Press encounter with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
Brussels, Belgium, 18 July 2006SG: Thank you very much. Good morning ladies and gentleman. I think the President of the Commission has said all that needs to be said. And I am extremely happy to be back here in Brussels.
And obviously like him I am extremely concerned about the developments on the ground in the Middle East and it is urgent that the international community acts to make a difference on the ground. And when I talk of action I am not talking of statements, exhortations, but really actual specific concrete action. That is one of the reasons why I propose that we do send in a stabilization force, that we do put forward a package for the Security Council to act on, urge the parties to accept it, and begin to move to put troops on the ground in the form of a stabilization force, and insist on cessation of hostilities.
I think we will now pause here and take your questions since we do not have too much time.
Q: Secretary-General, that stabilization force, I know that there are many details that have to be cleared, but how concrete can you get in describing the assignment of these soldiers whot might go in there especially also in relation to the forces that are there, the UNIFIL 2,000 soldiers. What will be the difference and so on? And secondly, what is being signalled to you from your European partners in regard to willingness to participate and to contribute?
SG: Let me say that you are right, that details will have to be worked out including the concept and the size of the force. I would expect a force that is considerably larger than the 2,000 force that is there. I would expect a force that will have a modified and a different concept of operation and with different capabilities. I would expect contributions from European countries and other countries from other regions. The Council will have to discuss this and define the specific mandate for one to be able to talk in more concrete terms.
With regards to my team on the ground, they are in Israel today talking with Israeli authorities. They had constructive discussions with the Lebanese Prime Minister and the Lebanese leadership. Now, they will be talking to the Israelis and if possible go back to Lebanon and then to Damascus. But they are trying to find a way of getting the parties to end the hostilities. They want to see the soldiers released, they want to see the Hezbollah shelling stop, they want to see the Israel shelling and bombardment stop, and they are in discussions with the parties. And since they are work is so ongoing I can not be more specific than that.
Q: One question for the Secretary-General on Kosovo. Secretary-General, how prepared are you to deal with an imposed solution on Kosovo knowing that there are some states like Russia who said that the United States doesn?t have the power to impose a solution. Thank you.
SG: We have not set out to impose a solution on Kosovo. That is why I have a special envoy former President Martti Ahtisaari, working as my mediator, and working with both parties, with Belgrade and Pristina, to find a solution and then he'll make a recommendation to the Security Council. So we are not on the verge, or anywhere near, imposing a solution. I would wait for the outcome of his work. And then we will make a judgment how to proceed.
Off-the-Cuff on 18 July 2006