Joint press encounter by the Secretary-General and European Union High Representative Javier Solana (Secretary-General's remarks only)
Brussels, 18 July 2006SG: Thank you very much, good morning ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank my good friend Javier for organizing this meeting. We have a very important meeting here where we hope not only to analyse what is happening in Darfur, but also seek some support to strengthen the African union force that is on the ground.
We need to do a couple of things. We are maintaining pressure on the rebels that have not signed the agreement to come on board as quickly as possible. We are pressing those who have signed the agreement to begin implementing them effectively and immediately. We are seeking additional resources to be able to help the internally displaced persons and the refugees. Here today hopefully we will get additional pledges to strengthen the African union force so they can have better protection for the IDPs (internally displaced persons) and continue to hold the ground before the transition to the UN takes place, and from the UN angle we have moved, we are quite advanced with our planning for eventual deployment to Darfur, and we are also engaged in very serious discussions with the Sudanese authorities, asking them to cooperate with the deployment of the force.
And of course on Middle East, I want to thank Mr. Javier Solana for having gone to the ground himself. He also met there with my team. It was a team that supported and reinforced each other. They are now in Israel and they may go back to Lebanon and to Damascus and then come to New York and to report to me and the Security Council.
The situation is very urgent and it is imperative that the international community acts to end the fighting and the killing that is going on and acts to find some longer-term stability for that region.
I will take your questions.
Q: Est-ce que vous pensez qu'un cessé le feu au Moyen Orient est probable et possible, vous avez beaucoup parlé d'une force de stabilisation mais est-ce qu'un cessé le feu est probable?
SG: Oui j'avais aussi demandé de cesser les hostilités. Il faut vraiment les arrêter! J'avais demandé comment on dit en anglais la “cessation of hostilities”, et je crois que le Conseil de Sécurité doit s'y mettre vraiment, travailler dessus très sérieusement, disons avec un paquet de propositions, et demander un arrêt de ces violences.
Q: First of all, do you think a UN force will be able to disarm Hezbollah, and if not, who would be able to do it?
And second, on Darfur, do you hope to convince Sudan to accept the UN deployment?
SG: On the first question, let me say that the mandate of the force will have to be agreed to by the Security Council. But on the earlier Resolution 1559, all militia in Lebanon are supposed to be disarmed. That function had been, it had been expected, that the government will do it, but of course if a force were to go in, the mandate will have to be determined by the Security Council.
On Darfur, I'm still hopeful that we will get the Sudanese government to cooperate and to support the force because after all we are going there to help the government, we are going there to help them protect their own people and the government must be familiar with us since we have cooperated with them with regards to the agreement between the north and the south and already have a 10,000 man force in southern Sudan.
Q: Can you just tell us in a few words how is the stabilization force going to look now, because we already know that we have troops already there, so what can they do different to really have an impact? Thank you very much.
SG: I see we have all put the World Cup behind us, nobody asks about the World Cup anymore!
Let me say that the force will be larger the way I see it. Obviously it's a Council decision. It will be much larger than the 2, 000 man force we have there. They will have a different concept of operation and hopefully a different mandate from the Security Council that will allow them to operate in the south and help stabilize the situation whilst it gives the government of Lebanon time to organize itself and organize and prepare ... eventually, extend its authority throughout the territory including the south, and then give also time for them to sort out the question of the disarmament of the militia.
Off-the-Cuff on 18 July 2006