Secretary-General's press encounter following the General Assembly's adoption of the resolution "Peace, Security and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula"
New York, 31 October 2007SG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you very much, Mr. President, for your very kind congratulatory remarks.
I wholeheartedly welcome the General Assembly's adoption by consensus of the resolution on peace and security and reunification on the Korean Peninsula.
This consensus adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly, the second of its kind following the [South-North] 2000 summit meeting, attests to the aspiration of the international community to realize peace and security on the Korean peninsula.
This Declaration on the inter-Korean relations, peace and prosperity, set a new milestone in its relationship between the two parties of Korea. I am convinced that it will promote further reconciliation, cooperation, and pave the establishment of a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, leading eventually to the reunification on the Korean Peninsula.
As Secretary-General, I stand ready to facilitate in whatever possible way such very important efforts between the two parts of Korea. At the same time, while I thank the Member States of the United Nations for their valuable support, I also appeal that they continue their cooperation and assistance to both countries so that they can realize an early resolution of all the pending issues on the Korean peninsula for peace and security. Thank you very much.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, on another Asian issue, your Envoy to Myanmar, Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari, will be going back to Myanmar in a few days. Will he be carrying another specific message from you? Are you going to ratchet up your call for Myanmar to deal more peacefully with protests, or at least prisoners, etcetera etcetera? And do you have any specific goals that you have set for him on this particular mission from November 3rd to the 8th?
SG: His second visit to Myanmar this time will have to bring a [substantive result]. I am going to meet with Ambassador Gambari in Istanbul on Friday morning. We will discuss all strategies. I am going to instruct what he has to do during his visit to Myanmar. Our goal is that he will facilitate dialogue between the government and opposition leaders, and do more - the democratic measures by the Myanmar government, including the release of all detained students and demonstrators, and open up their society as soon as possible.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, in your 1701 report, you say that Israel sees missile in Lebanon as a strategic threat. Does that concern you? I mean “strategic threat” is pretty strong.
SG: My report on 1701 is before the Security Council, therefore I leave it to the members of the Security Council to discuss my report. At this time, Israel has said that they have information on this, but they have not clearly produced any evidence or information in a detailed manner. However, I would like to see that all parties in the region should fully cooperate in implementing Security Council resolution 1701.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, there is a situation brewing in Chad, where a few French NGOs apparently kidnapped about 109 children from there, and they were taking them to France and they were caught. In Chad at this time they are protesting. Is there a position that the United Nations has on this? Is it a kidnapping? Should it be condemned or not? What is your position on this?
SG: We will look into this case and we will take the necessary measures to address this issue.
Q: You are leaving soon to Turkey to attend the Iraqi neighbouring countries' meeting. What is your expectation from the meeting?
SG: This meeting, which I will be attending on Saturday is an expanded Foreign Ministers' meeting of the regional countries of Iraq. This is a continuation of the meeting which was already held in Sharm el Sheikh last May. I hope that through the active participation and cooperation of all the countries in the region, we will be able to find out some good ways to assist and help the Iraqi people and government to overcome this very difficult situation. You may remember that during the meeting which I convened last September, I have proposed to establish a support office within the ministry of the Iraqi government, so that we can have a more effective mechanism to help the Iraqi people and government.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, this is a question about press freedom. Do you think that governments should be able to decide which journalists from their country cover the United Nations, especially if it is not a country where the press is free?
SG: I think we should have some established practice about which journalists should be accredited to the United Nations. That I hope you discuss with DPI and the Spokesperson's Office. These are technical, administrative matters, so?
Q: ?about freedom of expression, which is enshrined in the Charter, and I am asking if there is a way for journalists from Taiwan to transcend the Catch 22 of their passports, and be able to come into the building and cover the goings-on here?
SG: I am not aware of any specific questions which you are asking at this time, however, it is quite clear that there is a freedom of expression and speech, and the United Nations upholds that principle. As for any specific questions of who will represent which country, which media organization, and whether they are accredited to any organization, that I think each and every organization may have their own established practice. They should abide by the regulations.
Q: I have a question regarding a North Korean matter – you just said that you would like to do everything to support peace on the Korean peninsula. Do you have any special plan in your mind, as head of the United Nations, and if so, can you please give me the details?
SG: At this time, I do not have any detailed or specific plans, but in principle, as Secretary-General, I have a broad mandate and duty to assist any parties to the problems for smooth and harmonious resolution. For that matter, since I served as Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea in the past, and I have expertise and knowledge and experience, wherever I am needed, I will do whatever I can.
Thank you very much.