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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's press encounter following meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (unofficial transcript)

Washington, D.C., 23 September 2005

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, there are reports today that the Syrians may be angling for some kind of effective amnesty on the Mehlis investigation, that the top leaders there would want to see the people that are turned over would not be pursued. What do you know about that? What is your attitude towards this?

SG: As you know, the Mehlis investigations are still going on for another couple of weeks yet. I have not received the final report and it would be a bit imprudent and premature for me to comment on that and so I would suggest we wait for the outcome and we study the report before we decide. I have not received any approaches from the Syrians, that they want to make a deal and besides, at this stage, no Syrian has been accused yet.

Q: What was in the agenda at lunch today?

SG: We reviewed quite a few issues: The UN reform, its implementation. We looked at peacekeeping operations in Africa, the Haiti situation, we talked about Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, now that they've had successful elections, which I'm very pleased the UN team helped with and helped to organize. What happens for the longer term, what do we do, as an international community, to help the new Afghan government develop its economy.

One last question.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you also met with members of Congress. Are you getting the sense that this new outcome document will be enough to persuade members of Congress to drop the dues provision?

SG: I hope it does, because it shows determination and seriousness on the part of member states to move ahead with reform across the board and I think we should all work together to press on and reform the Organization and, quite honestly, we need to be careful not to take any initiatives that will stall the reform – any initiative that will get a negative reaction from all the member states.

Thank you very much.