encounter to another, type Control and F simultaneously, then type *****. Continue to click on "Find Next".)

Press Encounter at UNHQ following the vote in the Security Council on the non-extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission In Bosnia and Herzegovina, 30 June 2002

SG: Good afternoon. I think you heard what I said in the Council. The Council Members are discussing the issue, reviewing the situation and where we go from here. And I suspect when they finish, the President of the Council will come out and say something to you.

Q: What do you expect? Is it roll-over in combination?

SG: Well, they are discussing the roll-over at the moment and I don't know what will happen. But I think what is important is that as I appealed to the Members that the discussions continue and the search for a solution continues, and a solution that will respect the Charter and the treaty obligations of Member States. And I don't think this should be beyond the creative minds of all these brilliant lawyers around the world to come up with a solution.

Q: What kind of effect could this have for peacekeeping operations and the UN in the future?

SG: I think it depends on what the Administration in Washington intends to do. As you heard this morning, they could have various possibilities. They could have said, "Well you can continue your peacekeeping operations but there will be no US citizens participating in peacekeeping", and that would have been one way to go. They've taken this route. Hopefully they will find a solution. If they do not find a solution, what happens to the other mandates that are coming up, including the one in the Middle East, UNIFIL? What will be their position? So I would hope that the search for a solution is fruitful, but without gutting the ICC, which is coming into force, and as you know I strongly support. And I have a statement coming out at midnight tonight and I hope you all look for it.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, is this whole thing troubling to you in terms of its symbolic implications for UN prestige and solidarity and the whole sort of future of UN peacekeeping?

SG: When I last spoke to the members of the press about the ICC, I indicated that the US has taken a sovereign decision not to participate in the court. But there are 73 other governments who have also taken a sovereign decision to participate in the ICC. And I think we should respect their decision as well. What I would hope is that the search that is now on will continue, and that we will find a solution. Because it would be unfortunate if the peacekeeping tool which has served the world so well, and we are going to need in the future, was to be hampered. And not only that, as far as the ICC is concerned, I strongly believe that it provides a missing link in international justice. And we have all talked about bringing people to justice who commit war crimes, who break international humanitarian law. And it is this same Council that set up the two tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia which are still in operation. It is the same Council which has asked us to set up a court in Sierra Leone to try people who have committed international humanitarian crimes. I think the Council's credibility and the Organization's is on the line, and not only that, how do we explain these contradictory attitudes?

Q: The positions are so far apart now, what will a technical roll-over of the Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina achieve? If they are so far apart now, what is three days, or 24 hours going to get?

SG: I've seen negotiations and discussions where people have been very far apart and it seems almost hopeless and impossible, and have been able to come together to make a difference, and I hope this is going to be one of those situations. Don't rule it out.

Q: Will UNMIBH be affected by this veto?

SG: If nothing changes, yes. We will have to begin dismantling the operation, but we will have to do it in a way that the activities in Bosnia, and the people in Bosnia do not suffer. They've suffered far too long to have to go through another one. Not only that, we had arranged to hand over the operations to the European Union at the end of the year, in December. We will have to be in negotiations with them to see if they can accelerate their preparedness to take over the operations sooner than anticipated and we do not know that. And in any event, to dismantle that whole operation is going to take us a couple of months.

Q: May I beg your pardon for one other question on another subject since your are leaving us soon here. You are going out to Vienna and then to Africa. With what sort of frame of mind do you go to Vienna for those talks in terms of your expectations and do you really anticipate you can come back from that trip with an agreement?

SG: I'm going with an open mind.

*****

New York, 30 June 2002 - Statement to the Security Council on the non-extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Today, the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina comes to an abrupt end, for reasons that are unrelated to the vitally important work that it is performing to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement.

 

The UN Mission has made a universally recognized contribution to the re-establishment of the rule of law and political stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina by transforming a 40,000 strong war-time militia into a 17,000 strong professional police force. But the State and its institutions are still fragile and under pressure from nationalist forces. Unless an agreement can be reached on an orderly wind down of the mission, the police in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be left unmonitored, unguided and unassisted. Key programmes, including the control of the borders by a professional State Border Service, a key instrument for fighting contraband activities and illegal immigration, will be left uncompleted. Further, the long-planned hand-over to the European Union Police Mission, scheduled to take place at year's end - when UNMIBH was expected to have successfully completed its mandate - will be severely compromised.

 

I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all the men and women in UNMIBH for their exemplary work, and to the nations, which have generously contributed their civilian police officers for this critical and complex mandate.

 

The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina are beginning to reap the fruits of the international community's assistance, after the country was ripped apart by war from 1992 to 1995. It would be most unfortunate if the premature termination of UNMIBH's mandate were to set back this process. It would be perceived throughout the Balkans as a diminishing of the international community's commitment to stability in the region. More generally, I remain convinced that United Nations Peacekeeping is an indispensable tool for the international community's promotion of global peace and stability.

 

I appeal to the members of the Security Council to intensify the high-level negotiations in capitals of the past weeks, so as to find a solution acceptable to all concerned that respects the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and treaty obligations of Member States. The world cannot afford a situation in which the Security Council is deeply divided on such an important issue, which may have implications for all UN peace operations.

*****

Kananaskis, Canada - statement at press event at G-8 summit, 27 June 2002 (as delivered)

My dear friends.

I am very happy to be here in Kananaskis.

 

This is a historic meeting, and Africans expect a great deal of us.

 

I should also like to extend my thanks to all Canadians for such a warm and extraordinary welcome.

 

The special needs of Africa were clearly recognised by all world leaders when they met at the United Nations two years ago at the Millennium Summit, so it is very fitting that the UN should take part in this Summit, at which the leaders of the G8 [Group of Eight] have pledged their support for NEPAD - the New Partnership for African Development.

 

NEPAD is a compact between African leaders and their peoples. This relationship, underpinned by a code of good governance, provides a platform for African compact with the international community.

 

NEPAD provides a framework for ending conflicts, for stemming the flow of refugees and internally displaced persons, and for improving the investment climate, a prerequisite for sustainable development on the continent.

 

If Africans really stick to the commitments they have made in NEPAD to themselves, and to each other, and if the G8 really carry out the Action Plan they are announcing today, this Summit might come to be seen as a turning point in the history of Africa, and indeed of the world. That is a challenge for all of us to live up to.

 

One clear indication of whether we are living up to it or not will come in just two months' time, when we meet again in Africa for another summit, but this time a world summit on sustainable development.

 

That summit will be held in South Africa, in the heart of a region acutely affected by poverty, by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and now also affected by a terrible drought, with a serious threat of famine in several countries in the region.

 

There is an urgent need to bring humanitarian relief to people in acute distress, and the United Nations and the donor community is doing its best to help provide the assistance.

 

But it is no less urgent for the world as a whole to learn the lessons of that drought, which gives us an ugly picture of the fate that lies in store for us, and for our children, if we do not find models of development that are genuinely sustainable - economically, and socially as well as ecologically.

 

Those issues are of extreme importance, not only to Africa but to the whole world.

 

By and large we know what needs doing - and we have known that at least since Rio ten years ago. But we have been too slow to act on that knowledge.

 

That must change, and that is the purpose of the Johannesburg Summit.

 

I hope very much that all the leaders who are here today, and those of many other countries, will come together again in two months' time to take concrete decisions about the future of our planet and its people.

 

Thank you very much.

 

*****

Calgary, Canada - press encounter en route to the G-8 summit in Kananaskis, 26 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: Could you tell us the meaning of the African leaders participation in the G8 summit?

SG: I think it's an important meeting and I'm extremely happy that the African leaders have been invited to come here to discuss with the G-8 leaders how they work together to improve the economic and social situation in Africa. The African leaders have come up with a new African initiative where they accept responsibility for development on the continent, where they accept to improve governance, the rule of law and to respect human rights, run transparent governments, and in return, expect the G-8 to work with them in providing additional development assistance and debt relief and above all fostering investments. So once you create that enabling environment for investment to come in and open up trade, these governments will be able to trade and work themselves out of poverty rather than live on handouts. And that's what they would want.

Q: Is this a threshold, sir, for Africa, and for the impoverished world?

SG: I think, yes, potentially it is a threshold if all sides hold to the bargain and the understanding and the commitments we are making here.

Q: Sir, in your recent release you have pinpointed four issues, saying, that increase ODA, the fight against HIV/AIDS, including peace and security and access for markets. And are you optimistic that the G-8 would listen to the statements you've made for those points?

SG: I am optimistic that they will listen. This is a follow-up to the meeting and the discussions we had in Genoa, Italy, last year. So we are not starting from scratch, and there has been quite a lot of work done in the meantime between the two teams, the G-8 team and the African team, and so I am optimistic.

Q: You are calling for action?

SG: We are calling for action, and the G-8 also is insisting on action. And so since everybody is insisting on action, we should see some movement.

Q: Sir, for the Canadians, is there a message about their Prime Minister and about our commitment to the world?

SG: I think the Canadians have always been very generous to the Third World and to my own continent and I think the Prime Minister himself has visited the continent and recently he has indicated that Canada is going to increase its assistance. And you've always been very supportive of development projects and humanitarian issues in Africa. And I hope that that support and that friendship towards the continent will continue. Thank you.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 25 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

SG: Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

Q: Can you speak to us about the significance of having this NEPAD component as part of the G-8 meeting, and maybe a word on Canada's role in pushing to make Africa front and center as part of this meeting?

SG: I think it's extremely important that the G-8 will be discussing their part with African leaders. The African issue was very much on the agenda at the G-8 meeting in Genoa last year, and at that meeting other leaders from the Third World were invited and the leaders decided to follow-up at the Canada meeting. What is important is the African leaders have come together determined to improve the economic and social conditions of the continent and are determined to improve governance, rule of law, regulatory systems and in exchange are asking the developed nations to work with them not only in increased development assistance and debt relief but also to encourage investments. And I would hope that this partnership will lead to a changed economic environment on the continent. But of course I would also want to discuss with the leaders at the G-8, the need for all of us to work together to resolve the conflicts in Africa. I think it is a prerequisite for African economic development. No one invests in bad neighbourhoods, and the conflicts really create the impression that Africa is a continent in crisis, and no one is going to rush there to invest. So we need to work very actively and collectively in resolving conflicts like the ones in DRC and Angola and others, and I'm hoping that we will get the support of the G-8 in that.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, former Senator Mitchell said this morning that President Bush's proposal won't work if it demands Palestinian reforms before requiring Israel to make any concessions. He also warned that changing the Palestinian leadership could backfire by installing someone more radical. Is this worrying to you?

SG: I think initially, earlier in the year, we had all indicated some reforms were necessary and the Palestinians themselves have indicated they want reform and have initiated reforms already. And we had also hoped that the reforms would not be a condition of the peace-process and moving forward. Obviously we need to sit with our colleagues in Washington, that is the other members of the Quartet, to determine how we implement the proposals put forward by the President. How do we operationalize it? Which comes first? Under what circumstances can one hold elections in the West Bank? In the current circumstances, obviously it is not possible. Would the Israeli withdrawal to the 2000 lines be a prerequisite for elections? Can you hold elections in the current atmosphere? And of course Senator Mitchell's concerns are something that we should take seriously. The time for the elections is not optimal. You could find yourself in a situation that the radicals are the ones who get elected. And it will be the result of a democratic process, and we have to accept that. And as I indicated yesterday with regards to who leads the Palestinians, it is up to them to make that decision. They elected Chairman Arafat. They are planning new elections and let them elect their own leaders.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, what do you think this speech, this outline, does in the short-term? I mean today, this week, this month to stop the cycle of violence that the Middle East is stuck in?

SG: I think it depends very much on how the parties see it. I think there is something in the statement for each party. For the Palestinians, the President reaffirmed the establishment of two states in accordance with resolutions 242 and 338. And I hope the Israelis and the Palestinians will have the courage, the wisdom, and the strength to seize this moment for us to work on the establishment of a Palestinian state, living side by side with an Israeli state in security. A time frame of three years was indicated, and I think it is important that it is done in a reasonable time frame or else people will loose hope again. You indicated what happens, how do they take it from there, and I think it depends on how the two parties react to the statement. And that is something for them to determine.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, as a follow up to the G-8 conference, what specific outcomes to you hope to get with respect to the NEPAD initiative?

SG: I think there are certain proposals, plan of action, that the G-8 has got. The African group had also met and come up with a peer review group and also criteria for political, economic progress, which they would review amongst themselves and I think when you put the two documents together, the two partners will be able to see a way forward. We are not going to go there looking for a magic success. In fact, some people think there will be major projects on infrastructure, and all sorts of things. I don't think it is going to be that. And one should not have unrealistic expectations. I think over time NEPAD has a great potential, if the partners work in the spirit that they have been discussing.

Q: Does Yasser Afafat deserve to be dumped by the US? You've talked to him on the phone. What is his mind set. Does he sense the growing pressure? Is there any panic, or does he think he can hold on as usual? What's happening with Arafat?

SG: I haven't spoken to him since the President's speech. I spoke to him over the weekend, and yesterday before the President's speech. At that point he was talking to me aboaut reform and measures he was taking to rein in terrorism. I don't know what his mind set is, but we have already heard that the Palestinians have indicated that while they are pleased with certain aspects of the President's speech, as to the selection of their leaders, it is their responsibility. And I'm sure Arafat will share that view.

Q: Sir, do you think that the plan that Bush announced is a viable plan for going forward and are there any particular things about it that disappointed you?

SG: As I indicated, we need to sit down to see how one can implement this plan, how one can operationalize it with specific steps and timelines as to how this can be done. And obviously we need to sit with our colleagues in Washington who came up with the statement.

Q: Do you have any aspects that you'd like to point out that may have disappointed you?

SG: There are aspects that one would need to think through and clarify. There has been a call for a new Palestinian leadership. What happens between now and until a new leadership exists? Do we work with the government that we have or do we create a vacuum? These are issues that I think are on everybody's mind and we need to work out.

Q: Is there a time schedule for a meeting and for an international conference?

SG: There is a discussion about a meeting at the envoy level of the Quartet: Terje Larson and his colleagues meeting on this issue. And I'm sure there will be other subsequent meetings. And I have been in touch with Secretary Powell, Mr. Solana, and I'll be taking to Foreign Minister Ivanov today.

Q: South Korea's miracle is over. Did you watch the game?

SG: I saw a part of it. Don't say that is why I am late. I saw a part of it. It was 1-0 when I turned the TV off. What was the final score, do you know?

Q: 1-0.

SG: 1-0. Well you were very impressed with Nane's shot the other today, but she wasn't on any team. Good, thank you very much.

Q: (French) Rapidement, vos atteintes quant au sommet du G-8, initiatives africainnes, avez-vous certaines atteintes concrètes?

SG: Je crois qu'on vient de créer une partenariat entre l'afrique et le G-8, et j'espère qu'on va pouvoir vraiement se mettre d'accord au Canada pour travailler ensemble dans les années à venir pour ameliorer la situation economique et sociale de l'afrique. Je crois que les africains attendent beaucoup de cette reunion et j'espère qu'ils ne vont pas etre deçu.

*****

Chicago, Illinois, 22 June 2002 - Remarks to the Rainbow/Push Coalition

Reverend Jackson,
Distinguished guests,
Friends,

Thank you for those warm words of welcome and the wonderful things you said about my country Ghana and the links between my country and the African-American community.

Your references on the forts on the west coast of Ghana and the west coast of Africa is something that can not be lost on anyone who has seen those forts.

Let me thank you for that wonderful welcome and for the opportunity to meet with you this morning. It's encouraging to meet an organization which is committed to the causes of justice and equality - causes that are at the heart of the United Nations mission around the world. Our struggle is one and the same --- for human dignity, for equality of opportunity, and for economic development as the cornerstone of global progress.

We all now recognize that to succeed in any of these global endeavors, we need to build new coalitions, bringing together governments, civil society, foundations, the private sector and organizations such as yours. We live in a world marked by great progress in some areas, and great suffering in others. Inequality within and between countries persists to a shameful degree, and if we are to create a safer, more stable world, we must close the gap between the rich and the poor.

This challenge is at the core of the United Nations' work - fighting poverty, protecting children, promoting human rights, and advancing justice. While we are committed to ending the scourge of poverty wherever it exists, we are focusing on those countries where the needs are the greatest. In this effort, we are guided by the unprecedented unity of purpose expressed by the leaders of the world in the Millennium Declaration issued at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations two years ago.

In that Declaration, the leaders made clear that if we want peace and stability, we must also promote sustainable development and apply our efforts to reducing the hunger, disease, illiteracy and poverty that are debilitating millions of men, women and children around the world. At the heart of this Declaration are eight Millennium Development Goals which will guide our efforts in the years to come.

And when I talk about partnership I was very happy to hear that Reverend Jackson say he was going to Geneva to work with the World Council of Churches and to Crans-Montana where they will discuss the issues of poverty and economic developments. I think these are very important meetings.

Let me begin by mentioning one of these goals - the eight Millennium goals- one that I know will have special significance for you: combating HIV/AIDS. In addition we must fight against malaria and other diseases, particularly in Africa. One million African school children every year find their schooling disrupted because their teacher dies of AIDS and in some areas teachers are dying faster than new ones can be trained. Increasing numbers of children worldwide are living in households with an HIV-infected member, resulting in an added burden of poverty, limited access to education, and social exclusion.

Two of the other development goals are achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality. These, too, are central to the overall task of development. In 2000, an estimated 120 million children were not enrolled in school, mostly girls. They will join the ranks of nearly one billion adults who cannot read or write - again most of them women. Yet, empirical evidence shows that babies born to mothers without formal education are at least twice as likely to suffer from malnutrition, or die before the age of five, as are babies born to mothers who completed primary school. And educated women are much more likely to make sure that their children, in turn, attend school.

My dear Friends,
We shall not defeat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or any of the other infectious diseases that plague Africa, and other parts of the world, until we have also won the battle for basic health care, safe drinking water, and sanitation. We shall not defeat them until we have also defeated malnutrition, and overcome the ignorance of basic precautions which leaves so many poor people exposed to infection. We shall not defeat these ills until we have secured a sustainable process of economic growth and sustainable development. And we shall not be able to secure lasting prosperity until we see an end to the conflicts in Africa. The United Nations is engaged in addressing every one of these challenges facing Africa, in a spirit of partnership and progress.

I have drawn your attention to these priorities of the United Nations because I believe they concern us all - Africans, African-Americans, Americans and citizens of the world. We cannot stand by idly and witness the destruction caused by the scourges of poverty, AIDS, conflict or intolerance. We are united by this bond - men and women, black and white, citizens' groups and the United Nations - and I am confident that the world can be the better for it if we work in partnership.

I believe there is a real momentum towards a change in priorities, at both the global and national level. The horrors of 11 September strengthened the sense of a common destiny, and people around the world are looking for strategies and solutions to the challenges that we as one human family face together. I thank you for your service and dedication to the goal of making our human family safer, more just and more prosperous one.

Thank you very much my friends.

****

Chicago, Illinois, 22 June 2002 - Remarks by the Secretary-General to community business leaders and representative of the Consular corps at the Rainbow/Push Coalition headquarters

Thank you very much Jesse [Jackson] for inviting me this morning and let me thank all of you for the very warm welcome and friendship that you've shown my wife Nane and myself.

As I listened to Jesse's comments about history coming full circle, I remembered how as a teenager in 1957 in Ghana when we got our independence and the excitement, the enthusiasm, the expectations and the hopes that we all had. I think as a young person that whole struggle for independence had a great impact on me. You can imagine that as a young teenager growing up under colonial rule and the struggle independence begins and your hear your parents and the grown up discussing tactics - whether its going to be possible, when will it happen - and suddenly it becomes possible. So you grow up believing that change is possible, peaceful change is possible, and all is possible and one should dare to make a difference and change. That's a message I try to give young people: keep hope alive, be courageous, dare to change.

When you talk about the history and the impact it has on us and the way it forms us.

On the 20th May [this year] I was in East Timor. Nane and I got there on the 19th for the independence of East Timor. When we arrived, the Foreign Minister came to meet us at the airport with the President-elect, Xanana Gusmao, and he looked at me - jokingly - and said "Mr. Secretary-General as of midnight tomorrow, you will no longer be a head of state." And I said "I will be very happy to give it up." For the past 2 and half years the United Nations has run East Timor and we helped them prepare for independence. So at midnight on 20th May I handed over independence to a free independent East Timor. It was a magical moment. And to think that in 1957, as a young teenager, I watched as the British government handed over independence to my own country. And there I was on Midnight on 20th of May 2002 handing over independence to East Timor. I think you all know the history and the struggle they went through and the thousands who were killed. […] But what was remarkable was the enthusiasm, the resilience, the tenacity of the people and their determination to take their lives and destiny into their own hands.

The next day I was invited to the first session of independent East Timor's parliament. In the Parliament, the President [of the Parliament] - and I think this is a lesson we can all learn from - said "we have all the leaders of all the twelve parties here this morning and the motion is that East Timor should join the United Nations. Party leaders, I give you thirty seconds each to make your intervention." And they respected it, they spoke within thirty seconds. I had the President of the General Assembly [of the United Nations] with me and I said I think you should carry this practice to New York. He looked and rolled his eyes as if to say " you want to get me killed?"

But we can do work in relatively short time. I must say that I was very excited to see what happened in East Timor and it gave me hope that change is possible, it gave me hope that people can take their destiny into their own hands and assert themselves.

So I'm very happy to join you this morning and I will have an opportunity to say a few more words a bit later.

Thank you very much.

****

Press encounter following Security Council closed meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, UNHQ, 20 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

SG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I suspect you all have my statement, so let's go straight to questions.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, in your statement you call for all the issues to be tackled in parallel without preconditions and for a permanent solution without further delay. Is this the plan that you would like to see President Bush adopt?

SG: Well, I think I have put forth my own idea as to how we should proceed. I know that there is lots of discussion in Washington and other parties have put forward their own views and ideas as to how the issue should be tackled. I hope at the end of the day whatever plan is adopted or put on the table, will tackle the issues that I have raised, because those are the core issues, and unless we deal with the fundamental issues we will not be able to deal with the problem.

Q: How would you respond to Israeli sentiments that they cannot begin to negotiate and withdraw and take back their settlements without some cessation of violence, in other words they have to have some sort of basic precondition of an end of violence?

SG: I don't know if it's a precondition. Obviously I am also in favour of seeing the violence cease. There has been quite a lot of talk about ceasefire but we have also seen many of these conflicts where a ceasefire, a cessation [of hostilities] is embedded in a political process. You have to tackle these issues. Over the past twenty months we have talked about ceasefire first, seven days of cessation of hostilities - it's not led us anywhere. You have to give both parties a sense that you are determined and moving ahead to tackle the issues, and of course security is extremely important for the Israelis, but for the Palestinians, the end of the occupation is essential. That is also important. All these issues are on the table, as well as the deplorable economic conditions which I referred to.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, as the Iraq talks loom once again, in Vienna, how would you characterise the level of cooperation from the Security Council to Baghdad's wishes regarding some questions?

SG: I haven't got yet from the Council the answers the Iraqis - you will remember they submitted nineteen questions? We have been able to answer some of the technical questions, but their question as to what the future holds for the no-fly-zone and the U.S. discussion of regime change, I have not been able to give them any answers. And I am sure they would want to know when I see them next time whether I have any new developments on that.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, on the issue of the Syrian Foreign Minister. We understand that there was some exchange on the issue of terrorism. Could you comment on Syria's role - what the Foreign Minister said -- how he received your requests about the Blue Line?

SG: First of all, I think I would want you to ask that, reserve that question for the President of the Security Council, but I will say that he indicated that his government and the others in the area, as far as the Blue Line is concerned, have done whatever they can to keep it quiet.

On the question of terrorism, as I said, pose that question to the President of the…oh, of course, I see what you mean, he is the President - you haven't seen him yet, have you? Basically, he did indicate that, obviously he is against the killing of innocent civilians, but raised the question of the helplessness of the Palestinians, and indicated that they are not the only ones guilty of harming civilians.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, in follow-up to Richard's question, what specifically do you want to come out of the talks in Vienna in July? And there is talk that this would be the decisive round - how decisive will this round of talks be?

SG: I wouldn't know until I get there. I would want to see a decisive meeting. As I have indicated, we cannot keep talking forever. I would hope that we will be able to yield some results. I am looking forward to seeing the Iraqi delegation in Vienna.

Q: How do you define decisive?

SG: Well, I meant decisive in the sense that we would want to see some positive developments, I would want to see agreement that the inspectors would go in, and in my answer to Richard I indicated some of the concerns on the Iraqi side. But my main hope is that we will be able to make some progress on the return of inspectors.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, how seriously do you take the U.S. threat to withdraw participation and involvement in UN-mandated peacekeeping missions unless they get protection from the International Criminal Court?

SG: As you know, I am one of those who believes that the establishment of the Court is an important development in international law. And the U.S. has taken a sovereign decision not to participate, but [69] other countries have take a sovereign decision to participate and I think we need to respect these sovereign decisions. As to the discussions in the discussions in the [Security] Council on the exemption of U.S. troops from the remit of the Court, I think that is an issue for the Council to decide. But let me say that the Court will not pursue anyone who is accused of wrongdoing or crimes if his or her own government prosecutes. It is only where the Government concerned is unwilling or unable that the Court steps in. Under current peacekeeping arrangements, it is the governments who loan the troops to us who have the responsibility for disciplining the troops and punishing them, and invariably we send them back home for the governments to discipline. This is how peacekeeping operations have worked all these years. And so, really, I don't see a problem as far as the peacekeepers are concerned.

Q: Is it true that there may be a possibility of not holding the Vienna talks, and as you are in touch with the leaders in the region and with President Bush - do you think the events, the suicide bombings, and the occupation of Palestinian lands, are going to delay for a very long time that awaited vision by the President, in particular since you said that you thought that there is a necessity for a timeline [inaudible] and a timeframe as far as pronouncing final settlement. Can you address these three points, please?

SG: On the question of the meeting with the Iraqi government, the meeting will go ahead in Vienna. I am not in a position to comment on when President Bush will make his statement, but I think, like all of you, I am looking forward to the statement. I believe that the sooner we can put the conference together, the better. I hope the conference will be about substance, not about process, and that we can yield genuine results, with timelines, to give a real message to those concerned that the international community is determined to work with them to resolve the problem. I am using the word resolve - crisis resolution - and not management. It will be difficult, it will be tough, it is not going to be easy, but I think we need to move in that direction.

Q: As a former soccer player, what did you think of your wife's penalty kick yesterday?

SG: I must say, it's been an incredible World Cup, because all the favourites seem to have been knocked out, or most of them. And so you cannot take anything for granted. I am not going to put a bet on who is going to win because I am not sure I would be right. But it has been an incredible World Cup - I think it is a World Cup of the underdogs, it seems to me, so there is hope for all of us underdogs. Thank you very much.

*****

New York, 20 June 2002 - Statement to a closed meeting of the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine

 

Mr. President,

 

Your presence among us today, as representative of one of the States most directly involved in the Middle East crisis, gives added weight to the Council's deliberations. It could not be more timely.

 

The situation in the Middle East remains dangerously unstable. Many of those represented here today are doing their best to help bring peace to this region. However, in the absence of a renewed and sustained political process events will continue to be driven by those who are doing their best to prevent peace. Indeed, the steady intensification of the cycle of death and destruction has become the defining element in the daily lives of Israelis and Palestinians. Each cycle has been deadlier than the one that preceded it. As I have said before, we keep thinking that the situation cannot get worse, but it does.

 

Mr. President,

 

Since September 2000 the main focus of international efforts has been to identify a path away from violence and back to negotiations. Unfortunately, these efforts have not brought us closer to a permanent settlement.

 

The political, security and economic dimensions of the problem today are arguably worse than at any time since 1967. Surely, we require no further reminder of this than the deplorable Palestinian terrorist attacks of the past week and Israel's reoccupation of several Palestinian cities and ongoing incursions into other Palestinian areas.

 

Mr. President,

 

Allow me to take this opportunity to recall the fundamental issues at the core of the conflict. They are the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and the absence of security for Israel. Further, the acts of terrorism against Israel and the dire humanitarian and economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip must also be addressed. To find a permanent solution, we need to tackle all these issue urgently, in parallel and without preconditions.

 

First and foremost, any lasting solution of this conflict can only be based on an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and the withdrawal of Israel's settlements from it. There will be neither peace nor security as long as the occupation continues. Security Council resolution 242 identified the basic formula for ending this conflict 35 years ago: land for peace.

 

There is an international consensus on the establishment of a State of Palestine, living side-by-side in peace with its neighbour Israel, with both states enjoying internationally recognised, secure borders. Only an end to the occupation can make such a peace possible.

 

It is equally clear that there will be no political settlement in the absence of real security guarantees for Israel. The Palestinian Authority has failed to live up to its security obligations freely entered into in the Oslo agreements.

 

Even recognizing their limited capacity to act at present, the Palestinian Authority and its leadership must do more to de-legitimise terrorism among the public and to stop terrorists from attacking Israel. Israel has a right, like any state, to live within secure and recognized borders. Terrorism must be stopped --- once and for all.

 

It must also be recognised that the social and economic misery of the Palestinian people is a serious obstacle to achieving lasting peace and security. Living standards among Palestinians have plummeted over the past 18 months ---- more than two-thirds of the population of the Gaza Strip now live below the poverty line, as do about one-half of West Bank residents.

 

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the World Food Programme and UNRWA are feeding half a million people (up from 200,000 a couple of years ago) and have made contingency plans to feed up to 800,000 by late summer. This is in stark contrast to the economic growth that we witnessed only a few years ago.

 

Sharply declining living conditions destabilise the political environment. They also increase the hopelessness and sense of desperation that are so successfully exploited by extremists. Reviving the Palestinian economy by lifting restrictions on movements and injecting international assistance is essential if the peace process is to be renewed.

 

Mr. President,

 

I appeal to both sides to demonstrate their commitment to achieving the vision of two states enshrined in the Council's resolution 1397. A number of steps have been proposed and the international community should urge both sides to implement them.

 

The Palestinian Authority should take immediate and specific action to prevent terrorist acts against Israel. It is also important that real progress be achieved in rebuilding and reforming Palestinian security and governance structures and institutions.

 

The commencement of a reform process within the Palestinian Authority is an important step towards the establishment of effective, democratic national institutions.

 

The Government of Israel, for its part, should stop all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. Such activity is a fundamental obstacle to advancing the peace process and is also illegal under international law.

 

In recent days following further terrorist attacks, Israel has reoccupied a number of Palestinian towns in Area A. Israel should withdraw to positions held prior to 28 September 2000 and lift the increasingly severe restrictions on movement on Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

 

Furthermore, both parties must comply fully with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians.

 

Mr. President,

 

We must not allow progress made elsewhere in the region to be eroded, or still worse, reversed. The Lebanese border remains volatile, and it is possible that even a small incident could spark broader conflict. The United Nations position is clear: any attack across the Blue Line constitutes a violation of Security Council decisions and cannot be tolerated.

 

In June 2000, the Security Council itself confirmed Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in fulfilment of its obligations under UNSC resolutions 425 and 426. Attacks anywhere across the Blue Line, whether into Israel or the Shab'a farms area located in UNDOF's area of operations, are violations of Security Council resolutions.

 

I urge all parties, and the international community as a whole, to take all necessary steps to ensure that the Blue Line is fully respected.

 

Allow me to take this opportunity, in your presence Mr. President, to recall the need for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace on all tracks of the Middle East peace process. Such a peace must be based on the land-for-peace formula enshrined in resolutions 242 and 338 and it requires progress on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks as well as the Israeli-Palestinian track.

 

It is my profound hope that it will be possible for the parties to renew negotiations on all these tracks in the near future. The regional dimension of peace is no less important than solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Arab League's Beirut Declaration provides the vision and framework for bringing peace to the entire Middle East.

 

Mr. President,

 

Let me conclude by saying that the Quartet (US, EU, Russian Federation and the UN), together with key regional parties are already engaged in intensive efforts to overcome the current deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian track.

 

I believe all of us agree that the key lies in both reducing violence and establishing a clearly defined political horizon for resolving the permanent status issues. As the Quartet affirmed in Madrid in early April, these goals must be achieved through parallel efforts on the security, economic and political fronts. We need clear and achievable timeframes.

 

We do not have time to waste. The trajectory of events is increasingly ominous. We need to act decisively, and act soon to tackle the fundamental issues --- and to solve them. The proposal for an international conference, which I support, should be seen firmly within this context.

 

Let's be clear. Our objective is to arrive at a permanent settlement, and to do so without further delay.

 

Thank you, Mr. President.

 

*****

Interview with Rita Cosby of Fox News, New York, 12 June 2002 (unofficial transcript - for further use please contact Fox News Network concerning copyright restrictions)

Q: Mr. Secretary General, you've made fighting AIDS sort of a personal priority for you, why?

SG: Well, I think we just have to look at what this scourge has done around the world and it's more than a health issue. It's really, if you take a continent like Africa, it's not only taking away the present, it's taking away the future as well.

Some of the bright, dynamic young people are being killed and taken away by this disease. You have lots of orphans without parents, being brought up by grandparents who themselves have difficulties, and the pace of the infection is such that if we do not confront it, we will perhaps have about 100 million people around the world infected.

It is a global problem. It's not just an African problem. I just came from, this year I was in Moscow and the Ukraine and I had the opportunity of discussing this with the leaders and with NGOs in those countries, encouraging them to do as much as they can to fight the disease.

Q: How has September 11th affected the fight against AIDS, because the world has changed?

SG: Well, I hope what happened on September 11th, as much as we need to fight terrorism, would also remind us that there are major problems out there. It may not be in our immediate community, but if we leave other communities unprotected and unassisted with certain major problems, they could boomerang.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 12 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: Can you tell us about your meetings, your talks in Cyprus?

SG: Well I think we had a very constructive and useful discussion with the two leaders. As you know, I saw them separately, and then we met together. I urged them to really intensify their efforts and try and reach the end of June deadline that they set themselves. Then I encouraged them to try and at least resolve all the major, all the core issues so that we can begin doing some legal drafting after that.

One of them, Mr. Clerides, thought it was possible. Mr. Denktash felt he needed a little bit more time. But of course, we will have to reassess the situation end of June to see how much progress has been made.

You also know that Alvaro de Soto came to see me in Rome a few days ago, to also share with me his own assessment of what progress is being made. So we're keeping our fingers crossed and we're going to work with the two leaders.

Q: What is the stumbling block of these two parties coming together and to meeting your deadline?

SG: I think actually it is a deadline they set themselves. And I must say, in the last couple of weeks, they've made good progress on one of the core issues. And I hope they will move ahead and make similar progress on the other core issues. What struck me when I was on the Island, was how much people would want to see this issue resolved on both sides. It was funny. I had gone to encourage the leaders to make a genuine effort, but the people were encouraging me to stick with it and push for peace, which was also a good signal that the people want it, and I hope the leaders will deliver.

Q: Can you tell one major block preventing these parties from coming together?

SG: I think one of the main issues has been the question of recognition - recognition for the Turkish Cypriot state, which we believe that is part of the discussions, and one would only know the outcome at the end of the discussions. But Mr. Denktash would want that recognition status clarified as soon as possible. That is one. But I think we should be able to work around that.

Q: On that matter, do you have some sort of proposal or thinking loudly …?

SG: We did give them some suggestions. We did give them some suggestions as to how they can proceed and make progress without letting this issue be a stumbling block. And I believe they were sensitive to the suggestions I made.

Q: When, realistically, are you expecting a breakthrough?

SG: Well, I still would hope that they would make considerable progress by end of June. I will reassess the situation at that point and then perhaps I'll be able to answer your question.

Q: Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter at World Food Summit, Rome, 10 June 2002 (unofficial transcript - for further use please contact Reuters TV concerning copyright restrictions)

Q: [Can this summit make] a difference in the war on hunger, considering the low presence of Heads of State here from the wealthier nations' clubs, such as the OECD?

SG: I think we would have been happy to see many of them here at the high level, but what is important is what we do after this conference, what we do to implement the Millennium Development Goals.

As I mentioned this morning, we've had many promises at all these conferences. What we want now is action. And if we can carry through with action, and help the developing countries feed themselves, help them strengthen their own institutions and open the markets so that they can trade themselves out of poverty instead of living on handouts, I think we will be happy. One doesn't have to attend to do that, and I hope this will be done whether they are here or not.

Q: Should rich countries drop protection of there agriculture through subsidies?

SG: Oh, absolutely. I know it's a major political issue, but we cannot talk of free trade and truly open markets if we are going to do that. You put yourself in the shoes of a small developing country which can not export its agriculture products because of restrictions and tariffs, a small developing country that cannot compete on the world market even if it could export because the richer farmers in the richer countries are heavily subsidized.

And obviously one can say we do give them assistance, we do send in food aid, we do that. But the food-aid helps in the short term. In the longer term, it makes it difficult for the local farmers to produce and compete, not only locally but on the international market. So there is no point in giving with one hand and taking it with the other. What's the point of helping, for example, dairy farmers in the developing countries and then selling subsidized powdered milk in their economy, which makes it difficult to continue their production?

Q: Are you comfortable about President Mugabe of Zimbabwe coming here today, given the EU and US travel restrictions on him? The United States said that he is in part responsible for the food crisis in Zimbabwe.

SG: He is here to attend a UN Conference, and under the host government agreement, he has every right to be here to attend the UN Conference, irrespective of the EU sanctions against him.

Q: Finally, will the UN be taking a bigger role in the India/Pakistan conflict?

SG: Well, I've been in touch with the leadership of the two countries, and I'm also working with other leaders around the world, working to encourage the leaders to defuse tension. I think the encouraging news is that I don't either want war and that is the hope we have. But of course when you have a million men confronting each other, anything can happen. An accident could happen. And that's why it's so urgent to work with them to deescalate and defuse the tensions.

*****

Press encounter at the Russian State Duma, Moscow, 5 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

SG: We had the opportunity to discuss Russian-UN cooperation, and I took the opportunity of my visit here to thank the Speaker for the strong support and the constructive and active role the Russian Federation plays in all areas of the UN's work.

We also discussed the relationship between the UN and parliamentarians, and their organization, the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), and the important role of parliamentarians in this globalized world.

At the national level, they are the link between the local and the national, ensuring that the voices of all citizens, weak and powerful, are heard. But in our globalized world, parliamentarians have also become the bridge between the local, the national and the global.

And that is important, because in today's world, what happens globally has an impact on the local and what happens locally has an impact on the global.

So the role of the parliamentarian is not only important, but has also become rather complex.

We also had the chance to discuss the problem of the Middle East, between the Palestinians and the Israelis and talked about Iraq and generally the need to find peaceful, political and constructive solutions to crises around the world. Thank you.

*****

Press encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow, 5 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

President Vladimir Putin: (Translated from Russian) Mr. Secretary-General, dear colleagues, let me welcome you in the Kremlin of Moscow. We are very glad to have this opportunity to receive the Secretary-General in Moscow . And we regard your visit, Mr. Secretary- General, as one more step towards greater interaction between Russia and the United Nations. You know our attitude towards your Organization. We see it as a key organization in the strengthening of international peace and security. And today it is of special importance. Today, when we see a lot of local conflicts. And two of such conflicts are the most acute - one is the Middle East conflict and the other is the conflict between India and Pakistan. They were at the limelight of yesterday's meeting in Almaty. And your representatives were present there. Welcome once again, Mr. Secretary-General.

SG: Mr President, I am extremely happy to be back in Moscow and for us to continue our periodic discussions. And I want to thank you for the very strong support the Russian Federation gives to the United Nations and the cooperation between your country and the Organization. And I appreciate very much your own personal involvement in the conflict resolution, and you have mentioned two of them - the Middle East and India-Pakistan, that we are all working on. And I want to thank you for the efforts you made in Almaty to talk to the two leaders involved - President Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee. Of course, I noticed the press were treating you the way they always treat the United Nations. I tell them: the failures are always ours, but the success belongs elsewhere. I was amused to hear them say: President Putin fails to make peace in Almaty. But the actual situation was that the two leaders failed to seize the opportunity offered by the conference and the efforts you and other leaders made to help resolve the conflict.

President Vladimir Putin: Mr. Secretary-General, you know, frankly speaking, we never set a goal to bring them together. And moreover, during consultations with our partners many of them expressed the idea that today it may be premature, because the internal political situation inside both countries develops in such a way, such a meeting could throw out of balance the correlation of political forces in both countries and could be even counterproductive. And some of my Western partners who know the problem deeper did not even recommend me to do that. But it is important that they came to Almaty, that they were sitting at the same table, and the most important thing is that they both signed two documents - Almaty Act and Declaration, which register the principle of the resolution of conflict without use of force. And in my view it is a very serious and good development. And, moreover, during bilateral meetings both leaders gave signals that we cannot interpret other than positively, giving us certain hope. And I am ready to develop on this.

SG: And I did not expect them to meet. I agree with you that the fact they came was very important.

*****

Transcript of remarks at the meeting with Russian NGOs involved in HIV/AIDS control, Moscow Association SANAM, 5 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

[Following the presentations by representatives of SANAM, the Charity Fund "No to Alcoholism and Drugs (NAN)" and "Street Children"]

SG (question to the representative of the "Street Children"): What is your target age area when you work with children?

Answer by representative of the "Street Children": Four to 18-20 years.

SG: Thank you very much for this very good presentation. Do you try to get involved those who have already fallen ill into your activities?

Answer by an NGO representative: The majority of our staff and assistants are HIV-positive themselves.

SG: And I think that it came through very clearly that you need help. The whole society has to be mobilized, to get involved. And how do you see progress? Do you see general awareness, and that the leadership is getting involved? When I talk of leadership, I am not talking only of the political leadership - heads of companies, prominent people in society, teachers and others. And if you challenge heads of big companies, for example, to become engaged by starting with their own workers and their families, because really we have to work in partnership to be able to defeat this disease.

Remark by NAN Association representative: We are having talks with a very big oil company YUKOS trying to persuade it to contribute to such charities as "Street Children" and others. They understand that it is easier to make social basis healthier and make business than to just sell oil.

Q: We have a very serious problem here in Russia in creating juvenile justice, which practically does not exist yet. Could the UN help Russia with this? And how do you asses the level of it in Russia?

SG: That is interesting. We just ended a Special Session of General Assembly on Children. And I see my colleague from UNICEF is also here. It amounted to a very strong programme - "Say Yes to Children," a real serious campaign. Perhaps, we should be out for some 100 million signatures of people around the world supporting the effort to alarm people. Of course, different countries have different levels in terms of regulatory machinery and protection of children, but there are very good experiences and examples that one can share. I do not know enough about the peculiar situation in Russia to comment. But I will ask my colleagues from UNDP and UNICEF who are here to try and get some helpful material. And even in my own contacts, I will raise this issue with the leadership when I come across them. And of course, the legal basis for the protection of children is much easier to those of you who are fighting for their welfare. Once again, thank you very much again, and I am very happy that so many young people are involved in the struggle, because children listen to their peers much more than the old ones with gray hair.

*****

Press encounter following meeting with Mr. Sergei Mironov, Chairman of the Federation Council, Moscow, 4 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

S.Mironov: [translated from the Russian]

Ladies and gentlemen, We have just finished our meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. You have probably noticed that our meeting lasted longer than it was planned. It was a very meaningful and interesting discussion. We have managed to cover all major international issues, such as Middle East settlement, situation around Iraq, Afghanistan, conflict between Georgia and Abkhasia and feature of Nagorny Karabakh. We have also discussed such a painful and serious problem as AIDS. I am very grateful to the Secretary-General for his high assessment of Russia's contribution and effort to resolve the situation in Afghanistan.

Question to Mr. Kofi Annan: [translated from the Russian] What is the UN planning to do to prevent conflict between India and Pakistan?

SG: I think we are working very closely, I am working very closely, with other world leaders to try and help de-escalate the situation. And I am in touch with the leadership of both countries - India and Pakistan. And I've spoken to them as recently as yesterday. And I'm also hoping that at the Almaty meeting President Putin and [President of China] Jiang Zemin and other leaders will have the opportunity of speaking to Prime-Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf to try and help to reduce tensions and save us from any further escalation.

I am hopeful that the discussions in Almaty will make a positive contribution and we are coordinating our efforts and I would hope that none of us is contemplating a nuclear war. And both leaders have indicated that they will not use nuclear weapons. The Prime Minister of India said that he would not use a nuclear weapon and General Musharraf has also said that he would not be the first to use a weapon. The logical conclusion is that the two parties will not use a nuclear weapon. But we hope that even short of that, that there will be no conflagration.

Question to Mr. Mironov (after the Secretary-General has left): What other humanitarian problems have you discussed?

S. Mironov: We have discussed at length the problem of human rights. The violation of human rights is one of the most serious problems everywhere in the world. The Secretary-General and I spoke about human rights of ethnic Russians in Latvia and Estonia. We both agree that violation of human rights at the time of conflicts is the most serious problem. And now then the fight against terrorism goes on we must be very careful about human rights and all of us should keep in mind that there could not be double standards in this field.

*****

Remarks at the Chernobyl Museum, Ukraine, 3 June 2002

I was very moved by the exhibit. It's a tragedy that affected the whole world. And I think we all have a responsibility to do whatever we can to deal with the aftermath of this tragedy and to ensure that it does not happen again. Anywhere.

The United Nations and the international community will remain engaged in work with the government and the people of Ukraine to ensure sustainable development in that region and to assist those who had been hit by this tragedy.

It is our collective duty and responsibility.

*****

Remarks to the press following meeting with Foreign Minister Anatoliy M. Zlenko of Ukraine, Kiev, 3 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

[The Foreign Minister made a statement in Ukrainian.]

SG: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. I think the Minister has given you a comprehensive sense of the issues we discussed. And for me it has been a wonderful experience to come back to visit Kiev. The last time I was here was in 1984. And I've seen all the changes and to have such constructive discussions with an old friend, the Minister, who himself spent over 20 years in the UN, both in Paris and in New York.

We are cooperating on a wide range of issues and I was very pleased to have had the opportunity to go through some of these issues with the President and to be able to visit the conference on AIDS this morning, as I said, and to see that dynamism, the approach, the partnership, the engagement of the young people, including those who are infected by the disease. And as I said this morning, they have a particular role to play in talking to their peers, warning their peers, to learn to protect themselves, so that we can prevent, as well as to treat, those who are infected.

And just a few minutes ago, the Minister and I discussed about the possibility of a regional conference on HIV/AIDS to be held in Kiev, when countries in the region will come together to discuss this problem, share experiences and ensure that they are all taking steps to protect their citizens. It is going to take leadership, sustained effort and commitment and I urge you, ladies and gentlemen of the press, to be part of that struggle. You have power; you have influence and write about it and support the effort.

Q: [Translated from Ukrainian] Mr. Annan, how do you estimate a work of Ukraine in the UN Security Council?

SG: I think Ukraine did an outstanding job in the Security Council, participated actively with ideas and worked extremely well with all the Security Council members including the permanent five and me as a Secretary-General and the Secretariat. I know your Ambassador Valery [Kuchinsky] is here. And I do not want to embarrass him, but he was a very effective representative of Ukraine on the Security Council.

And I am sure you are aware that it wasn't a calm period. We were dealing with Afghanistan, the Middle East, with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and a whole range of issues. So, the Council was meeting almost every day. Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter following meeting with Ukrainian President, Leonid Kuchma, Kiev, 3 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

[The President made an opening statement]

SG: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I'm also very, very happy to be here in Ukraine on my first visit as Secretary-General and to have the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual concern with the President. As the President indicated in his remarks, we covered lots of territory. And I had a chance to discuss the democratic transition that is taking place in this country and to support the efforts of the government and people of Ukraine.

And I have noticed the desire, as I travel around Europe, of European countries to embrace one common standard - the standard that is underscored by democracy, the respect for rule of law and human rights, and the desire to create a common European home.

We also discussed the Ukrainian role in the United Nations, where you've been very active in UN peacekeeping operations and recently served on the Security Council. And your leadership in the Organization has been rewarded by the membership who recently voted you onto Human Rights Commission and ECOSOC [the Economic and Social Council]. I do hope that this cooperation will continue.

And we did discuss crisis spots around the world and the need for us to use political means to resolve all these problems and our differences, because, quite honestly, in most of these situations there's no military solution and the only way out is political dialogue and a political solution.

I think I'll pause and take your questions.

Q: [translated from Ukrainian] To Mr. Kuchma: Mr. President, you often emphasize the necessity of economic benefits for Ukraine in international relations. Ukraine has been a member of the UN since the very beginning. Can we say that Ukrainian membership in the UN is economically beneficial for Ukraine?

And a question to Mr. Annan: Are there any plans for the UN to take additional steps to stop the spread of HIV in Ukraine?

[The President responded to the question in Ukrainian.]

SG: As to your question on HIV/AIDS, I am very happy that the President is taking the lead in this and has declared the year 2002 The Year for the Fight Against AIDS. I think it is extremely important that the President is showing this leadership and I think the President cannot do it alone. It is a problem that requires the complete social mobilization of everybody. We should all get involved, and the unfortunate thing is its younger people who are getting infected by the disease. Yes, we, from the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, we had contributed about nine million dollars as the international support for Ukraine's effort. And the government is going to make its own contribution.

But I think we must all remain engaged. It is rising very rapidly and we have a chance to contain it and we can contain if we all work together. And when I talk of containing it, I'm talking about prevention and care. And perhaps we should try hardest to prevent the mother to child transmission which is the cruelest form of all transmission.

But the President has provided the leadership and I hope the men and women of Ukraine will join him in this fight. Thank you.

Q: [from the Ukrainian] To Mr. Annan: Mr. Secretary-General, there is an opinion that the world gives insufficient attention to the Chernobyl issue. What needs to be done, additionally, in order to remedy the issue?

To Mr. Kuchma. [from the Ukrainian] Mr. President, what do you think needs to be done both worldwide and in Ukraine to solve the issue of Chernobyl?

[The President responded in Ukrainian.]

SG: In fact that was one of the issues that President and I discussed this morning. I think that at the emergency phase most of the attention was focused on the problem. And now we should not take our eyes off the ball and we must remain focused, particularly in dealing with the human aspects of the crisis. We are going to remain engaged and I assured the President that in my own contacts with world leaders I will encourage them to do the same.

On the UN side, we've set up a web-site. And in fact the Swiss Development Agency is also setting up another one to create awareness and encourage the world to do whatever they can to assist. The Government itself is putting quite a bit of money into the effort, which I'm confident that if we use it more effectively and efficiently we will get much more out of it than we are doing at the moment. But the international community does have a responsibility - promises were made that have to be honored and I will work with the President on that. Thank you.

Q: [from the Ukrainian] To Mr. Annan and Mr. Kuchma: What is your opinion on involvement of Ukrainian peace-keepers in the Palestine-Israel conflict, and on responding to such crises in different parts of the world as UN peacekeepers?

SG: I think, as the President indicated, Ukrainian peacekeepers served in many UN operations. And if your question refers to whether or not if and when international peacekeepers are deployed in the area of the Middle East--I mean, we have troops in the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon--but if I understand you correctly, your question refers to whether we will deploy troops in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If that is the case, the Council has not taken any decision yet. If there were to be a decision of that kind, obviously Ukraine is a country with experienced peacekeepers and one of the countries perhaps one would want to look to. Thank you.

[The President then responded in Ukrainian.]

Q: [translated from Ukrainian] To Mr. Annan and Mr. Kuchma. In the case that the negotiations in Almaty won't be successful, what is your estimation of the potential for a nuclear conflict?

- To Mr. Annan. What do you think about the Ukrainian proposal to hold a meeting on the India - Pakistan conflict in Yalta? Do you support this idea, taking into account the historical significance of this city, and the fact that Ukraine holds a neutral position in this conflict?

SG: Let me say that I hope that the meeting in Almaty will offer an opportunity for all the leaders to talk to the heads of state and government of India and Pakistan. I don't think anyone would want to see a war in that region. The countries have wise leaders and I'm sure they themselves would not want to see a nuclear flare up. And I hope that the opportunity that the meeting in Almaty has offered would be used wisely and that the discussions that will take place there will pull us away from the brink.

I would not want to contemplate nuclear war between the two countries. And, as I've said, I count on the wisdom and the leadership of President Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee to ensure that we do not move in that direction. And I can ensure you lots of efforts are being made by leaders around the world who are in touch with them constantly to try and see what we can do to resolve the current situation. And I do hope that if we are able to resolve the current situation, we will find a way of getting the parties to get into a dialogue so that they can resolve their differences once and for all, and we do not come back to such a confrontation in three to six months time.

On your second question as to whether a conference on the Middle East will be held in Yalta - Yalta, of course, is a historic site. It had hosted, as we all know, other historic meetings, but I don't think any decision has been taken as to the date or venu of the conference. Thank you.

*****

Remarks at the Monument to Ukrainian Jews killed in 1941 at Babiyar, Ukraine, 3 June 2002

I wanted to visit Babiyar to express my solidarity with the victims of the anti-semitism and intolerance, and as a sign of my resolve to do everything in my power to fight the hatred and evil that so disfigure our world.

The unspeakable acts of murder permitted here half a century ago will always remind us of man's capacity for evil.

In the last few months, attacks on synagogues in a number of Eruropean countries have happened. These attacks should trouble people everywhere who are concerned about human rights and human dignity.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival at Boryspil Airport, Kiev, Ukraine, 2 June 2002 (unofficial transcript)

SG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm very happy to be here in Ukraine on my first visit as Secretary-General. I'm looking forward to constructive discussions with the leadership of Ukraine. And it is wonderful to land in such beautiful weather and sunshine.

I'll take a couple of questions.

Q: [translated from Ukrainian] What is your assessment of Ukraine's intention to join NATO?

SG: I think there's a development in Europe where the continent is coming together. And I think it is important that Ukraine is making these attempts to get closer to the rest of Europe.

And I think today all European Union [countries] are striving to share common values, values of democracy, values of human rights and governance based on the rule of law. And Ukraine is becoming an important part of that movement, and I'm pleased about that.

Q: Yesterday, you ordered the families of your staff to leave India and Pakistan. I wonder what the UN is doing today to defuse the situation and if you plan on discussing a role for Russia in your meetings with President Putin?

SG: Yes, I am very concerned about developments in the region between India and Pakistan. And I am in touch with the leadership of both countries and with other leaders around the world. And we are all doing our utmost to deescalate tensions in the region. And I look forward to discussing the situation with President Putin, who would be coming from Almaty where I hope he'll be able to speak to both leaders of India and Pakistan.

I'm confident that both he and President Xiang Zemin, who would also be at the meeting in Almaty, will both do their utmost to talk to the leaders in an effort to dissuade them from any further escalation.

The instructions for non-essential UN staff, to leave Pakistan and India should be seen as a precautionary measure and not as an indication that war is imminent. I hope we will be able to avoid that. And indeed, we should do everything to avoid a war in that region. Thank you very much.

*****

Extract from press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 31 May 2002 (for further use please contact Bill Varner at Bloomberg News concerning copyright restrictions)

SG: I spoke to [Mayor Bloomberg] last night to congratulate him on the event at Ground Zero, and also for setting an example for all of us, that you can organize a solemn event without speeches, and that silence can be very eloquent. I will try and see if we can practice it here.

*****

Extract from press encounter following address to Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UNHQ, 24 May 2002 (unofficial transcript - for further use please contact Sami TV or Norway concerning copyright restrictions)

Q: What questions are the most important in the indigenous work?

SG: I think what is important is that, first of all, the governments should pay attention to their concerns. The environment is extremely important for them and their way of life must be protected, and should not be disrupted the way it is being done in many parts of the world today. Thank you.

*****

Remarks at dedication of UN House, Dili, 20 May 2002

It is with great pleasure that I join you today to open the UN House in Dili. We are here today to celebrate the beginning of a new era for East Timor. A great deal of work has been done – by the East Timorese and by us – to prepare for this day. However, now that independence is achieved, the challenge of nation-building remains.

I am pleased to be able to say that the UN family is fully committed to assisting East Timor as it embarks on its new course as an independent country. The new mission, UNMISET, will focus its efforts on consolidating a stable environment. The UN agencies will play their role, alongside the bilateral donors, in promoting development and alleviating poverty. So Mr. Sharma [the SRSG of UNMISET], you have a lot to do.

I have long believed that by gathering UN offices under one roof, we will be able to improve the coordination and effectiveness of our work. Of course, coordination goes beyond the physical fact of sharing premises. I want, therefore, to say a special word of thanks to the UN Country Team for preparing a UN Development Assistance Framework which provides a common strategy for all the agencies working to help the people of East Timor.

Finally, let me say that our ability to work in a unified and coherent manner can set an important example for the people of East Timor themselves, as they strive to work in a united manner to build a stable and prosperous society.

I am proud to declare the UN House in East Timor officially open and wish you the best of luck.

Thank you very much.  

*****

Statement at the inaugural session of East Timor's National Parliament, Dili, 20 May 2002

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this resolution. I will be honoured to pass on your request to the Security Council, which I am sure will recommend it unanimously to the General Assembly. Membership of the United Nations is open to any country that accepts the obligations specified in the organization's Charter and supports its mission. Having seen the extraordinary support you received from so many nations around the world at last night's festivities, I do not anticipate any obstacle to your membership.

Apart from the member states you have many other friends who have worked with you, who are here with you today, from Sergio Vieira de Mello, Jamsheed Marker, Vendrell, Martin and Tamrat…all these people look forward to working with you when you join.

Today, the membership of the United Nations stands at 189 nations, large and small, rich and poor. On the floor of the General Assembly of the United Nations they are all equal. Indeed, I have long believed that distinction and greatness in the family of nations is not a question of size or power. It is rather a question of good global citizenship and the contribution each nation can make to the future of our planet.

You will join an Organization where nations strive to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations based on respect for equal rights and self-determination of peoples; to promote the economic, social and cultural achievement of peoples; and to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. I look forward to the day later this year when East Timor will be formally admitted as a member of the United Nations.

Thank you very much.

*****

Remarks at the inauguration of the International People's Park Monument, Dili, 19 May 2002

Excellencies, Friends, Ladies and Gentleman,

I am delighted to join President-elect Xanana Gusmao, Chief Minister Alkatiri and Foreign Minister Ramos-Horta -- as well as my Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello and Sharon Capeling-Alakija -- in welcoming all of you to this historic evening. Later tonight, we will all share in the unique moment at which a nation becomes independent. None of us is likely ever to forget it.

Those of us who have travelled great distances to take part in this ceremony have done so out of a deep commitment to the people of East Timor. But they themselves and their leaders have travelled a far greater distance to achieve their freedom. We are all privileged to join them at their hour of independence.

I want to thank each of the Member States represented here this evening -- as well as the representatives of the NGOs who did so much to bring the cause of East Timor to the world's attention for their efforts to help the Timorese people realize their dream of independence. Even though we gather to mark an East Timorese achievement, it could not have been done without your support and generosity.

I would now like to say a special word of thanks to Sharon and the United Nations Volunteers, nearly 3,000 of whom have served in East Timor. Nothing symbolizes better the spirit of generosity and compassion which unites us this evening than the contribution of the UNVs to this historic achievement. Thank you all.

Now it is my great pleasure to give the floor to Jose Ramos-Horta. As you know, he was the inspiration behind the creation of this park. Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival in Dili, East Timor, 19 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

Let me begin by saying how very happy I am to be back in East Timor. In less than 12 hours, East Timor will be an independent country, a moment of pride and liberation.

This moment belongs above all to the people of East Timor who have so richly earned their freedom. For the United Nations, and for me personally, it is a wonderful achievement that shows just how we can achieve a lot if the United Nations works hand-in-hand with the national community and its international partners.

When I first visited East Timor in February 2000, UNTAET, led by my Special Representative Sergio [Vieira] de Mello, had just started the immense task of helping the East Timorese to rebuild their country. Today, two-and-a-half years later, East Timor has a Government, a Parliament, a President-elect, and a judicial system. Children are going to school [and] the people of East Timor have reason to believe in a better future. The East Timorese, with the assistance of the United Nations and the international community, have made great progress over the past few years, but much work lies ahead.

The United Nations will continue to support an independent East Timor, and I strongly urge the international community to do the same. Only by doing so can we ensure lasting stability and progress. Today East Timor is ready to join the family of nations as a free and democratic country. But democracy and development need nurturing, by the East Timorese themselves and by the international community. The challenge continues and we must all remain focused on enabling the East Timorese people to feel a steady improvement in their daily lives.

I am delighted that the Government and the Parliament of East Timor, as well as civil society, are now ready to assume the responsibilities of leadership. I look forward to working with them in the future.

I will now take your questions.

Q: What is your perspective on the future of the East Timorese nation?

SG: As I have indicated we are going to remain engaged and we are going to work in support of the new government. You also realize that the UN is not leaving. We are establishing a new mission which will stay here and offer technical assistance and advice and work for the government…and we will work hand in glove with the new government and appeal to the international community to remain engaged and to work with us. So for us this is not the end of the road, we are not saying goodbye. It's a new beginning and we will be here to work with the government.

Q: Has the Indonesian justice system been credible in handling prosecutions relating to the violence in East Timor in 1999?

SG: Well, I've just come from Jakarta, and I had the chance to discuss this issue with the Government and discuss the need for us to look at some of the approaches that have been adopted. I offered UN technical assistance for us to push the process forward, and I think the Indonesian government realizes that it does have a responsibility to try those who have been accused of wrongdoing in the process of independence, and also the fact that the international community is keeping a close eye on it, and so let's work with them to press the issue forward. If your question is 'Is the international community ready now to establish an independent international tribunal?' or 'Have we concluded that one should be established today?', no, we have not come to that conclusion.

Q: The people of West Papua have petitioned your office for a referendum like the one that East Timor had to vote for their freedom from Indonesia. Are you aware of this petition and will West Papua get the chance for independence like East Timor?

SG: I am aware of the press reports [and] also the demands from some people in West Papua as you indicated, but let's be clear. East Timor is a unique case. East Timor was not originally a part of Indonesia, and the Indonesian constitution itself says that the territory of Indonesia will be the territory of the former Dutch colony. We have heard of the reports that you have indicated, and what we have done is ask the Indonesian government to ensure that the citizens and people of all regions have a say in the affairs of state…The UN respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia and we are not going to take any steps that will be seen as breaking up the country. So we should not be expected to create several East Timors out of Indonesia. That is not our objective. East Timor was a unique case.

Q: On the Indonesian justice process relating to the 1999 violence in East Timor

SG: First of all the process is being managed by the Indonesian authorities and as I said I had the chance to discuss this issue with them very clearly when I passed through Jakarta. We have also raised the question of the minimum sentences that have been given to even those who have been convicted…I am not in a position to discuss or to indicate which individuals should be indicted. I think that evidence and justice must follow its course. And if the seven people you named need to actually be indicted, and if there is evidence they should be indicted, then I think our main [inaudible]. But the process has been in Indonesian hands.

Q (in Tetum): Can you speak about East Timor's relations with its two big neighbours, Indonesia and Australia, and do you support the Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation?

SG: I think on the question of your relations with your neighbours, I believe East Timor is off to a good start. It is important that East Timor has good relations with Indonesia, with Australia, and all the neighbors in the region. And I am also happy that East Timor has indicated its determination and willingness to join ASEAN. And from my discussions with ASEAN countries, we are going to work and make East Timor happen. And I think once you've developed good neighbourly relations, you need not have to rely so much on the military to keep your border. There has to be cooperation between the countries and the neighbours, and from the indications I have had, this is going to be possible with Indonesia and with Australia. And of course, as I've also indicated, the draw down of the UN forces will be gradual.

With regards to the Truth Commission, I think it's an important step. I think it's important that we hear the truth and find out what happened and who did what, even if some of the people will be amnestied. We need to get that out, and I think, as I said, many countries including South Africa and some of the central African countries have clearly worked, and I think this is going to be a positive development.

Q: How best can you engage Indonesia in the war against terror?

SG: In Jakarta we did discuss this issue and the help that's been given by countries in the region to work together against terrorism. And in fact the President told me that other countries have indicated that they will join the three initial countries that came together to pool their efforts, and they are determined to work not only in this region but internationally to cooperate with others, and gave me the assurances that they will implement the Security Council resolutions on this issue. But of course what is clear is that to defeat terrorism there has to be international cooperation; governments have to work together, share information, and be determined not to have terrorists given any support. [Inaudible].

Q: Yesterday, Indonesia violated the UN's authority in East Timor by sending six warships to East Timor's waters without authorization. Have you rendered any complaint to Indonesia about their warships entering Timorese territorial waters?

SG: First of all I think there was a hiccup and a misunderstanding that we should not blow out of proportion. In fact, when I was in Jakarta I was posed the question [saying that I had] these difficulties. I said yes, there are difficulties, and now President Megawati has taken the conciliatory, wise and courageous decision to attend the Independence Celebrations and whatever difficulties have existed would be wiped out. And that is what precisely has happened, and I don't think we should blow this out of proportion, and we are all satisfied with the arrangements, as they exist now. And Indonesia has accepted the arrangements, that there will be a very limited number of troops. One ship has docked, and we have no problems with that.

Q: Do you think that what has happened in East Timor might be a catalyst for Burma?

SG: We've been encouraging the government in Burma to reconcile within the country and also work effectively with the opposition parties. We are pleased that [Aung San Suu Kyi] is free and will continue the dialogue with the government. And I believe that the process for democracy in Myanmar is irreversible, and I hope that it will be accelerated.

Q: For how long is the UN support to East Timor going to continue?

SG: I think as far as military presence is concerned, we'll probably be here for another 18 months to two years or so when we will completely withdraw. But that does not mean that our involvement and assistance and support to East Timor will end. Even after that I expect the UN agencies, the UN development agencies, UNDP, UNICEF, the World Bank, FAO, all of them, will continue their work for the indefinite future. So we will be around for quite a while. I hope you are not in a hurry to get rid of us!

Q: Upon its independence, East Timor will be one of the poorest countries in the world. About what areas of development are you the most concerned?

SG: I think in the past we have been very active trying to focus on rebuilding the infrastructure, trying to get health services and education back. And I think we should focus on health and education to build a healthy and dynamic workforce that will also be able to be supported. I think we should not overlook the agricultural sector, and we are also looking at projects that will create jobs. And of course tourism has also been mentioned. But down the line we are looking to the gas and the oil industry to provide sufficient revenue and jobs to the people of East Timor.

Q: Is there going to be an international tribunal if the ad hoc tribunal in Indonesia fails?

SG: That was the understanding at the beginning when we made it clear that it was the responsibility of Indonesia to put the accused on trial and organize a credible trial – and if they failed, then the international community will decide if and when to set up a tribunal. And I answered that question: we have not come to that. I want to give the Indonesians the opportunity to live up to their responsibility in putting these people on trial, including those that we claim should have been indicted and have not been indicted.

Q: Looking back at the UN's performance over the last three years, what would you do differently?

SG: Well, I think that the UN operation here has been quite successful, but like all operations we also have had some failures and some setbacks. I think we should have had more engineers and more technical people, local managers and planners who are used to working in the communities, to come in very quickly at the beginning. We also have to get much more resources to start picking out projects that would also have created more employment. And I think that some of these lessons that we have learnt also enabled us to make adjustments as we moved forward. Whether we could have done something differently at the time of the election [30 August 1999 Popular Consultation] is a question I think that will linger with us all for a long time. But we had an understanding where the government at the time would have responsibility for security in East Timor, would be there to ensure that there would be peace, law and order before, during and after the election, and this did not turn out to be that way. And of course we are all terribly disappointed with that tragedy. But what was important was that we did not cross our arms but accepted the challenge and moved very quickly to get international forces in and to work with the East Timorese to bring them to today where we are going to celebrate their independence.

Q: Do you see Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello as your natural successor given the relative success of this mission?

SG: (laughter). No, I think Sergio and the team have been remarkably successful and we are very proud of them. But of course as I said this is basically an East Timorese achievement. We are happy, and Sergio would agree with me, to have had the chance to help, to support; but the day belongs to the East Timorese. Thank You.

*****

Press encounter after meeting with Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda of Indonesia, Jakarta, 19 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

I think the Minister has given you a very clear indication of what we discussed this morning and I do not want to repeat what he has said. But let me simply say that for me it has been a great pleasure to come back to Indonesia with my wife and my team and to have a very, very good discussion with the President and the Ministers.

I was able to reaffirm the UN's respect for the unity and territorial integrity of Indonesia, and our determination to work with the government. And I am also very pleased with the very strong cooperation that exists between the Indonesian government and the UN agencies working there on the ground. We are working on a wide variety of project and I have assured the minister that the UN and its agencies are intent on working with the government on all aspects of social and economic development.

I would also want to thank the Minister and the Indonesian people for the cooperation that they have given us, and as I leave for East Timor this morning I am also mindful of the history and the period of tension that existed between the UN and Indonesia, but that is a thing of the past. As we move forward, I look forward to a very strong relationship between Indonesia and East Timor and the neighboring countries. Of course [inaudible] the government has taken very strong steps to build better relations with all the neighboring countries. And I think this is an era of international cooperation, and that that is the only way we can all make progress, and I am happy to see the government backs us very strongly on this specific issue.

*****

Press encounter with Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri, Jakarta, 17 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Thank you very much Mrs. President,

Ladies and gentlemen, let me say that I am extremely happy to be back here in Indonesia and I am grateful to the President for the warm welcome she has extended to me and my team.

I also had a chance to applaud the President's efforts in this difficult period of transition, and the competence with which she has managed the reform process and I think she deserves our congratulations.

I would also want to say that on the Middle East, we both agreed that there is no military solution, the only solution is a political settlement and we both look forward to a conference that will help in our search for a final settlement of this long drawn out problem. We have both offered our sympathy to those who lost their beloved ones in this tragedy.

We also talked about the PrepCom for sustainable development, which is going to take place in Bali, and that conference is going to be an important one on issues of development around the world. That conference will focus on water, sanitation, agriculture production, education, health and the protection of biodiversity. Obviously, it is not going to be a conference for and by governments alone. The private sector and civil society will be very strong part of the process.

I also had the chance to applaud the President's efforts to strengthen relations with neighbors in the region, not only with ASEAN but also with the Pacific countries, East Timor and Australia. I think this is a very effective way to move forward.

Finally, let me thank the President for her conciliatory, wise and courageous decision to go to East Timor tomorrow. I think it is a firm indication that we have decided to put the past behind us and look to the future and develop good neighbourly relations with all the neighbouring countries. It is something that I am very pleased about, and I think the whole world has taken note. Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter on departure from Cyprus, at Larnaca Airport, 16 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you had this commitment from both sides in the past. What makes you sure that this time they will respond to this commitment, and that they can overcome the difficulties that exist in this procedure so that they can come up with some sort of result by the end of June?

SG: Well, as you know I had separate discussions with them and then we came together yesterday evening, and I know that as I have indicated in my statement, there are some differences on the substance and on timing, but having spoken to both sides and analyzed it for myself, I believe that it can be done if there is will. And I know that Mr. Denktash has indicated that he felt that June might be too soon. But I think it can be done if the will is there, and I hope they will find the inspiration to do it. I think with [a] will and inspiration, we have been working on that, and I hope it will be there and I think in the discussions I had, my sense is that the two men can do it if they find the will and the timetable of June, in my judgement, can be met, if they focus on the core issues now in a spirit of give-and-take. And from the discussions I had with them and the encouragement I have given them, I hope they will move ahead in that spirit.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you had the chance of visiting both sides, you had even a tour of both sides, so I am sure you have a kind of sharp image of the kind of contrast between the two sides. What kind of feeling is that for a UN Secretary-General to observe by himself, by his eyes, the direct effect of an embargo towards the people going on for about 30 years?

SG: Apart from what I saw on the ground and I also visited the line this morning, noticing the waste and assets that could be put to good use if one were to come to peace. I also had written messages from people and I saw in the eyes of people that they would want to see peace on this island. It was interesting. I had come to encourage them, but wherever I went they were encouraging me and praying for peace and hoping that I can convince the leaders to find the inspiration to bring peace to them. My message to the leaders was that I hope they will find the inspiration and as I said, this is an historic occasion and we have to really try and do it this year and I think it can be done. And the core issues and these issues we've discussed for a long time, and I think if both sides were to move away from the entrenched positions and proceed on a genuinely determined basis, and on a give-and-take basis, we will make progress. But I feel for the people. I felt their desire for peace, and I can assure them that on my side, as UN Secretary-General, I and the organization are going to work with the two leaders to bring peace as soon as we can and I think this is the moment. That is why I am here to encourage the leaders to move forward.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, without playing with words, can we safely report that you have succeeded in getting the two leaders to work out a break-through so that there will be a draft agreement before the end of this year?

SG: When I left New York, I was asked that question and I said that one should not expect miracles from such a short trip. What is important is perhaps the message I leave with the leaders and as I said, having spoken to them, I still believe we can make substantial progress by the end of June despite the doubts on the part of Mr. Denktash and I would urge him and everyone concerned to really focus on the core issues so that we can move forward. I genuinely believe that if they focus on the core issues and put the interests of the people first and are determined to make peace, it can be done and it can be done this year.

Q: Are you prepared, apart from the inspiration, to put some concrete ideas on the table to help the two leaders find a solution by June?

SG: I have indicated to them that I am prepared to help them, to assist them and to facilitate the talks. My representative here, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, who is on the ground, will help them in the coming months as we move ahead, and I myself will stay close to the process from New York.

Question: Are you going to call Mr. Denktash and Mr. Clerides to New York for intensive negotiations?

SG: The main thing is that they have intensive negotiations and they can take place here on the island or elsewhere. If they do it on the island and we get results, they don't have to come to New York to do it. What I told them is that if they succeed, I will join them here so that we can all lift a glass of champagne and celebrate.

Q: Sir, as the representative of the UN, will you take a stand on the core issues of twin recognition of sovereignty for both sides. Is this on or off?

SG: As I said, the issues are on the table being discussed by the two leaders and I have defined the core issues I want them to focus on and they have indicated all issues are on the table. And therefore these issues are under discussion between them and I hope at the end of it they will have a solution they can both live with and we can all live with.

Q: What about you, sir - do you have an opinion on this?

SG: It is not my opinion that counts. It is the outcome of the negotiations which we are pressing them to do, because they have to come up with an agreement and a mutually acceptable solution that they can work with and we are here to help them, steer them to reach that conclusion, not to impose any ideas or conclusions on them.

Q: It has been said that the prospect of entering and membership of the EU will serve as a catalyst for a solution. Can it bring a more balanced solution?

SG: I think that when the two leaders came together in December, one of their hopes was that they would conclude negotiations for a reunited Cyprus to enter the European Union with the next wave. If that were to happen, it would be in the interests of the Gk/Cyps and the Tk/Cyps. It would be in the interests of this island and it would be in the interests of the region, and this is why I would want all of us to work towards that goal and I have also urged the neighbouring countries to sustain and support this effort.

Q: Certain press reported today that you are going back empty-handed. Do you agree with that?

SG: Well, the press seems to know more than I do. They seem to know more than I do because I think if they had listened to what I said on arrival and what I said before I left New York and the objective with which I came here, that kind of statement would seem to be inappropriate. I came as I said to press and encourage the leaders to intensify their efforts so that we can make good progress in the coming period and to offer to help them to do that, and this is what I came to do and I think I am going away satisfied. I am satisfied.

Q: Will Mr. de Soto remain the facilitator of these talks or will he be able to play a much more energetic and productive role by producing ideas, papers, non-papers or whatever?

SG: Mr. de Soto will stay on the island as long as it takes, and I think for the moment he's going to stay here until the end of June, which is the target date at which point we will make an assessment to see how far we have cracked the core issues and then look ahead. And of course, it is not just Mr. de Soto. I, myself, in the spirit of my Good Offices, will be helping the process along, so both of us will assist the parties as we move forward.

Q: What does "assist the parties" mean? Are you just facilitating or are you going to produce papers and help the parties overcome the difficulties?

SG: I think the negotiations have their own rhythms that you follow. And there are times when one does much more and there are times when one does less, and we will do whatever it takes to help the parties get to the successful conclusion.

Q: Mr. Annan, on the issue of equality and sovereignty, what can you do to satisfy the Turkish people?

SG: The question of structures and powers which I have indicated when I talk of governance, all this is part of the discussions that the two leaders are having and I think it would be inappropriate for me to tell you what I think they should do.

Q: From the positions the two leaders expressed during your meetings, would you say that you leave Cyprus more confident than you were before you came here? And that a settlement can be reached by June?

SG: I think a resolution can be reached, and I think I answered that question already - that when you talk of a resolution being reached by June I don't know how you define that, but what I have said is that we should focus on the core issues and be able to resolve the core issues. And if you resolve the core issues by June and begin to put them in writing, you know you're beginning to see the end of the tunnel and you're making progress. I am not saying that by June they should have a signed and sealed agreement, but at least they should be able to have resolved the core issues. Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival in Cyprus, 14 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Let me tell you how happy I am to set foot on Cyprus, and to convey my best wishes to all Cypriots.

The direct talks between His Excellency Mr. Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and His Excellency Mr. Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, have been ongoing for almost four months, at my invitation. Mr. Alvaro de Soto, my Special Adviser, is there to assist them, in the exercise of my mission of good offices.

The start of these talks raised hopes greatly, not only in Cyprus, but also in the region and beyond. The two leaders, without any prompting from outside, set their sights on June to achieve their goal. This target date, endorsed by the Security Council, is wholly appropriate if the chance which is now open is to be seized.

I follow the process closely. The Security Council, despite its large agenda, has turned its attention to Cyprus every month since February. I am concerned at the slow progress, as are members of the Security Council. Decisive progress is needed in the coming period.

I have come to the island to highlight the great responsibility the two leaders have undertaken, and to urge them to forge ahead with a shared sense of urgency and a willingness to compromise in earnest. I want also to discuss with them how they can move forward more effectively so as to resolve the main issues by the end of June.

This is an historic opportunity, and I am convinced that these two particular leaders, uniquely steeped in the history of this island, can rise to the occasion.

Let me say it once again how happy I am to be here. I will be speaking to you once again on my departure.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 7 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: M.Annan, onze ans après le premier congrès sur l'enfance, il y a toujours du travail à faire pour l'enfance. Quelles sont les priorités, pour vous, pour l'ONU, pour surpasser la situation des enfants dans le monde?

SG: Je crois que la question d'education et de santé est très importante parce que si les enfants sont eduqués, et s'ils sont en bonne santé, ils peuvent avoir un bon avenir devant eux, et ça c'est dans l'interêt de tout le monde dans touts les pays d'eduquer les enfants et s'assurer qu'ils soient de bonne santé et qu'on s'occupe d'eux. Et j'éspère que ce sommet, cette réunion, cette conference, va pouvoir insister sur ça.

Q: La même question concernant le sommet mondial de l'enfance. Quels sont les points sur lesquels vous allez evidemment insister?

SG: Je disais qu'il faut insister sur l'education pour chaque enfant; pas seulement l'education mais aussi la santé, et j'espère qu'on aura l'occasion aujourd'hui ou bien dans les trois prochaines journées à venir de se mettre d'accord sur ces critères essentiels.

*****

Excerpts from a press conference held prior to the "Profiles in Courage" Awards, which were given to the Secretary-General and to Mayor Dean Koldenhoven of Palos Heights, Illinois, Boston, 6 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Sen. Edward [Ted] Kennedy: Good morning and welcome to President Kennedy's Library.

Kofi Annan is a very special citizen of the world community, and someone whose leadership is deeply regarded, highly respected by all Americans and certainly by the Profile in Courage Committee.

At the extraordinary times in the past months and past years he has provided leadership for that agency and stood for the kind of values that President Kennedy believed in very deeply, most particularly at the time of September 11th he galvanized the international community in the worldwide support in fighting terrorism. In more recent times, galvanizing the world's community to understand its humanitarian responsibilities to help and assist the needy peoples in Afghanistan.

He was willing to personally challenge the world community and awaken the world community to the pandemic that was taking place in Africa, in the challenge of the global AIDS crisis, and now the world is gradually responding. He has been willing to take on sovereign nations in his pursuit of the issues of human rights and he has placed those issues onto the forefront of the UN agenda and now returns to the United Nations this morning where they will focus on the challenge for children within the world community, to awaken the nations of the world to our responsibilities in terms of the youngest and the most vulnerable in our country.

He understands that the process of peace, as President Kennedy did, is really a step-by-step process. President Kennedy said that, when he spoke at the Berlin Wall, "none of us is free unless all of us is free", and in a very important way and in small ways and in large ways he has been willing to risk his position as a leader at the United Nations to move the process forward for a real genuine and lasting peace, so we are indeed honoured to both of them [Mayor Koldenhoven] and know they will be pleased to respond to any of the questions from the Boston media.

SG [in answer to a question addressed to Mayor Koldenhoven about not being successful in building a mosque he had been helping his community fight for, and how he felt about getting the award for something that did not happen]:

If I may add, I am curious as to the way you define success, that because the mosque was not built, our friend was not successful, but he was successful in the sense that he helped them assert their rights, that they are citizens, they could build if they wanted to and really pushed it. If they had chosen to build and they had chosen not to go elsewhere you would have said it was successful, but in fact, asserting the rights of the individual and upholding the Constitution the way he did I think was successful.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, can you describe for us just some of the feelings you have about coming to accept the award that you will be receiving?

SG: It's a very special feeling I have. Last night at the dinner I shared with those at the dinner how moved I was when I first heard President Kennedy make his inaugural address and as a young student here in this country I happened to be in the Coliseum in Los Angeles when he got the nomination and therefore followed his career, and as someone who had just come through the colonial struggle in Africa, to hear him challenge us to do things for our country, not to ask what our country can do for us, but what we can do for them. And the possibility he opened up, that change was possible, change can be done, and for me it was reaffirmation of what I had gone through as a teenager, growing up in Africa, watching my country become independent, and feeling that change was possible, one can make things happen, and all was possible. And so there was a very special sort of relationship, and I told the guests last night that I was sure that those of us old enough to remember can recite in detail where we were and what were were doing when we got the news [of his death]. I was a young man working in Geneva, Switzerland, when the news came. And so he is somebody who has been an inspiration and a role model all my life.

Q: Did you ever meet him?

SG: No I never met him.

Q: How far back does your relationship with the Senator or any of the Kennedy family members go?

SG: Oh, quite a few decades we have known each other. And I see him often in Washington too, and Sarge [Shriver]

TK: We go back a long way. I think I was mentioning that Sarge Shriver was over in Ghana as one of the first peace corps countries. I don't know; I think Sarge remembers meeting you over there [laughter] I don't know if you remember meeting Sarge!

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you are receiving this Award in part for your actions after September 11th, in the war on terrorism. Right now the situation in the Middle East seems readymade for, let's say, next year's Profile in Courage Award winner - somebody to step up and do the right thing that might now be popular. People are looking for that person but it doesn't seem we have found them yet. Your thoughts on who is needed at this time?

SG: I think we have a group of people who are working with Washington, with President Bush. President Bush and the United States is the mediator of choice of the parties, but this is a major crisis and I think the international community is coming together as it has never done before in recent times, to work together on this tragedy in the Middle East, and you have recently heard people talk about the "Quartet", which is the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and myself, working together to try and bring peace to that region. Of course we would have to work with the parties and the Arab leaders, and now there is discussion going on in preparation for a Conference in early summer. I hope this teamwork will produce results, but let me say that the inspiration for viable peace has to spring from the leaders and the people in the region. The international community can help, but the leaders have to lead their people away from the disastrous course they are on, and move into the logic of peace, away from the logic of war, and I think the international community as I have described should help them do that.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, it seems to me that you have also worked to make this a more equitable world. I know it's a tough challenge, but where are we? And how far do we have to go?

SG: I was very encouraged on that front when in the year 2000 we had 150 heads of states and government and princes come to the UN to talk about what the UN should be doing in the next 15 years of this century. One of the top issues they focussed on was AIDS. AIDS and poverty. They have challenged us to reduce abject poverty by 50 per cent between now and 2015. I believe the resources are there. We have the means, we have the technology - the question is will.

What encourages me is that we came up with Millennium Development Goals, which all the international agencies and governments have embraced, so today we have a common framework for development, and I think if we really work together and maintain this onslaught on poverty, we should be able to help the millions of people who live in abject poverty, who are marginalized, we cannot expect a world that has some people living with immense wealth and extreme poverty and no one seems to bother. It cannot be sustained. We need to do something about this inequity, within states and between states - I think that is the challenge of our time - but what I am happy about is that the leaders have accepted it as a challenge and they want to work to fight it.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, where do you find your courage, day in and day out?

SG: I think the best way I can answer that question is to say that, first of all, I believe in what I am doing and the ideals of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I also believe that I am in a fortunate situation that, as Secretary-General, I should be able to speak for those without a voice - the poor, the weak, and I know that they need to hear some of the things I say. I am also encouraged sometimes, when you travel around the world and you notice that you or the UN has made a difference in one persons' life, or to hear people quote what you say and not go to jail. If they say it directly they will go to jail, but if they refer to, [or say] "as the Secretary-General said", they are okay, they are quoting somebody else, and so in many ways you give them a voice, you encourage them, and I think that cheers me on to see the hope in the eyes - to give people hope is something that drives me.

*****

Press encounter with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, accompanied by Hans Blix, Chairman of UNMOVIC, and Mohammed El-Baradei, Director-General of the IAEA, following Security Council consultations, 3 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, was there any progress during your talks with the Foreign Minister on getting UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq and resolving the other outstanding issues?

SG: We had a very useful and frank discussion. And for the first time since the departure of the inspectors in December '98, they brought to the table their topics, first in the disarmament area, and interestingly enough, I think Dr. El Baradei and Dr. Blix knew most of them and they were able to get the clarifications and discuss the future and where we go from here.

Yesterday when I was in Washington discussing the Middle East peace process, there were technical level discussions between Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei and the Iraqi team, and I think this is the first time we have this sort of thorough discussion, as I said, and we did move forward, and they are going back to report to their principals. We will have another meeting where I hope they will come back with further progress and constructive proposals.

Q: In terms of the next stage, what is your estimation on where and when that will take place and what is the next area you get into? How do you move beyond their questions, your clarifications, to what?

SG: We focussed mainly on, this time, as I said there were technical talks on the disarmament issue for a full day yesterday. We did talk about it on the first [day] and today also we have discussed that issue. I would hope when we meet next time, as I have indicated, there would be real progress on that issue. They have questions that they would want to get some answers to, which I raised with the Council. Of course the issue of the no-fly zone is of concern to them. And also the discussions about regime change, and the impact this is likely to have. I mean our discussions, if the inspectors were to go in, would it make any difference, and all that. These are issues on their minds and of course the answers to those questions have to come from the Council or specific Council members.

Q: As to the where and when for the next round?

SG: The next round will be within a month. I don't want to drag this thing out, and so I hope we will do that within a month.

Q: Here?

SG: We will have to discuss. It could be here, it could be elsewhere.

Q: Could it be in Baghdad? [Laughter]

SG: It's a big world. We don't have just two cities.

Q: How confident are you, Mr. Secretary-General, that now you and Dr. Blix have answered the questions of the Iraqis and that the next step will be an actual step from Baghdad - number 1. And number 2, there were some rumours in this building that Dr. Blix might be invited to Iraq, personally. Was that a discussion point this time around and what is the prognosis for that?

SG: I think the discussions this time round on the issues were quite thorough and I hope once they have reported back, next time we meet I hope we will be able to take some decisions, or they can take some decisions and come back to us with some positive news. On the question of an invitation to Dr. Blix, I didn't hear an invitation extended to him whilst I was in the meeting, but I may have to let him talk in case he got it directly that I don't know of.

HB: No, not even outside the meeting, but good practical discussions, yes.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you mentioned the no-fly zone and regime change. To what extent are these two issues keeping you from making true progress in getting inspectors back?

SG: We will know about that when they come back next time. Because, as I said, we have focussed on the disarmament issues. They indicated that they would like to get answers to some of the 19 questions that we three gentlemen were not in a position to answer. I did mention that to the Council also this afternoon. Q: Mr. Secretary-General, as for UNMOVIC, would the Iraqis be assured of a time limit on it, or would it drag on for ten years like UNSCOM? And would you tell us about the progress that the Iraqis have made concerning whatever accreditation or certification by the IAEA?

SG: First of all, there was one more thing that I should have mentioned to you, that I didn't. And then will let my two colleagues here say something about that question. The Foreign Minister of the Arab League called me to say that the Iraqis were ready to return the archives of Kuwait, the Kuwaiti national archives, and that he has also informed the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister. The Foreign Minister of Iraq did confirm that information, and Amre Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, indicated that they would want to work with the UN to transfer the assets back to Kuwait. I will of course also want to the Kuwaitis about it. If this does happen and the archives are transferred to Kuwait it will be a positive development and I hope it would help improve relations in the region.

HB: Well, the question was asked whether this would drag out for another ten years, and I certainly, for one, hope that it will not, but I had the same hope in 1991, I should say, when we started. I have advised the Security Council that if the Iraqis were to provide cooperation in all respects, then if you follow the resolution and if they make the progress that is required under the resolution, then one could come to a result within a time span of a year.

El B: On the nuclear issue I think, as you recall, in 1998 I reported to the Security Council that we believed that we neutralized the Iraq nuclear programme at the time, but during our discussion I reminded of course the Iraqi counterpart that we have been out for three and half years, and the major task for us, should we return back, is to make sure that the situation has not changed in any material way, for us to be able to conclude again, that the programme has been neutralized. Like also Dr. Blix, we have indicated, if we get full cooperation we should be able to move toward the suspension of sanctions foreseen under 1284 in a matter of around a year's time.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, what happened today, anything similar one way or another, to the discussion, to the Memorandum of Understanding on 986, which the Iraqis did not want to deal with, and yet implemented in effect in the Oil for Food…was there anything happening along the lines of 1284, similar to the MOU, and the second part is, you spoke to the Council of some of the questions that you three were unable to answer, did you urge the Council members to come through with answers? Where do you stand on that?

SG: I think the Council members know very clearly my views. They have the questions in writing. And we discussed it the last time the Iraqis were here and I have indicated to them that they are interested in getting answers on that. Let me, on your first question, we did not discuss MOUs. We did not really focus on specific resolutions, I mean, we talked about 687 but focussed on the implementation of their obligations and responsibilities under the relevant UN resolutions, and I think that was the important thing.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, have the Iraqi, maybe this is a segue to the next topic, have the Iraqis made the connection between their agreement to finding the facts about their weapons inspections and the Israeli part, and do you…

SG: The Israeli part?

Q: The Palestinian issue. And do you see such a connection in your mind?

SG: That issue did not come up. We didn't have a discussion on that issue at all. It was a very focussed discussion, as the two gentlemen told you. Yesterday all day, they had these serious discussions. One more question…

Q: On the fate of Mr. [Jose] Bustani at OPCW, did that arise at all in your talks with the Iraqis or in your consultations with the Council?

SG: No, it didn't come up, it didn't come up either in my discussions with the Iraqis nor in the Council. Thank you very much. On the Middle East I will take one or two questions…

Q: On the Kuwaiti detainees, you mentioned progress on the archives, any progress?

SG: No, we don't have any progress on that.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, on the Mideast and fact-finding, the Arab Group is now talking about convening an emergency Special Session of the General Assembly. A function of that might be to call on you again to resume your fact-finding duties. How relevant or how possible do you think it is for you to conduct a credible fact-finding mission now, in the context of a General Assembly mandate, given the fact that you weren't able to do so in the Security Council.

SG: Obviously, as you have seen from the correspondence I have had with the Council, I am disappointed that the team, led by former President [Martti] Ahtisaari, did not go in. They are also disappointed. They did give me a preliminary report which I will share with the Council. I think it would have been much better for everyone if they had gone in to clarify issues. As it is, I think the long shadow which has been cast over Jenin will be with us for a while. I don't know what the General Assembly will decide, but if they were to ask us to collate the facts along the lines of what we did for Har Homma [Jabal abu Ghneim] I think that this is something we would have to do - we work for the Member States.

Q: Sir, two weeks ago tonight you thought, and both the Israelis thought you had an agreement, and obviously honest people can have honest differences of opinion. It is understood that perhaps your office may have had some sort of a transcript of the conversation between Shimon Peres and yourself. Is there any way perhaps of making that available to see exactly what was agreed to or understood at that time?

SG: Make it available to whom?

Q: The press for instance?

SG: Which serious governments or organizations releases their conversations between senior politicians and statesmen to the press?

Q: But it is obvious that a difference of opinions still exists to this very day.

SG: It is not going to happen, and I think the facts are put out, the details to the Member States you have the correspondence I have had with them, and I think it has also been corroborated by other sources.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, earlier in the week Ariel Sharon in a broadcast interview indicated that he thought you were biased in dealing with the situation regarding the inspectors you were trying to get into Jenin. How do you respond to that?

SG: I don't have to respond. It's his opinion.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General. Mr. Sharon said that if [Yasser] Arafat attends the peace conference in the summer he will not attend. Will Arafat be assured of a seat on the table?

SG: The details are being worked out. I don't know who will attend, where it will take place, when it will take place. All these are details which should be worked out.

But let me go back to your earlier question about the UN or the Secretary-General being biased. I think throughout this issue my statements stand for themselves. I have been very clear. I have been impartial. I have spoken very firmly about wrongdoings by either party, and indicated that there is no military solution to this conflict and the only way to resolve it is through political negotiations, and that is why I am encouraged by what happened in Washington yesterday.

I would also want to hope that, given the disaster and the tragedy that has happened in that region, the suffering of the people, both Israelis and [Palestinians], the innocent civilians who have been caught between this conflict, that the military option is going to be so totally discredited, that we will all turn around and focus on the political search for peace. And I would hope that the two peoples would wake up and move in that direction, and I am really, really hopeful that they will. We should remember that it wasn't long ago that the vast majority of Israelis were in support of peace and the peace process, and the vast majority of Palestinians were too. But today there is nothing on the table. The only option appears to be the military option and I hope with the discussions going on in Washington will give the people a chance to hope again and to move in the right direction. Thank you very much.

*****

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, answering questions during a press conference after a meeting with the “Quartet” (United States, United Nations, European Union and Russian Federation), Washington, D.C., 2 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Let me first of all thank you very much, Secretary of State, for hosting this meeting, and Ladies and Gentlemen, for coming this afternoon.

On the question of the multinational force, which we also discussed briefly this afternoon, my proposal was based on the premise that the mistrust and the enmity between the two sides is so deep that they are going to need a third party mechanism, a third party presence, to help them as we move ahead. And the idea of a force was to help create a secure and calm environment that will allow for reconstruction, delivery of humanitarian assistance, and as we try to strengthen Palestinian institutions, including security, so that they can honour their commitments, as you have heard the Secretary of State talk about reconstruction and rebuilding of institutions.

And I thought the presence would also give us the space that we need to continue political and diplomatic discussions. And so it is part of the package – not separate – from the efforts we are trying to make to find a solution.

I am encouraged that there are U.S. and British wardens on the ground monitoring the imprisonment of the six.

Let me now turn to the Jenin issue. I think my position and intentions have been made very clear through my letter to the [Security] Council and the discussions that we held in the Council yesterday. The Council is still deliberating and going to write to me today. I hope I will get a letter from them at the end of the day. I don’t know what next they will do, but there is a paragraph in the draft letter, which I have seen, which would require that we proceed and prepare a report on Jenin with all available information, implying, “do it”, even if you cannot get on the ground. I have not received the letter yet. They are discussing it. I don’t know whether that paragraph will survive or not, but it is likely to survive. Once I get that mandate I will have to determine who undertakes that work. Thank you very much.

Q: Just very quickly, on Jenin, in Madrid two weeks ago, three weeks ago, you said that you thought the international community would be appalled by what it discovered there. Have you changed your evaluation on the basis of what you know now?

SG: I think we have all seen the reports, and the pictures that are coming out of Jenin, and I think my description then was not exaggerated.

*****

Press encounter with Mr. Kieran Prendergast following his introduction to the Security Council of the Secretary-General's letter conveying his decision to disband the Jenin Fact-Finding Team, 1 May 2002, 8:15pm (unofficial transcript)

KP: Good evening. You wanted me.

Q: Is the mission definitely called off for tomorrow?

KP: All I wanted to say to you, and all I can say to you, is that the Secretary-General has written to the Security Council to tell them of his intention to disband the fact-finding team tomorrow, and the council is now considering its response to the Secretary-General's letter.

Q: What could keep the Secretary-General from taking that drastic measure of disbanding this mission?

KP: I think I want to concentrate on, if you look at the letter, and it is going to be published as an official Security Council document, you will see that he has come to that decision because he believes that the objections that the Government of Israel has to deployment of the mission are fundamental objections, and therefore they are most unlikely to be overcome.

Q: How seriously would you consider, or would he consider, the option of allowing the team in some sense to go forward in Geneva with a fact-finding effort?

KP: Well, we consulted the team about that, and the team were very clearly of the view that in order to produce a credible report, a full report, an accurate report and a balanced report they would need to go to Jenin, they could not do it from Geneva, therefore we discarded that option and the Secretary-General was left with only one option which was to decide to disband the team.

Q: Is there anything the Council can do to keep this thing alive, Sir?

KP: Well, that will be for the Council to consider, won't it? I can't usurp their prerogatives.

Q: What options could they investigate tonight that would keep it alive?

KP: Well, you see, I am not a spokesman for the Council, so I can't tell you what they would do. I can tell you what we are doing, in the Secretariat, but the rest you can either ask them, and there are lots of them about, or you can speculate.

Q: You talk about it in the letter, about regret. Is this something that you and the Secretary-General have worked on? It has almost been two weeks. He hints at it. I know we can't show a letter on TV, but can you talk about the level of regret over what's happened now, the fact that the team won't go there.

KP: Well, the idea of a fact-finding team wasn't the Secretary-General's in the first place. The idea was actually an Israeli idea. It was only on the basis of assurances from two Israeli Ministers of full Israeli cooperation that the SG went ahead and that was the basis that the American government tabled Resolution 1405 that welcomed the Secretary-General's intention. I think the Secretary-General thought it was a good idea and in everybody's interest to have an impartial and accurate, credible, comprehensive report on the facts in Jenin. So of course he regrets that that is not now going to be possible it seems.

Q: What does this mean for precedent now? It seems like now, next time the UN wants to send a fact-finding team to any part of the world, you can stonewall the UN for a week, and it will back down.

KP: Well, I think it's an acceptance of the reality that it's not possible to do the job properly without the full cooperation of the Government of Israel, and I think that what has changed is that the cooperation was assured in the beginning and the cooperation has been withdrawn for reasons about which you will have to ask the Government of Israel.

Q: Was it Secretary-General Annan's intention to leave the door open to the Council by saying Thursday instead of just immediate?

KP: I think you got that one slightly wrong. Tomorrow is Thursday. The SG has announced his intention. I think that is a courtesy to the Council, but I have been in the consultations of the Council and I think the general wish of the Council is to support the Secretary-General and to respect his judgment.

Q: But if he's disbanded the mission, why not do it forthwith, why wait until tomorrow?

KP: Do you remember when I just mentioned the word "courtesy"?

Q: Did you receive a letter from the Government of Israel?

KP: No, we have had no formal communication in writing of the decision of the Security Cabinet.

Q: So there is no way a 24-hour further delay could happen as has been suggested by some inside?

KP: Well I suppose it would, but then what would be effect if the Council were to ask the Secretary-General to delay for 24 hours and then there was no change. I am not sure that would be very good for the credibility of the Council.

Q: What about the list - have you received the list from the Israelis saying that this is a six point [inaudible]

KP: I explained to you that we have had no written communication from the Government of Israel.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 1 May 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: Could you tell us what your expectations are for the talks with Iraq since the Iraqis are saying that they really want to cover a broad agenda. Are you really hoping to focus more on the return of weapons inspectors?

SG: As I have said, we are going to be discussing the implementation of Security Council resolutions and we will discuss the return of the inspectors, but obviously there must be something on the minds of the Iraqis that they would also want to put on the table. I would hope that we can spend a considerable amount of time on the return of the inspectors.

Q: Have you been given any guidance or encouragement one way or another from the US in terms of a hoped-for approach on the talks?

SG: The [Security] Council members are hoping that the talks will lead to the return of the inspectors and that the talks will be successful. I have lots of encouragement from the Council.

Q: When are you going to be determining whether to really disband the fact-finding team? What will really make you take this decision and what do you have to bring to the table tomorrow for the "Quartet" meeting?

SG: I think that, on your first question the Council is going to be meeting this morning. I have indicated to them my inclination and I will discuss it further with them. It is also possible that I may get some news from the Israeli side between now and noon when the Council meets, so I will have to see how the Council discussions go. On the meeting in Washington with the "Quartet" I hope we will all have a chance to review where we are and where we go from here and what steps have to be taken to press ahead with the peace issue and I hope in Washington all of us will have the chance to speak frankly and share ideas and decide what happens next.

*****

Press encounter, New York, 30 April 2002, p.m. (unofficial transcript)

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, have you made a decision on the Jenin team, on what to do? Have you made a decision yet? The Council has made it clear that they plan to wait another day while they deal with the resolution they have to discuss. Have you made a decision on what to do?

SG: I have, as you know, given the Council my views, and this morning [Under Secretary-General Kieran] Prendergast conveyed my position to them, indicating that, given the team's inability to proceed, and the difficulties we've had, that I was inclined to disband the team. And of course the Council is seized of it. And I hope in the next 12, 24 hours, 12 hours, because I think they're going to meet again tomorrow, I will get some reaction from them, take their counsel and move on from there. And I suspect other capitals, including Washington, are active, trying to see what they can do to de-block the impasse

Q: Is your decision based on what the Council says or will you make an independent (inaudible)?

SG: The Council did give me a mandate, and I think it's important that I seek their counsel and move ahead with whatever decision I take.

Q: Do you have a timetable within which you want this decision to be made, if, for example, this resolution becomes something that takes a bit more time? Do you have a time limit? Your representative, Mr. Prendergast, indicated that you planned to take a decision "imminently," as soon as possible…?

SG: We have very prominent people, and highly respected individuals, who form part of the team, who dropped very important tasks they were doing to come and join the team to be able to find out what happened in Jenin, because like me, they thought it was extremely important for us to find out what happened. There are lots of accusations, lots of rumours; we don't know what is true and what is not.

And I really felt that it was in everyone's interest that we clarify this issue as quickly as possible and therefore put together a credible team, a team that is made up, as you know, of Mr. [Martti] Ahtisaari, Mr. [Cornelio] Sommaruga and Mrs. [Sadako] Ogata, as well as the three advisers - the legal, military and the police commissioner, who is also an expert on security matters and had dealt with quite a lot of counter-terrorist and terrorist issues.

And so as a team of six, they are very solid and a very competent team, and I thought that was what was needed, and we've had a very good discussion with the Israelis. The team that they sent here was competent, and the discussions were held in a very good atmosphere. And I wrote a letter to them, which I felt clarified the issues and dealt with their concerns. But evidently, that was not the case. And in these circumstances I cannot keep these gentlemen and women sitting in Geneva, and we will have to draw the consequences and take action. I know the anxiety in Israel, the concern they have that the team may broaden its mandate or it may lead to legal charges, but we have made it quite clear that the team was going specifically to find the facts, and what they discover would be used for their report and their report only. Despite these clarifications, we've not been able to really de-block the impasse, and so I have no choice but to share my feeling with the Council, and tomorrow is another day. We will see how the Council reacts.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, do you think the situation is serious enough that it would be appropriate for the Council to invoke Chapter VII as a measure to try to force Israel to comply with this mandate and the mission?

SG: The resolution is actually in blue…

Q: Not yet…

SG: I don't think the Council has even got the chance to debate it or discuss it. I do not want to jump ahead of the Council. I will leave this matter to them.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, if it came to a point where you had to recall your team, do you believe that sanctions against Israel would be appropriate considering the circumstances - if you had to recall your team?

SG: That is again something for the Council; it's not for me. I don't want to lead the Council. Thank you very much.

Q: Are you aware of Israeli concerns?

SG: I am very much aware of them. We had the team, and I've also been on the phone. I've spoken to Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon over the weekend; I've spoken to Foreign Minister [Shimon] Peres several times, including twice today. And I have also in the past been in touch with [Defence] Minister [Binyamin] Ben Eliezer. So I know their concern, I know their anxiety, I know the situation in the country and the Cabinet. I am very much aware. And I think in our letter, you can see that we have shown some understanding. But of course we also have to allow the team to do a credible and a competent job. And therefore we will have to sort of agree on a framework and an approach to their work that will allow them to be credible and do a good job. But we are not insensitive to the concerns of Israel.

*****

Comments by Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, following a briefing to the Security Council, at the Secretary-General's request, on the Secretary-General's position on the Jenin fact-finding team, New York, 30 April 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Well, I've briefed the Security Council on the Israeli government decision. I told them that in the Secretary-General's view a thorough, credible and balanced report on recent events in Jenin refugee camp would not be possible without the full cooperation of the government of Israel. I recalled that the team had been established on the basis of assurances of full Israeli cooperation. Indeed, Security Council Resolution 1405, tabled by the United States, was initiated on the same basis.

Secondly, I advised the Council that events on the ground were moving rapidly, and with every passing day it becomes more difficult to determine what took place on the ground in Jenin. The Council has called for the team to gather accurate information on the events in Jenin camp, and again that becomes more difficult with every passing day.

In the circumstances, and since it appears from today's Cabinet statement by Israel that the difficulties in the way of deployment of the fact-finding team will not be resolved any time soon, the Secretary-General is minded to disband the team and I have so informed the Council.

I have no further comment at this time. Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 30 April 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: Your reaction, Sir, to Israel's rejection of the Jenin team.

SG: I've heard the press reports, but I'm waiting to hear formally from the Israeli authorities. My understanding was that Foreign Minister [Shimon] Peres was going to write to me after the Cabinet decision. I haven't received it yet, but I have also heard the press reports that they may not cooperate or need further questions answered. So I'll wait for formal notification from the authorities.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, realistically, how long can you keep this very eminent team waiting, kicking its heels in Geneva, before you have to think about pulling it back?

SG: Obviously, they are not going to be able to remain there indefinitely. But let me also say that they've not been twiddling their fingers. They've been doing some very useful work and people have been talking to them, giving them dispositions and so, in a way, they have already started their work in Geneva, pending their arrival in the region.

Q: Mr. Peres has been on television saying things like, "We just don't need a team," very firmly reacting in that way. How far are you willing to push this so that some team can get ….

SG: It was Mr. Peres who told me that "we have nothing to hide" and the team was welcome. Not just Mr. Peres but also the Defense Minister [Binyamin] Ben Eliezer told me "You are welcome. We have nothing to hide". And of course, they raised some questions as to whether the team has enough military expertise and people with intelligence and counter-terrorism expertise. And we've dealt with that. Peter Fitzgerald is a very experienced man in that area, and he has a team with him. And we've clarified all these things, and I suspect you've seen the letter that the Council discussed yesterday. So we've really done everything to meet them, to deal with their concerns. And I think we've been very forthcoming. Obviously the decision is theirs, and I'm waiting, as I said, to get a formal notification.

Q: Is there any chance that you would send the team even without Israeli approval, or Israeli cooperation?

SG: I would much rather wait to see what the formal communication from the Israeli Government is, have further discussion with the [Security] Council and decide what next to do.

Q: Do you think it would be productive for the Council to adopt a resolution increasing the pressure on the Israelis?

SG: I'm not sure the Council, at this stage, is going to adopt a resolution. But I think, like me, they would want to see the official communication before they decide what the next step should be. Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 29 April 2002 (unofficial transcript - for further use please contact CNN concerning copyright restrictions)

Q: What do the latest in your conversations with the Israelis and Shimon Peres indicate?

SG: They indicated that the Cabinet had a rather heavy agenda yesterday, including the discussion on the release of Israel of the prisoners and the financial issue, and they didn't have enough time to devote to the issue of the team and they were meeting again this morning. And I hope they will take the right decision and the team can continue with its work.

As you know, they sent a very able team here from Israel and we have very constructive and useful discussions. And we've clarified some of the issues of concern to them and I did give a letter to the Israeli Government and also to the Palestinian Authority indicating precisely how the team is going to approach its work. I think at this stage, it is very urgent that we go in, find out what happened, and put all the rumours and the accusations behind us.

Q: Are you characterizing this as a standoff? Some reports are calling this a standoff between the UN and Israel.

SG: We are clarifying issues and I expect we should be able to work out our differences.

*****

Press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 26 April 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: What is your assessment of the talks so far, Sir? Do you think serious points are being raised, or is the Israeli Government trying to stall for time?

SG: I think they have had a constructive discussion, and it will continue this morning. I would prefer not to say any more about it until the talks are concluded. But is has been very, very constructive, and I am sure we will be able to sort out our differences. Thank you.

*****

Press encounter following Secretary-General's briefing to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East including the question of Palestine, UNHQ, 18 April 2002 (unofficial transcript)

SG: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I take it that you have all seen the statement that I made to the [Security] Council this morning. So let's go straight ahead; I'll take your questions.

Q: Sir, in the past you have always stressed, when you talked about the international force, you stressed the need for the cooperation of both parties. Is this new demand for leaning on Israel meant, like, a change in your view or is it just the same?

SG: I think my statement and my proposal was very clear. I made a proposal that a force be sent under Chapter VII and suggested that the international community should pursue this option proactively and move forward on it. I hope the parties, I trust the parties will see that it is in their interest, and cooperate with the force.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, could you give us some idea of the urgency of this, and how soon you would want this to happen, given it's a fairly complex procedure to get this whole ball rolling?

SG: I was encouraged by the discussion I had in the Council today, and the way the proposal was received. Obviously, they want their capitals to study it. And it is an urgent matter and I would hope that once the capitals have studied it the countries that want to participate in the force will act promptly and quickly, because it is urgent.

Q: You said it needed a credible strength and be large enough to accomplish its mission. Can you expand on what you consider that to be in terms of actual size?

SG: I don't want to throw out any figures now because, as I said, I would want it to be a coalition of the willing. Once we have put together that coalition, they have to get involved with the planning, and the logistical support, and what sort of command structures and all that, so I would not want to pre-empt them, and decide what sort of size the force should be.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, there is in all this use of force [inaudible] under Chapter VII, it seems to preclude the use of non-violent action. Do you see any role for non-violent action? There are forces in the area, both in Israel and on the Arab side - do you see any role for them?

SG: The force that is going in is going to hopefully have a positive impact, that will dissuade others from maintaining the cause of their own, and eventually focus on political issues and reduce violence, so you should look at it in that context.

Q: The second part of my question, do you see a role for the non-violent?

SG: Oh, absolutely. They have an important role to play. The people who will be leading the peace movement, the non-violent actors, have been squeezed out recently, and I think they should be encouraged.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, it is hard to imagine a force going into the region unless it has the support of the United States, and participation. Have the Americans given any indication whatsoever that they think this is a good idea? There seems to be a sort of general sense that the Americans don't like it and that it is essentially a dead.

SG: I think I have answered your question. I said that they are going to go to their capitals and the Council will come back to it. And the capitals include Washington.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, just to follow up on this point. What specific message do you have for the United States due to the fact that you cannot really have a credible force in the region without the United States?

SG: I think this is a problem that the entire international community must come together to tackle, and the U.S. is a leader in that community, and an important member of that community. Recently we have all been working together in a "Quartet" to try and find a solution to it, and I expect the U.S. to play an important role.

Q: What are the risks, you mentioned risks, why will this not be a Bosnia or Somalia?

SG: I did indicate that this is not a risk free operation. None of these operations are. I will not use your analogy. Why don't you use some of the other ones? When you talk of Bosnia; Bosnia was pacified by a force at the end, too. The enmity between the parties was such that when the 60,000 troops got there and pacified the situation that they could get on with their lives and we saw the end of the killing.

Q: Mr. Secretary, bearing in mind Bosnia, and having in mind that the lessons of Bosnia have been learned actually, that one has to wait, that the peace conference of any kind as proposed recently has to be held first and then move with the proposed force?

SG: I think, obviously, we have to have a comprehensive approach and the force which is being deployed has to be deployed in a political context in the sense that it is part of an effort to get a political settlement and negotiations, and that the parties commit themselves to moving forward on the political front, which they seem to have done, during the visit of Secretary of State Powell, and we need to build on that.

Q: Have you discussed this proposal directly with the Israelis?

SG: Let me take somebody else who hasn't asked a question.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, in Jenin and other parts of Palestine, there is a need to the United Nations [inaudible] so do you have any plans to rescue those people?

SG: The humanitarian agencies, our own humanitarian agencies, and the Red Cross, Red Crescent and others are very active. We have now gained access to Jenin, and today [Terje Roed] Larsen and [Peter] Hansen from the UN visited Jenin, and of course they have reported to me, which I shared with the Council and have made comments to the public. We are trying to accelerate assistance to Jenin and we are concerned about the wounded and those who need assistance. We are concerned about getting food and water in. I know we tend to focus on the dead, but I think we should be equally concerned about the living and the conditions that they are in, and we are doing all that we can to get assistance to them.

Q: What is the status of the investigation into destruction in Jenin or I've heard the term war crimes used. What is the status of a UN investigation…?

SG: We haven't initiated a formal investigation as such. For the moment, I would prefer we concentrate on getting assistance to those in need, to those who have been trapped in that camp and I think the time will come for the investigation to be undertaken, but that is not my first priority at this stage. It is to get help to the people and get the dead buried, and the wounded…

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, are you going to try to contact the Israelis and convince them to go ahead and accept such a force?

SG: When I referred to the international community pursuing this proposal in a proactive way, we all have to work on the parties to get them to understand that this is in their interest.

Q: There is a proposal on the table in a resolution in blue asking for you to conduct an investigation in Jenin. Considering you think that that should wait, as you just said, are you going to talk to the authors of the resolution and say that this isn't such a good idea?

SG: Well, I think with or without a resolution, the investigation must go forward, but we have to be careful as to the timing. You know, there is a lot going on on the ground, there are lots of people trying to dig out the dead and give assistance to the needy, and quite frankly, I think that should be our first priority, and so, with or without a resolution, I will give priority to that first, and then move on to the investigation.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, did you have a chance since your ideas, your initiative of last week, since then have you consulted with any of the five permanent Members to sense whether they are welcoming this proposal, and secondly, what timeframe do you have in mind, if it is acceptable.

SG: I have answered both questions.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, just spell out for us what you think the benefits are, the immediate benefits of this multinational force?

SG: It is also in the statement I issued.

Q: So that we have it on camera…

SG: I believe that, as I have indicated, that the parties, left to themselves, cannot resolve their differences, and it is important that the international community engages actively and effectively to assist them, and we have to do it both on the political front and to take steps on the ground to stop the bloodletting which has gone on for so long. I believe that by despatching a force to the region, we can help calm the situation and create an environment, a secure environment, that would allow not only for delivery of humanitarian assistance, reconstruction of houses, and rebuilding the capacity of the Palestinian Authority, including police and law and order forces which have all been destroyed, whilst at the same time we allow for political and diplomatic discussions to go on. I think the presence of a force would also make it difficult for terrorists to crisscross the area to commit terrorist acts. It would also, I hope, diminish their freedom of action and ability to move at will.

Q: How do you address those fears that such a force wouldn't become the target of frustrations, and violence?

SG: These are some of the things that we will discuss. This is not the first time that a force has operated in areas that are divided communities with terrorists…there are ways of dealing with it, establishing liaison and coordination mechanisms with all sides to ensure that things move along reasonably. You cannot offer a 100 per cent guarantee, and I have made that clear. We cannot offer 100 per cent security guaranteed to both sides, and that is not the objective and purpose of the force.

Q: Is it conceivable that such a force could be sent without Israeli consent?

SG: I have answered that question.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, under Chapter VII would you expect that this force could go after terrorist groups in the Occupied Territories?

SG: I think the terms of reference of the force will be worked out in detail by the countries that join it. But as I have said there may be times when they will have to take action to prevent terrorist acts, but they are not there to take out suicide bombers - they cannot give that guarantee.

Q: Are you turning up the heat in the building to get a settlement? [Laughter]

*****

Press conference with Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss, Residence of the Swiss Ambassador, Geneva, 12 April 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Mr. Deiss: Mr. Secretary-General, ladies and gentlemen, it is of course a great honour for us to welcome the Secretary-General here in the residence of our Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. We are here to celebrate a little bit this historic vote of 3 March of this year when the Swiss people and cantons decided that our country will become a full member of the United Nations. And my first aim was of course to thank Mr. Secretary-General for what he has done during the period preceding the campaign. He did not interfere in our decision, this we would not have accepted, but he is so credible to the Swiss that certainly, simply by his person and by his acting he convinced them, additionally to all others who tried to do it. So thank you very much for what you have done, because you always found the right words, the right sounds, in order to say that we would be welcome, but there was no interference of the Secretary-General. Just a few words on what will happen now for us to proceed to become members. There are a few weeks or days to go that the result will be officially confirmed, then our President will send the letter of application to the Secretary-General, and from him it will go to the Security Council, and then to the General Assembly. What we hope is that Switzerland will enter the United Nations at the beginning of the new General Assembly in September. I think that we have enough time to do this. Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General.

SG: Thank you very much Mr. Minister. Ladies and gentlemen, Let me in my turn thank you for the work you did yourself in this campaign, and to the Government and the people of Switzerland for voting to join the United Nations. As I told you Mr. Minister, you will be welcomed with open arms, not just by me, but open arms of people from 189 other countries. And so, you should feel very very welcome when you come there. Switzerland and the United Nations have had a long history and it is about time that we concretize this marriage, and I am happy that you are now full members and your voice and your vote and your participation will be much more effective now that you are full members. I think this morning I also had the opportunity of speaking before the Human Rights Commission and made a few remarks to some of you, so I would not want to make a long opening remark, and again Mr. Minister with your permission, we may take a few questions. But once again, let me thank you and your colleagues for the wonderful work you have done and also for bringing Switzerland into the United Nations after this very very long wait. But it was worth waiting. Thank you.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. Foreign Minister, on behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association, we would like to thank the Swiss Permanent Mission here for its hospitality. We always prefer to have press conferences with the Secretary-General of course in our own factory, the United Nations, but this is fine. If I may put the first question to the Secretary-General, there has been talk, also on the part of the Israeli Government, that when everything has settled down and when the withdrawal of the troops finally starts, that even Mr. Sharon has talked about a sort of a buffer zone between the two territories. In that case, would there be a scenario that you could envisage to put in a sort of a buffer force there, observers, peace-keepers, or whatever from the international community. If so, do you have any thoughts on what shape or form that could take? Thank you.

SG: I think it is patently obvious that the parties left to themselves cannot resolve this issue, that they do need help from a third party, and I am happy that Secretary of State Powell is in the region pursuing the search for peace. And you would also recall that on Wednesday, we met in Madrid, Secretary of State Powell, Foreign Minister Ivanov, Foreign Minister Pique, and High European Representative Solana and myself, to discuss this issue and give our support to Secretary Powell. I think what was significant and important at that gathering was the fact that we sent a message of unity, of solidarity, of action and purpose, that the whole world had agreed on a course of action which was also endorsed by the Security Council through this endorsement of the communiqué that was issued. If indeed we are going to help the parties, I think we need to be able to give them help not just on the political ground, but given the human suffering, the killing that is going on, on both sides, on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side, and given the fact that things are moving very rapidly, I think if we can help create a secure environment that will help calm the situation and have a positive impact on the killings, and at the same time -- as I said this morning -- give us the space for political and diplomatic negotiations, we should be able to perhaps help them resolve this [inaudible]. I am not talking in terms of a buffer zone, I do not know what Prime Minister Sharon has in mind when he talks about a buffer zone, I am talking about a force that will help create a secure environment to allow for assistance, to allow us to be able to end the killing and give us time for negotiations and diplomacy. Thank you.

Q: My question is to Mr. Deiss.

SG: You had a question this morning, why don't you let someone else do it, you had a quick question this morning.

Q: Sir, my question is for Mr. Deiss. My question Sir. Has Switzerland finished the revision of the actions it will take in its relations with the Israeli State like stopping military [inaudible] from Israel and boycotting products that come from outside the green line? Could you comment on what you are going to do?

Mr. Deiss: We gave a statement this week on the situation in the Middle East. What we did is to say that we will fulfill the actual contracts that are running, and that our administration has to report to the Government about future issues. So we have not completed this analysis.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, this morning you spoke about having the Commission in the shadow of 11 September, an attack which you described that many had called a crime against humanity. But you also talked about the importance of not putting aside human rights in the attempts to prosecute and find terrorists. Do you have specific concerns regarding the United States' war against terrorism, i.e. the suggestion and plan for military tribunals and conditions at Guantanamo camp. Are there any steps in your mind to talk to administration officials about changes if you feel they are warranted?

SG: First of all, since 11 September, we have seen many Governments take initiatives in the name of counter terrorism. Some have gone beyond the line in terms of respect for human rights. I today offered a general discussion of the need to accept human rights, and the need for us to respect the primacy of the rule of law, arguing, basically saying that there is no trade-off between effective action against terrorism and human rights. And if we do that, in the long run, we will lose out. How much freedom and liberty do you give up for security and safety, and if you give up freedom and liberty for security, do you in the end have security? These are difficult and important questions that we should keep foremost in our thoughts. So my warning was really, generally to all who will be inclined to use the fight against terrorism to abuse groups or individuals, and that their rights must be respected, I think my statement was very very clear.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, Sir, I want to go back to your statement this morning about the international force that you were recommending. Could you please tell us what form that force would take, particularly with regard to the fact that Israel has repeatedly rejected the notion of such an international force and has only called for a small American mission.

SG: Well, I have not discussed this issue with the Israelis, but we have to be very clear here. We have all seen what has been going on, and the number of people who have been killed on the Israeli side, and the number of people who have been killed on the Palestinian side and it continues. If we are going to help them, I think the third party has to step in and be a bit more assertive. And I would hope that both parties will see the wisdom in accepting a third party support. I think when one considers the situation and the attitude of the parties, the enmity is so deep, and mistrust is so deep, that even when you come up with an agreement, cease-fire and all that, you need a referee and a third party person to do it. And I think, we are going beyond the question of the parties being left to choose and pick, I don't want this, if they do not want it, then let them take steps to stop the killing, let them lead their people away from disaster and despair. But if they continue to do it and they are not able to stop it, I think we, as an international community, have some obligations. We could not sit back and wring our hands and then a year or so later, do a study and say what happened, where were we?

Q: M. le Secrétaire général, il y a des situations dans le monde ....

SG: Je vous ai répondu ce matin ...

Q: Il y a des situations dans le monde .... comme celle qui prévaut au Moyen Orient qui nous impose d'agir beaucoup plus que de parler et la situation au Moyen Orient, telle que l'a décrite M. Lakhdar Brahimi, est proche d'un crime contre l'humanité. Et dans ce cas là je préfère donner la parole à quelqu'un qui agit, c'est un citoyen suisse qui se trouve actuellement dans le quartier général de M. Arafat ; lorsque je l'ai interviewé, il a voulu vous poser cette question : qu'attendent les Nations Unies pour essayer de faire appliquer le droit international ici, comme ils ont voulu l'appliquer dans d'autres pays. On reste dans une situation où le droit international ici est complètement dénié, où on prend prétexte d'attentats terroristes pour réprimer tout un peuple dans son ensemble, pour massacrer un peuple, car c'est ce qui se passe maintenant à Jénine et Naplouse. Et quels moyens veut se donner la communauté internationale pour essayer de parer à cette situation.

SG: Je crois que j?ai souvent parlé de cette situation. Ma position est très claire. Et le conseil de sécurité a voté trois résolutions dernièrement qui sont très importantes. Nous sommes en train de travailler avec les autres, Evidemment le médiateur que les deux parties ont accepté sont les Etats-Unis. Donc on travaille avec les Etats-Unis pour pouvoir calmer la situation. Merci.

Q: Secretary-General, this morning you said the situation is very dangerous. Are you afraid that the conflict could spread outside the borders of Israel and the Palestinian territory?

SG: Yes, I have been concerned about that, and in fact, I have spoken often about my worry about the possibility of a second front on the Lebanese-Israeli border. In that context, I have been in touch with the leaders in the region, President Assad, President Lahood of Lebanon, and Prime Minister Hariri, as well as Foreign Minister Peres of Israel, doing whatever we can to keep the situation under control. So there is a worry, and we need to do all that we can to ensure that it does not spread, but we cannot take it for granted.

*****

Press encounter on the situation in the Middle East, Geneva, 12 April 2002 (unofficial transcript)

SG: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I think you all heard me speak this morning, so let us go straight to questions.

Q: The refusal of Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories questions the credibility of the United Nations and reflects the failure of the Security Council to do something about it. What would you like to say about that? Also, as the moral conscience of the world, tell us your views about the invasion of the Jenin refugee camp?

SG: I think I have been quite outspoken on that and my views are very clear. I think the Security Council has been very active on this issue and has passed three very important resolutions 1397, 1402 and 1403. And you cannot underestimate the importance of those documents. The whole world came together and said Israel and the Palestinians must do certain things, including withdrawal from the camps. And I think I will still urge Israel to withdraw immediately, which the Security Council has requested. On Wednesday in Madrid, the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and myself made the same appeal which was reconfirmed by the Security Council. I have also been concerned about the humanitarian situation in the camps. I have been working very closely with the UN humanitarian agencies and others to see what one can do to give assistance and support to the people. Once we get access to the camps, I think we are all going to have a lot of work to do. My own view is that the situation is so dangerous, and the humanitarian and human rights situation is so appalling - in fact you heard me say that this morning - but I think the proposition that a force should be sent in there to create a secure environment and as well as provide space for diplomatic and political negotiations can no longer be deferred. It is urgent, it is imperative. That capacity exists in the world today, we must now muster the will. Thank you.

Q: Plus précisément, Monsieur le Secrétaire général, avez-vous reçu de graves accusations de violations du droit militaire dans les camps de réfugiés par les Israéliens ?

[translation into English - Have you received any indications of violations of military laws by the Israelis in the camps? ]

SG: Oui, il y a des agences humanitaires qui m'ont parlé de cela, il ne faut pas oublier que l'ONU a beaucoup de gens qui travaillent là-bas, on à peu près 12 000 personnes, il y a aussi la Croix-Rouge, il y a d'autres agences, il y a l'UNWRA. Donc on a beaucoup de rapports. C'est pour ça que je suis très inquiet.

[translation into English - Yes, humanitarian agencies talked to me about that. One must not forget that the UN has many people working over there, around 12,000. The Red Cross is also there, and other agencies, such as UNWRA. So we get a lot of reports. That is why I am very worried.]

Q: Monsieur le Secrétaire général, vous avez soutenu, dans votre discours ce matin, la tâche de Mme Robinson pour sa visite au Proche Orient. Jusqu'à présent Mme Robinson n'a pas le visa d'Israël. Est-ce que, en tant que Secrétaire général, [inaudible] vous allez, par exemple, présider une délégation de bons offices entre Palestiniens et Israéliens ?

[translation into English -In your statement to the Commission, you talked about the mission of the High Commissioner to the territories. But until now she has no visa. Can you, as Secretary-General, preside over a good offices visit?]

SG: Il y a un médiateur : M. Powell est là aujourd'hui. Je suis en contact avec lui tout le monde et on soutien son effort. Il ne faut pas avoir une multiplicité des médiateurs, donc on doit travailler ensemble. En ce qui concerne la mission des droits de l'homme, j'espère qu'elle va avoir la permission évidemment. Il y a Colin Powell et son équipe qui sont sur place. Elle n'a pas reçu encore la permission du gouvernement israélien mais j'espère que cela ne veut pas dire qu'elle ne va pas la recevoir. J'espère que la mission pourra partir aussitôt que possible. Merci beaucoup.

[translation into English - There is a mediator, the United States, Mr. Powell is there today. I am in contact with him and others and we support his effort. We must not have a multiplicity of mediators, we must work together. Concerning the human rights mission, I hope of course it will get permission. Colin Powell and his team are there. The human rights mission did not yet receive permission from the Israeli Government but I hope that that does not mean it will not get it. I hope the mission will be able to go as soon as possible.]

*****

Rome, Italy, 11 April 2002 - Press conference with President Carlo Ciampi following ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Secretary-General's opening statement:

Thank you, President Ciampi,

About an hour ago, in New York, representatives of 10 States deposited their instruments ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, bringing the total to 66.

By so doing, they took us past the threshold of sixty ratifications needed for the Statute to enter into force.

The long-held dream of a permanent international criminal court will now be realised. Impunity has been dealt a decisive blow.

I am delighted to be in Rome for this historic event, because it was here that the Conference leading to the adoption of the Statute was held.

I shall never forget being in the Campidoglio, on 18 July 1998, to witness some of the first signatures being affixed. And Mr. President, you were there with me.

A missing link in the international justice system is now in place. For a long time we have had the International Court of Justice, which deals with disputes between States. But until now we had no permanent international court where individuals could be put on trial.

The establishment of the new Court will fill that gap.

The Statute will now come into force on the first of July -- less than four years after it was adopted. By next year the Court should be up and running.

Those who commit war crimes, genocide or other crimes against humanity will no longer be beyond the reach of justice. Humanity will be able to defend itself -- responding to the worst of human nature with one of the greatest achievements: the rule of law.

I thank the Italian government and people for all they have done to bring this about.

I congratulate the 66 States that have now ratified the Statute.

I urge those who have not done so to follow their example. The best defence against evil will be a Court in which every country plays its part. And let me repeat, the best defence against evil will be a Court in which every country plays its part.

And I thank the many non-governmental organisations whose tireless efforts contributed to this success.

The time is at last coming when humanity no longer has to bear impotent witness to the worst atrocities, because those tempted to commit such crimes will know that justice awaits them.

Let us make the International Criminal Court an effective instrument. Let it be a deterrent to the wicked, and a ray of hope for the innocent and the helpless.

Thank you very much.

Questions and Answers:

Q: [translated from Italian] I would like to address a question to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. What do you think will be done over the next few months, and also, with regard to the upcoming deadlines for the International Criminal Court, in other words, what do you think will be done to overcome the reservations of some countries - China, Israel, the United States - for example? We all have certain expectations in connection with this Court, and there may be delays because of these reservations, and as President Ciampi has already said, we are worried about what is happening now in the Middle East, and therefore we would like to ask you, Mr. Annan, if there are any new initiatives being considered, new initiatives with regard to the deployment of UN observers, for example, in the region?

SG: Let me, on the first question, say that we shall go ahead and establish the Court. I hope the Court will be up and running, as I said, by next year. The vast majority of nations in the world have signed on to the Court. We have 66 ratifications as I said today and we need only 60 to go ahead and establish the Court.

I know there are countries who have reservations and have indicated they will not sign on. But I think it should not hold back those countries that are determined to go ahead and ensure that this missing link in international law is established. I also believe that those who today are not enthusiastic will over time come to recognize the importance and the usefulness of the Court. And some in fact may need it more than those who have already ratified it, and so I am not worried about establishment of the Court. We will go ahead and do it, and I hope others who today have reservations will join one day. This happened before and it can happen for this one.

On the question of the Middle East, we are all awaiting with expectation the visit and the mission of Secretary of State Powell. It is not an easy mission. It is an extremely delicate and complicated mission. The fighting continues. The Security Council resolutions are clear, but there doesn't seem to be any indications to implement them. We need to maintain the pressure, and hope to get the parties to respect these resolutions. The international community has finally come together and we are speaking with one voice, with one objective and one purpose, and I think that was made abundantly clear from the communiqué in Madrid yesterday, and also the support that the Security Council gave to that communiqué. I think the parties, left to themselves, cannot resolve this conflict. We have seen what has happened in the last 18 months. They do need third party assistance and I think we should press ahead and provide that assistance.

Q: Mr. President, Mr. Annan, [inaudible] from AFP, when the International Court is functioning, can you perceive either side in the Middle East conflict facing charges?

SG: That is a highly speculative area I don't want to be drawn into. Obviously, the Court will be established to be able to put individuals on trial, individuals who have committed crimes against humanity, genocide, as I listed here, and whether somebody will bring charges against anybody in the region is a question for the future to answer, and I would prefer not to speculate.

Spokesman: We now have a question from New York. Thank you very much Mr. Secretary-General, the question will be asked by Bill Varner of Bloomberg News.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, what would you say to U.S. congressional concerns that the Court could be used to prosecute U.S. servicemen overseas or diplomats, in other words, political prosecutions?

SG: The Court is not directed against citizens from any particular country. The Court is directed against criminals, and the Court will prosecute in situations where the country concerned is either unable or unwilling to prosecute. Countries with good judicial systems, who apply the rule of law and prosecute criminals and do it promptly and fairly need not fear. It is where they fail that the Court steps in, so there is a principle of complementarity here, and this will be my answer to those who are concerned about this. I don't think this is a Court that is going to run amok, intrusive, and take on cases which are before national courts. So I hope you can pass on the answer.

*****

Rome, Italy, 10 April 2002 - Press encounter with Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi

Mr. Berlusconi: I am very happy to have here with us the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, who I recall is also a Nobel Prize winner that was conferred to him and to the Organization last October. We thank him for the role he has played in favour of peace and the solution of many problems that are afflicting the world.

It is with pleasure that we welcome here the CEB meeting -- of the programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations that are in the UN system and are translating into concrete actions the ideals of peace, justice, generosity and democracy, which are the at the basis of the United Nations.

I had the opportunity to talk with the UN Secretary- General in a private meeting which was very interesting for me because the UN Secretary-General did and had the kindness to update me on the Madrid Summit on the Middle East and the action that the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell is to undertake in the Middle East. We all wish that he can bring back good news and that it will really be possible to find a solution and get the two parties to sit at the negotiating table, under the aegis of the United Nations and the presence of the US, the European Union, the Russian Federation, and the representatives of the Arab League. This is what we hope for because there can be no other solution than a political one to this serious crisis.

I have also had the opportunity to inform the Secretary-General of the work we are carrying out for a digital model for the management of states and I had also the possibility to underline that with your [the Secretary-General's] presence here we will have the 60th ratification of the International Criminal Court, which was set up during the International Conference held in Rome on 17 July 1998. Therefore it is a lucky coincidence that this news and this ratification arrives on the occasion of the presence here of the Secretary-General and I hope that there will be a possibility - if your commitment will allow it - to have a ceremony that could happen on the fourth anniversary of the signing of the ICC Statute which will be next 17 July. I would like to invite you, Mr. Secretary-General hoping that you will accept. I think it is important to underline the birth and existence of this important institution, to which other countries can adhere. And in this regard I want to say that we got the news of the countries that intend to ratify the Statute of the Court and this could stimulate other countries to ratify the Statute and make the Court more representative.

I apologize, Mr. Secretary-General, for my long introduction, but I wanted to summarize some of the issues which we addressed during our encounter and I thank you again for having chosen Italy as the venue of this session. I take this opportunity, on behalf of the Italian Government and on my personal behalf, to congratulate you for the action in favour of peace that you are carrying out with great dedication, great generosity and, I must say, with great capability. To you and to the United Nations that you represent, I extend our sincerest wishes so that your action can make dialogue prevail over confrontation, friendship prevail over hatred. May development and welfare prevail over poverty and over all the problems that poverty involves. Thank you.

SG: Thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister.

Let me tell you that I am also extremely happy to be here, back in Italy, and I think I speak for my colleagues from the UN agencies, who are here with me -- the Chief Executive Board -- and also my wife who is here with me in Rome.

I think I will be very brief - we've covered our discussions comprehensively. What I would want to add is that I had the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for the contribution Italy is making towards economic development in the Third World, for what European Union did before the Monterrey Conference -- increasing its development assistance to 0.9 percent, with an objective of reaching 0.7 percent. And the Prime Minister was visionary and forward-looking enough to think that he hopes he would go to 1 percent and I couldn't but agree with him, and the sooner the better.

I also looked back on our meeting last year in Genoa where, at that meeting, we focussed on issues of economic development, the AIDS epidemic and economic focus on Africa, which led to the G-7 initiative, and their decision to work with African countries on NEPAD; and that was also here in Italy under your Chairmanship. So we are counting on you this year when we go to Canada, to pursue the discussions and the decisions, which were taken in Genoa. And I recall, in Genoa, all the leaders insisted "action". (They) said: Not words, not plans, we want action. And I hope we are going to get it after the meeting in Canada. Thank you very much.

*****

Madrid, 10 April 2002 - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov, Secretary of State of the United States Colin Powell, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain Josep Pique and High Representative for European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana reviewed the escalating confrontation in the Middle East and agreed to coordinate actions to resolve the current crisis. The following is a statement made by Secretary-General Annan at the start of a press conference following their meeting:

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

Before sharing the Joint Statement with you, I would like to say a few words about the grave situation in the Middle East.

We are meeting today against the backdrop of a steadily escalating three-fold crisis in the Middle East. We face continuing intensification of fighting between Israelis and the Palestinians; we face mounting humanitarian and human rights crises in the West Bank and Gaza with enormous suffering for the innocent civilian population caught up in the hostilities; and we face rising tensions throughout the region, particularly along Israel's northern border.

I am, frankly, appalled by the humanitarian situation. The international community demands that the Government of Israel honour its obligation under international law to protect civilians and that the IDF stop the damage to and destruction of civilian and personal property. Respect for international humanitarian law and the humanitarian organizations is the most basic requirement for any nation that lays claim to democracy and membership of the international community. I also call on the donor community to be generous in assisting UNRWA and the other humanitarian organizations in meeting the urgent challenges.

With reference to the disturbances along the Blue Line emanating from Lebanese territory, I call on the Government of Lebanon and all relevant parties to condemn and prevent such violations. The Security Council itself confirmed in June 2000 that Israel had withdrawn from southern Lebanon in compliance with UN Security Council resolutions 425 and 426. Attacks at any point along the Blue Line, including in the Shebaa farms area in the occupied Golan Heights, are violations of Security Council resolutions. Respect for decisions of the Security Council is the most basic requirement of international legitimacy.

Finally, I would like to thank the Government of Spain for hosting us today in Madrid - just over ten years since the Madrid conference set out the essential principles for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

I will now share with you the Communique that we have agreed on.

"We express our grave concern about the present situation, including the mounting humanitarian crisis and the growing risk to regional security. We reiterate our shared condemnation of violence and terrorism, express our deep distress at the loss of innocent Palestinian and Israeli life, and extend our deepest sympathy to the families of those killed and wounded. Believing that there has been too much suffering and too much bloodshed, we call on the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to act in the interests of their own people, the region, and the international community and to immediately halt this senseless confrontation.

In this regard, we express our grave concern about the most recent attacks from Lebanon across the UN-determined Blue Line. The Quartet calls on all parties to respect the Blue Line, halt all attacks, and show the utmost restraint. The conflict should not be allowed to spread and threaten regional security and stability.

The UN, EU and Russia express their strong support for Secretary of State Powell's mission, and urge Israel and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate fully with his mission and with their continuing efforts to restore calm and resume a political process.

We reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict and call on the parties to move towards a political resolution of their disputes based on UNSCR 242 and 338, and the principle of land for peace - which formed the basis for the Madrid Conference of 1991. We re-affirm our support to the objective expressed by President Bush and spelled out in UNSCR 1397, of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side within secure and recognized borders. We warmly welcome Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's peace initiative, as endorsed in Beirut by the Arab League, as a significant contribution towards a comprehensive peace, including Syria and Lebanon.

To enable progress towards our shared goals, we reaffirm that UNSCR 1402 must be fully implemented immediately, as called for in UNSCR 1403. We call on Israel to halt immediately its military operations. We call for an immediate, meaningful cease-fire and an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah, specifically including Chairman Arafat's headquarters. We call on Israel to fully comply with international humanitarian principles and to allow full and unimpeded access to humanitarian organizations and services. We call on Israel to refrain from the excessive use of force and undertake all possible efforts to ensure the protection of civilians.

We call on Chairman Arafat, as the recognized, elected leader of the Palestinian people, to undertake immediately the maximum possible effort to stop terror attacks against innocent Israelis. We call on the Palestinian Authority to act decisively and take all possible steps within its capacity to dismantle terrorist infrastructure, including terrorist financing, and to stop incitement to violence. We call on Chairman Arafat to use the full weight of his political authority to persuade the Palestinian people that any and all terrorist attacks against Israelis should end immediately; and to authorize his representatives to resume immediately security coordination with Israel.

Terrorism, including suicide bombs, is illegal and immoral, has inflicted grave harm to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and must be condemned as called for in UNSCR 1373.

We call on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reach agreement on cease-fire proposals put forward by General Zinni without further delay. We commend the efforts of General Zinni to date to achieve this objective.

The Quartet stands ready to assist the parties in implementing their agreements, in particular the Tenet security workplan and the Mitchell recommendations, including through a third-party mechanism, as agreed to by the parties.

We affirm that the Tenet and Mitchell plans must be fully implemented, including an end to all settlement activity. We affirm that there must be immediate, parallel and accelerated movement towards near-term and tangible political progress, and that there must be a defined series of steps leading to permanent peace - involving recognition, normalization and security between the sides, an end to Israeli occupation, and an end to the conflict. This will allow Israel to enjoy enduring peace and security and the Palestinian people to realize their hopes and aspirations in security and dignity.

In support of these objectives, we call on the international community, particularly the Arab states, to preserve, strengthen and assist the Palestinian Authority, including through efforts to rebuild its infrastructure, security and governance capacity. We call also on the donor community and the international financial institutions to renew their commitment to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, and to assist in economic and institutional reconstruction. We pay tribute to the courageous efforts of the humanitarian agencies.

We agreed on the need to keep the situation in the Middle East under review by the Quartet at the principal's level through regular consultations. Our Special Envoys will continue their efforts on the ground to assist the parties in reaching an end to confrontation and resumption of political negotiations."

The Minister reminded me to share with you that the Quartet is hoping to meet fairly shortly and we are going to remain consistently seized of the problem. Of course Secretary Powell, as I said, is going with our full support. Depending on the outcome of his mission, we will meet sooner than later.

Q: I would like to ask Mr. Annan to respond to the latest terror attack in Haifa.

SG: I would say that obviously the situation is very grave, the humanitarian situation, I suspect that none of us will know the full gravity of the situation until we gain access to all the territories that are now a theatre of battle. But I have a sense that we will be shocked by what we see. We are getting too many independent reports for it not to be credible. But let me say that on the question of the suicides attacks, I think the statement that I read made it quite clear that it is morally repugnant and should be condemned and no one can defend it. Attacks against innocent and unarmed civilians is terrorism that we cannot tolerate.

Q: Mr. Annan, please, Secretary of State told us yesterday that he is making an effort, the U.S. to have Syria and Iran do what they could, militia to restrain activist, terrorist, pick your word. How do you feel about Syria's behavior? Is this something that you would support -- that Syria and Iran should do what they can to curb particularly in Lebanon?

SG: I have in recent days and weeks been in touch with the leaders in the region particularly with regard the Blue Line, which as you know was traced by the UN, and I have spoken to the President Asad, Prime Minister Hariri and President Lahoud and with Foreign Minister Peres about doing everything possible to keep the border quiet, because no one wants to open a second front and the leaders have given me the assurance that they are going to do whatever they can to respect the Blue Line and the Security Council has itself indicated that these violations must cease. I have not spoken to Iran recently on this specific issue but we had a chance to talk in the past.

Q: Mr. Secretary talked several times about the physical destruction of the Palestinian Authority. What Palestinian institutions do you believe need to be rebuilt, how soon and by whom?

SG: I was going to say that in addition to what Secretary Powell has said, we also have to remember that there is a really deplorable economic and social situation in the occupied territories now. Where we would also have to step up our assistance to the Palestinians to get them into meaningful activities when the violence subsides as well as rebuild all the infrastructure and governance apparatus that Secretary Powell has referred to. So we have lots of work to do, but we must first get the violence down. Thank you.

*****

Questions and Answers at NGO Forum on Ageing, Madrid, 8 April 2002 (unofficial transcript)

Q: My name is Fatima Tiguet (sp?) and I come from South Africa. Your Excellency, my dear brother, taking into account that one of the main differences between the first assembly on ageing held in Vienna 20 years ago and the situation nowadays is the increase of elderly people in the developing countries. How can the NGOs have to face the challenge to integrate ageing in the process of development?

SG: Thank you very much Mr. President. Let me say that the question of factoring the ageing process into economical development is not an issue for the NGOs alone. Governments, private sectors, all stakeholders should see it as an essential part of our development plans. And I would hope that for those who have not come through this problem, this Conference will wake them up and realize that we have an important group, an important asset here, whose talents we will have to use and whose needs will have to be factored into all our development plans. And I think the NGOs can work with the Governments, with the private sector in partnership to ensure that this is done, particularly in the area of social welfare schemes and pensions and ensuring that those who have the health and capacity, and the ability to work should be allowed to work as soon as they can. It is happening in some societies already, but there is often a potential that needs to be thought through.

Q: I am Maryse Pachou from the NGO Committee on Ageing in Geneva. Mr. Secretary General, the international treaties on human rights do not reflect the age as a factor of discrimination. Do you think that the discrimination faced by older people in areas such as access to health, social and political participation and labor market and so on is a reason to demand an international convention to eliminate any kind of discrimination based on age? Thank you.

SG: The second question is Human Rights and if the discrimination of older people should be considered by the Commission, by the UN and they introduce a Covenant. I would say that even without a Covenant, even without a new Law, the laws and the books would make discrimination of any group, whether based on age and others, against the spirit of the Human Rights Declaration. And I think we have enough, and I know that in some cases, we already have had cases in courts, where older people have won a case for age discrimination. Whether we are at a stage where one would want to come up with a new Covenant, a new law, I am not sure yet. But I think we have enough on the books now, if only we could apply them honestly and fairly that would prevent the kind of discrimination your question alluded to.

Q: Secretary-General of the UN, my name is Ana Echenique, from the Confederations of Consumers and users (CECU). Since ecological cycles and processes are the natural means of the biosphere for transforming the ageing of the planet. Would you say that environmental degradation is an irreversible form of ageing that hinders the renovation of life cycles? Thank you.

SG: On the question of the environmental degradation, I don't think it is irreversible. I think we have the technology and the means to reverse it if we have the will. If the political will is there to do it. And if we as individuals are determined to make the choices that we can make. We can make choices with what we buy , we can make choices even in deciding which policies we support. We sometime believe that we are helpless and we have to leave this to government, but as individuals we have power. Individuals can refuse to deal with companies that are degrading their environment. They can refuse to buy and deal with companies that believe in green technology and this encourages them. Government policies can have an impact. We can influence governments to make sure they come up with the right environmental laws and incentives that will help us contain the environmental degradation because we are currently exploiting the resources of the planet in a manner that is not sustainable and will create problems for our children and their children.

Q: Your Excellency, could you share your vision for a global society for all ages based on the principles of well being, self fulfillment and participation.

SG: The last question was the question of global societies for all ages and what is your dream of it. I think this morning I did give a clear vision as to what I see as global society for all ages. It's a society where regardless of age, one is allowed to make the contribution one is capable of. A society where one is not categorized and put in the corner because of age. A society in which when we plan for the needs of society we look at the needs of all categories of society. A society that plans ahead and ensures that we manage our affairs in a manner that all of us, young, middle age and the older generations will have their share of the resources and the benefits that governments can offer and hopefully rely on the wisdom and the maturity and the experience older generations bring. I mean I can speak for myself growing up in Africa where we respect the aged and grey hair and that's why I kept mine. I got lots of advice, lots of help from older uncles and aunts, extended family. There was always an old person to go to, to get advice, whether it would come in a form of proverb or something and we always used proverbs to teach our children. Just to give you an example, if a young son, a young man came home and said, "Dad, I am extremely angry with this boss of mine. He is so difficult, I am walking tomorrow and give him a piece of my mind". They won't argue with you, they would ask you "And then what, after you have insulted your boss and told him, then what". And they would leave you with a proverb says "Young man, be patient. You don't hit a man on the head, when you have your fingers between his teeth? And that's all", and you have to sort it out, I mean so, you grow and you learn. Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter at the UN Second World Assembly on Ageing, Madrid, 8 April 2002 (unofficial transcript)

SG: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Let me say that we at the United Nations are very happy to have the opportunity to come to Madrid to discuss an issue of great importance to all of us. I think the question of ageing and the ageing population is going to have a major impact on our lives as we move into the 21st century. And I think that every speaker underscored the importance that it is going to be a political, economic and a social issue and that we should plan ahead and prepare for it and also the fact that we should use the talent of our older generation.

I think you heard me speak this morning and you have also heard lots of statements and so maybe I should take your questions straight away. I will take couple of questions. Yes.

Q: Marcelo Rissy, BBC World Service: What concrete outcome do you expect at the end of this conference more than the signature of a statement on which to reach a consensus and don't think that we really need a Conference of this magnitude. What are the concrete steps apart from a known rhetoric on sustainability?

SG: May I ask you, before you came here, had you focussed on the issue ageing? I think lots of people have not focussed on it. We don't realize the importance and the magnitude of the issue. The fact that we come here and share experiences and share good practices and draw attention to a major issue of the 21st century is a major achievement. Don't underestimate it. I think that the older people and the people that we are focussing on and the societies that are going to have this problem are extremely grateful that we are here. You must also remember that until today the issue of ageing has been seen as a problem for the developed world. Now it's going to be a problem for the developing world which also means that in addition to the already difficult problems of development they have, they will have to contend with this. And we need to help all of us, think through this and plan for reaching the future. And I think that message, that message alone is a very important thing to send and I am happy that we all came here to focus attention on this issue.

Q: Laura Rodríguez, Canal Vivir, I think you put it very well that this is really a problem for everyone, for develop and underdeveloped people but do you think as well that we should look at it no so much as a problem but rather conditions and reflect on it on those terms?

SG: Oh, no I agree with you absolutely , and I think my own statement this morning was very clear as to how I view the contribution of older people and the way we should work with them as part of society but not as a group apart and rely on their talent and their contribution and their wisdom, so you will have a hundred percent agreement with me. But when you look down the future the question of social benefits , question of pensions how we care for them, how we use their talent and allow them to work for as long as they are able to. These are questions society has not settled. We also have a problem that you have a shrinking number of workforce that fewer and fewer people are working to sustain the older generation which today is 600 million but by 2050 would be 2 billion. So in effect, there is an opportunity and there is a problem and if we tackle it comprehensibly, I think we all will come out much better off.

SG: I think I will take the last question from you on the Middle East.

Q: Reuters: Secretary-General, what is your reaction to the fact that the offensive in The West Bank is continuing despite UN SC Resolutions and what do you expect to achieve from your meetings here this week with Colin Powell and EU and Russia?

SG: I genuinely hope that the Israeli government will heed the call of President Bush and these relevant Security Council Resolutions and withdraw the troops immediately. I think we have a very tragic situation and from the humanitarian point of view, it is really very, very serious when you consider that a large number of people are without water, they are short of food and medication, and the humanitarian workers, from Red Cross to Red Crescent to UNWRA do not have a freedom of movement. And even when they have a problem, they don't know whom to get in touch with. It is a very tragic situation and I hope that these resolutions will be implemented. The whole world is demanding that Israel withdraws. I don't think the whole world, including the friends of the Israeli people and government, can be wrong. So I appeal to Prime Minister Sharon to heed the call, and move ahead with the implementation of the resolution. Of course the resolution also makes demands on the Palestinian leadership and I urge them also to honour that. I think what is happening in the region, both Israel and Palestine, is a very painful thing for all of us to see the human tragedy and I also regret to say that the longer this goes on, the more it erodes the moral and political position of Israel in the world and I hope that Prime Minister Sharon would bear that in mind as well.

The meeting on Wednesday we hope to discuss obviously the situation in the Middle East and Mr. Powell's mission. Over the past 18 months or so, we have created the quartet, which is the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and the Russian Federation. And we have been working very closely together. Our four envoys on the ground are in daily touch and they are in contact with the two parties and the principals are also in close contact. This meeting will give us an opportunity to assess the situation, discuss with Secretary of State, Powell, his objectives before he goes into the area and I think it would also give him a message of support and solidarity. We are solidly with him and I hope he will have a successful mission. It's not going to be easy. He doesn't have a magic wand, so we should not expect miracles. It's a tough mission but we will be with him all the way. Thank you very much.

*****

Press encounter on the situation in the Middle East following presentation of gift by Germany (unofficial transcript), New York, 4 April 2002

Q: [Inaudible]

SG. Yes, I think it's a good sign that enmity between people in countries does not last forever, and that peace is always possible. And we should keep up hope even in the Middle East and continue our search for peace. We should never give up hope.

Q: [Inaudible]

SG: I think the announcement today from the White House was encouraging, and I have spoken to the Secretary of State, and I am happy that the US is becoming much more engaged.

Q: Did you have any contacts with the leaders over there today?

SG: I have, yesterday and today spoken to some of the leaders in the region and I continue my contacts with them.

Q: What would be your advice to Secretary of State, Powell - what would you like to him do over there?

SG: I think Secretary of State, Powell is a very experienced man and I think he will have to approach it and do it his own way. But I am in constant touch with him we exchange ideas, not only with him, but with the European Union, the Russian Federation and also with the Arab leaders. But I think what I have stressed all along is that we cannot focus on security alone, and that we need to understand that peace and security are two sides of the same coin. And we need to broaden our efforts to bring in the political aspects as well as do something about the horrible humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people. So I hope our efforts, as we move forward would embrace all these aspects and be comprehensive.

Q: Do you believe that President Bush's call for an immediate halt to Israeli incursions, and a start of withdrawal of Israeli military forces might be the key to starting to cool things down?

SG: I think that was an important call from the President. We should not forget that the US along with other 13 members of the Security Council voted for the withdrawal of the Israeli troops in Resolution 1402. And I am really happy to see the President reaffirm this publicly, and I urge the Israeli leadership to listen to him and implement the Resolution. Thank you.

*****

Press encounter following Secretary-General's briefing to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine (unofficial transcript), New York, 1 April 2002

SG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I just briefed the Council on developments in the region and my concern about the current escalation. I told the Council that we all keep saying it could never get worse and yet it gets worse by the day. And I appealed to them to work hard to implement their own resolutions, particularly 1402 and 1397. I also believe that they should not only work collectively, but individually through their capitals to have an impact on the situation and to implement these resolutions. I would want to say that now that the parties are locked in the logic of war, we need to do all that we can to move them back to the logic of peace. But the leaders, the parties have to be conscious that it is even more important that they pay attention to civilians and respect international humanitarian law, which is applicable even in situations of war. So I would appeal to them to be very careful about how civilians are treated and respect international law in this respect.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, the United States appears to be taking the position that 1402 requires a ceasefire before a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories. There seems to have been a broad view early Saturday morning that this had to be done right away. What is your interpretation of what 1402 means?

SG: I share the Security Council view that there was no sequencing and that things have to move ahead very quickly. And in fact, before the vote, the President of the Council indicated to the members that this was the understanding on which members were going to vote on that resolution.

Q: Mr. Secretary, we had a resolution obviously on early Saturday morning, and now the Arab Group is proposing another resolution calling for the implementation of that resolution. Does it worry you that this is not going anywhere, it dilutes the value and credibility of the UN and the Security Council?

SG: I think this is an issue for the members to decide. But obviously, the Council has to be seized of the issue. My appeal to them was to collectively and individually do whatever they can to implement the resolution. Whether they will think the best way to do it is by passing another resolution or bringing their influence to bear on the parties is something that I will leave them to decide.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, do you think this resolution that's just been passed has a shelf life - that there is a time, a number of days, after which it is necessary to revisit it?

SG: I think the Council should stay constantly seized of the matter because the situation, as I said, is not getting better. In fact, I shared my personal view with the Council that it would take a real optimist to think that we've hit rock bottom. I think it's likely to get worse. So the Council should stay actively engaged and try and do whatever they can to pull the parties back.

Q: Is it helpful to the process that a member of the Security Council chose to boycott the actual vote - a pretty rare occurrence - Syria. I know you don't want to say anything about a member country, but does that bode badly for what may come in terms of the dialogue?

SG: I think we all like to see the Council act unanimously and on important issues like this, when the whole world comes together, we tend to have a greater impact and force. But given the fact that the vast majority of the Council members voted for the resolution, I think its impact is quite powerful.

Q: Have you thought about or ready to maybe go another step, to actually get behind the idea of sending some sort of monitoring - or a third party mechanism in there to stand between the forces or invoke Chapter 7 in a resolution?

SG: No. The question of third party presence was invoked this morning. And in my contacts with leaders around the world, the issue came up very strongly this weekend. So the issue is coming back to the forefront. And I just appealed to the Council that they should think it through and decide how we deal with that. But I think it's very much in the forefront now.

Q: Was this presented by you, Mr. Secretary-General, as a new proposal to overcome the deterioration of the situation?

SG: I did not specifically put it forth, but it came up in the Council discussions and I informed the Council that in my contacts with leaders around the world that issue has been raised by many of them.

Q: Are you ready to support that idea?

SG: I will be discussing it with the Council. I think what is clear is that the parties left to themselves cannot resolve this issue. They need a third party to help with the mediation and perhaps in other forms too.

Q: There was another car bomb explosion today. Critics of you say that you are too biased towards the Palestinian view, that Israel's very security is at risk, and that they have to take terrorism and go at the source.

SG: My answer to those who say that is that peace and security are two sides of the same coin, and you cannot have security without looking at the political aspects of it. And in fact, when you look at the statement I made to the Council this morning, I make that point very, very clearly. We tried security only for 18 months and what have we achieved? I think it is time for us to reassess and reconsider what other elements we should bring to the table. Thank you.

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New York, 1 April 2002 - statement to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East including the question of Palestine

Mr. President,

It is less than 72 hours since I last addressed this Council. During the intervening period, the situation on the ground between Israelis and Palestinians has seen a further sharp escalation. Chairman Arafat remains confined in his compound under extremely harsh conditions. The Israeli military campaign in the West Bank has continued to widen and intensify. And there have been several appalling suicide bombings within Israel itself.

We keep thinking that things cannot get worse. And yet they do get worse, day by day. It would take a reckless optimist to say that the worst is over. Indeed, I fear that much worse is to come if the escalation on both sides is allowed to continue.

The parties are locked into the logic of war, and I fear for the consequences, including for the region. The question we face is how to persuade the parties to move from the logic of war to the logic of peace.

Security Council resolution 1402 is the best available instrument for halting the descent into further chaos and bloodshed. I applaud the Council for adopting it so swiftly, and call on you - collectively and individually - to act now to secure its implementation.

The resolution demands steps from both sides that are realistic, achievable and urgently necessary. Both sides can fulfill its demands if only they have the will.

Mr. President,

I must tell the Council candidly that I see no prospect of breaking the current downward spiral -- and recreating the possibility of peace and security for both sides -- unless we address the core problems in the Middle East - occupation; violence, including terrorism; and the economic plight of the Palestinians. I believe there is a growing international understanding of the need to treat security and peace as two sides of the same coin. Yet each of the parties remains unwilling to accept fully the other's basic demands.

As this Council is aware, I have long argued that security and peace must be addressed in parallel, in the spirit of Security Council resolutions 1397 and 1402. In other words, we need to take into account the legitimate security concerns of Israel and the legitimate political aspirations of the Palestinians - at the same time.

The events of the intervening week have underlined that need. Even while the Arab Summit was making important progress in its peace efforts, a suicide bomb exploded in Netanya, taking the lives of more than twenty Israeli civilians. There can be no doubt that the Netanya bomb was aimed not only at Israeli civilians: it was aimed at the very possibility of a peaceful co-existence between the two peoples.

Following the Netanya bomb, the Israeli armed forces attacked the compound of Palestinian Authority Chairman Arafat, began a re-occupation of parts of the West Bank and Gaza, and have imposed restrictions in Gaza. International and humanitarian personnel have been restricted in their movements, in contravention to UN conventions and international humanitarian law.

Israeli tanks and soldiers are besieging the compound of Palestinian Authority Chairman Arafat, the internationally recognized leader of the Palestinian people. Although the Government of Israel has given assurances that Chairman Arafat will not be harmed, the situation inside the compound is very dangerous and could have disastrous results. Indeed, I believe that Israel's presence inside the compound of Chairman Arafat, and its military actions in the West Bank and Gaza, can only produce a further deterioration, and the loss of more innocent Palestinian and Israeli life, and should be ended immediately.

Mr. President,

There have also been worrying developments along the Blue Line. On two occasions there have been attacks from the Lebanese side of the Blue Line. First, there was a serious violation of the Blue Line by Hezbollah, which launched mortars and rockets against the Sha'ba farms area.

Late yesterday, there was a shooting attack against an IDF position in Israel from the Lebanese side of the Blue Line, a further violation. In both cases Israel responded. I would like to stress that the Security Council, acting unanimously, has confirmed Israel's full withdrawal from all occupied territory in southern Lebanon. The Blue Line should not be violated by any party.

The combination of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, Israeli military action in Palestinian areas, and attacks from southern Lebanon across the Blue Line produce a situation which has the clear potential to threaten regional peace and security.

Mr. President,

Over the past few days, I have been in communication with the parties and with international leaders who can assist the parties in de-escalating the current, dangerous escalation. In the region, my Special Coordinator has traveled to Ramallah to meet with the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Mahmoud Abbas and has been in telephone communication with Chairman Arafat and his negotiators. He has also met with a series of Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Peres.

My Special Coordinator has also been working intensively within the framework of the Quartet of envoys, while also keeping in close telephone contact with Egyptian and Jordanian officials. He has been working especially closely with General Zinni, to whom the Security Council lent its full backing in its resolution 1402. The Quartet, whose activities I fully support, will resume its consultations tomorrow morning.

Mr. President,

One week ago in Beirut I told the Arab Summit that there is no conflict in the world today whose solution is so clear, so widely agreed upon, and so necessary to world peace as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tragically, however, there is no conflict whose path to resolution seems so thickly entangled with hatred and mistrust, or so vulnerable to the acts of extremists.

Allow me therefore to sound a small note of optimism, drawing on the larger historical context. Even as the situation on the ground - with immense suffering and fear on both sides - is perhaps the worst in decades, we must not lose sight of the fact that only last week the Arab states as a whole declared their readiness to live in peace with Israel on the conditions set out in the Saudi proposal, as adopted by the Arab League Summit. In addition, the Council, for the first time ever, has affirmed its support for a vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders.

This historic step forward must not be allowed to be obscured by the events of recent days. At this most difficult of junctures, there is a need for vision, courage and statesmanship - from both sides as well as from the international community.

This Council has a heavy responsibility to do its part to halt the downward spiral, and I urge you to do your utmost to ensure the implementation of resolutions 1397 and 1402.

Thank you.

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This site complements the Secretary-General's official statements and speeches, issued as press releases, with symbol SG/SM/-; and statements made by his Spokesman in daily press briefings



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