Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's joint press encounter with League of Arab States (LAS) Secretary-General Amre Moussa (unofficial transcript)
Cairo, Egypt , 24 March 2007LAS SG Mr. Moussa: I welcome the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This is not the first time that he comes to the Arab League. He has come here before as the candidate for the post of Secretary-General. This is his first visit here as Secretary-General, and we very much welcome him at the League of Arab States. As you have seen, the meeting took a bit longer because we have explored so many issues ranging from the African region, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and all other issues.
UN SG: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary-General, for a very warm welcome, and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to be back to the headquarters of the League of Arab States. As Secretary-General Moussa said, I was here in my capacity as Secretary-General candidate, one of the candidates. Now I am very happy to be back in my capacity as Secretary-General, and I count on your continued support and cooperation. In dealing with all the major issues as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I regard it very useful and important to maintain a close partnership between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. As you may remember, I have visited the African Union in January of this year and I am intending to work very closely with regional organizations like the League of Arab States, the African Union and many other regional organizations. We have had good discussions, very comprehensively on major issues. In this region, we have experienced many conflicts starting from Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine and Israel, Somalia and Darfur. We have also discussed many political dynamics of the regional players in this region. We agreed to cooperate fully and I have solicited his counsel as I have known him as former ambassador to the United Nations, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, and now in his capacity as the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. I am counting upon his continued support and cooperation as we work together towards building a more prosperous and secured peace in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world. Thank you very much.
Q: To Mr. Secretary-General Moussa: What is your view of the likelihood that the Arab Leaders states, yourself here, or at the Arab Summit, you were asked to convince President Bashir of Sudan to accept further U.N. Peacekeeping involvement in Darfur without any further negotiations, just go ahead and accept the Abuja agreements?
LAS SG : We are going to arrange for a meeting or more than a meeting to discuss the situation in Darfur, since the Secretary-General of the United Nations will be present, so will be Mr. Konare of the African Union. It is only natural that President Bashir will be there. So we will do our best and meet together in order to discuss precisely what you have just mentioned.
Q: Speaking as an Arab citizen, this area is suffering from a great deal of anger from looking at the double standards that have been applied through international resolutions. The Security Council resolutions are applied and enforced against certain parties but the region is looking at the Security Council resolutions that target Israel, to see that for many, many years which none of them have been applied or implemented, until when will this continue?
UN SG: As a matter of principal, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, all the members of the United Nations and particularly parties to the conflict should abide by and fully comply with relevant Security Council resolutions. As Secretary-General, I am going to facilitate such implementation of all the resolutions.
Q: On the situation in Iraq, what is the U.N. doing in Iraq in terms of putting an end to the occupation and the improvement of the situation in Iraq.
UN SG: My brief visit to Iraq this time was a very useful even though for me personally, I was able to experience in person all the ongoing violence and security concerns. The United Nations has been participating and contributing during the last four years in many aspects including political facilitation and social and economic reconstruction efforts, as well as humanitarian assistance, and this will be continued by the United Nations. But as you may agree, the situation on the ground has largely constrained the activities of the United nations, I am going to consider in what way, and what kind of contributions, and how we can increase our presence there to help the Iraqi people to be able to enjoy and recover their security - politically and socially and also enjoy genuine freedom and democracy.
Q: Is there any chance that the Arab Leaders next Summit in Riyadh would change some aspects of the Arab initiative to make it acceptable for Israel and the United States?
LAS SG : The initiative is an initiative of peace. It deals with all the files pertaining to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and commits all Arab countries to normalize, recognize Israel once Israel carries, implements its responsibilities and obligations under the existing resolutions. So we fail to understand why should we modify such a peace offer, and make it less objective and less positive, we are not going to fall into this trap. Our hand will continue to be extended on the basis of that initiative that calls upon all parties, first of all, the commitment, our commitment, to implement our part of the deal, and we continue to wait for the assurance by Israel of its readiness to enter into peace. Once there is an offer on the other side, then the all, will draw towards peace and towards colossal peace, but we are not convinced at all with the bad reasoning coming from the other side with all the negative messages that are being sent to us, from building settlements to the wall to the excavations in the Mosque, under the Mosque to the bad language used on the occasion of the reconciliation of the Palestinians, and so on. So we are not convinced that there is a serious approach coming from them.
Q: What is the U.N.'s plan to deal with the Iranian Nuclear file?
UN SG: At this time, this Iranian nuclear issue is actively being considered by the Security Council members and I am awaiting for the Security Council resolutions on this matter.
Thank you very much.
Off-the-Cuff on 24 March 2007