Daily Press Briefing by the Offices of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General and the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

10 June 2009

Daily Press Briefing by the Offices of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General and the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

10 June 2009
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York




The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Marie Okabe, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Enrique Yeves, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

Briefing by the Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Good afternoon.

**Secretary-General’s Statement on Pakistan

I know the action is out by the Security Council stakeout, but I have a statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the terrorist attack in Peshawar, which I do want to get on the record as soon as possible.

As more information emerges about yesterday’s terrorist attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan, the Secretary-General is further dismayed by the news that the confirmed death toll is rising and includes two UN staff members -- Mr. Aleksandar Vorkapic of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Ms. Perseveranda So of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  Four United Nations colleagues -- two from the World Food Programme (WFP), one from the World Health Organization (WHO) and one from UNICEF -- were injured.  A number of Pakistani nationals supporting United Nations programmes were also killed and injured.  The search for casualties is continuing.

The Secretary-General reiterates his strong condemnation of this brutal act of terror against innocent people, many of whom were in Peshawar to carry out humanitarian work.

The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.

** Pakistan -- Humanitarian

In addition to the statements issued by the Secretary-General, we have available upstairs statements from the UN refugee agency, UNICEF, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Food Programme concerning the attack in Peshawar.

For security considerations, WFP has delayed the resumption of its food distributions at humanitarian hubs and settlements for internally displaced persons by 24 hours.  All WFP food distributions for the humanitarian emergency operation will resume tomorrow.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan said in a statement that the United Nations is determined to continue its support to more than 2 million Pakistanis who have been affected by the ongoing displacement crises.  That statement is also available upstairs.

**Press Conference Today

And before I continue, I wanted to tell you that we have the General Assembly Spokesperson today to brief on recent developments here.

At 2:45 p.m. today there will be a press conference by Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein and President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), together with Prince Zeid, Ambassador of Jordan to the United States and Chairman of the Intersessional Meeting on the Crime of Aggression.  They will brief on the work of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

**Secretary-General’s Statement on Niger

We issued yesterday evening a statement on Niger.

The Secretary-General expressed his concern over recent developments in Niger and the heightened political tension in the country following the President’s decision to dissolve Parliament.  These developments come at a time when Niger had made significant progress in the efforts to resolve the Tuareg conflict and to consolidate democratic and economic progress.

The Secretary-General urges all parties to act in full respect of the country’s Constitution and to refrain from any action that would undermine Niger’s democratic gains, as well as the stability of the country.  He welcomes the recent initiatives launched by regional leaders and urges Niger’s stakeholders to extend the fullest cooperation to those initiatives in order to resolve the current problems peacefully.

** Iraq

On Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, today condemned in the strongest terms the car bombing in Nasiriyah, which reportedly left more than 35 people dead and scores of others wounded.  He described the bombing as “a cruel crime against innocent civilians that aims to derail Iraq’s stability”.

De Mistura extended the UN’s sincere condolences to all the bereaved families and his wishes for the speedy and full recovery of the wounded.

**Security Council

The Security Council, as you know, held consultations just a short while ago, to discuss a draft resolution concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The Security Council yesterday afternoon also issued two press statements, one on Burundi and the other on Guinea-Bissau.

**Secretary-General on Sierra Leone

And earlier today the Secretary-General called on the international community to provide continued support to the people and Government of Sierra Leone as they strive for the dividends of peace after years of war.

Speaking at today’s high-level special session of the Peacebuilding Commission on Sierra Leone, the Secretary-General said that, though the country has made remarkable progress since the war, the situation remained fragile.  “Seven years after the end of the civil war, the people of Sierra Leone expect to see tangible improvements in their lives and their country’s welfare.”

The Secretary-General also commended the President, Ernest Bai Koroma, his Government and the opposition leaders for their joint efforts to dealing successfully with the outbreak of political violence in March this year.  And you had a preview about this yesterday by the noon briefing guest [Michael Schulenburg, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone].

** Somalia -- International Contact Group Meeting

On Somalia, the International Contact Group on Somalia, has, at the end of a two-day meeting in Rome, called on the international community to take concrete action in support of the progress being made by the Somali Government.

Under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Contact Group urged those who made pledges at the recent Brussels Donors’ Conference to disburse and expedite the use of funds and pledges without further delay.  These funds should enable the Somali security sector to become more effective and also strengthen the capabilities of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM.

The ICG communiqué also expressed grave concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, especially the plight of the displaced and of refugees.  The Contact Group also supports initiatives aimed at combating piracy, which it described as an international security threat that also affects the Somali people. 

The full communiqué is available upstairs in the Spokesperson’s Office.

**Le Roy -- Africa Trip

And we have two travelling Under-Secretaries-General.  The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, is travelling to West Africa and is scheduled to arrive in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, this evening.

In addition to Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Le Roy will travel to Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali and Nigeria, where he will meet with Government officials and local authorities.  The trip includes familiarization visits to two peacekeeping operations in the region, the UN Mission in Liberia and the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire.

This trip ends on Friday, 19 June.  And this is his first visit to West Africa as Under-Secretary-General.

**Pascoe in Central African Republic

Meanwhile, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, is expected early tomorrow in Bangui for a working visit.  According to the UN peacebuilding office there, Mr. Pascoe will be meeting with senior Government officials for consultations on the current political and security situation and relations between the United Nations and the country.  Security sector reform and disarmament of armed groups will also be discussed.

Mr. Pascoe is also expected to confirm the date of arrival in Bangui of the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General there.  He will also meet members of the foreign diplomatic corps to discuss issues of development and peace consolidation.

**Climate Change

On climate change, negotiations in Bonn on an international climate change deal, to be concluded in Copenhagen in December, continue to make slow but steady progress, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It says that more than 200 pages of comments and suggestions for the text that will ultimately be adopted in Copenhagen are now on the table.

The Framework Convention adds that countries have made significant progress in two areas: how to approach the issue of reducing deforestation; and how to facilitate and finance technologies that can help developing countries address climate change.  This, it stresses, will pave the way for these key issues to be included in the eventual outcome document.  The talks are to conclude Friday.

** Myanmar

And more support is required for the education sector in Myanmar.  That was the key message in the donor meeting on education, organized by the United Nations in Yangon.  In a press release issued there, the top UN official in Myanmar, who is the Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator, says there are shortages of learning material and qualified teachers.  Further education or vocational training opportunities for drop-out students from general education are limited.

There is more information on this in the press release upstairs.

**Child Labour

The global financial crisis could push an increasing number of children, particularly girls, into child labour.  That’s according to a new report issued by the International Labour Organization (ILO), ahead of the World Day against Child Labour, this Friday.

More than 100 million girls are already involved in child labour worldwide, says ILO, adding that an increase in poverty resulting from the crisis could mean families will be faced with a choice as to which children stay in school, often to the detriment of girls.

You can read more on this upstairs.

**Tree Planting Campaign

The Billion Tree Campaign has mobilized thousands of people around the world to put more trees on the planet, says the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and has already surpassed the 4 billion mark, in a crucial step towards its target of 7 billion trees to be planted by the end of 2009.

To date, 166 countries around the world have been planting trees, and groups such as the World Organization of the Scouts Movement and UN peacekeepers have also joined the campaign on World Environment Day.

You can see the honour roll of the top 10 tree-planting countries in a press release upstairs, along with more information on this campaign.

**Secretary-General on General Assembly Presidents

And this is a good segue to the General Assembly Spokesperson.

The Secretary-General this morning congratulated Ali Abdussalam Treky of Libya on being elected President of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly.  He also congratulated the current President, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, on his valuable contribution.

From climate change to hunger, from the economic crisis to the urgent need to reach the Millennium Development Goals, the General Assembly will be challenged to forge new levels of international cooperation to solve our problems, the Secretary-General said.  He adds that his own experience tells him that the Assembly can rise to this challenge. 

We have his full speech upstairs.

**Press Conference Tomorrow

And tomorrow at 11 a.m., here in Room 226, we will have the Secretary-General.  He will hold his monthly press conference in this room.  And there will be no noon briefing following that press conference tomorrow. 

So 11 a.m. tomorrow, the Secretary-General will hold his monthly press conference.

And that’s what I have for you.  Before I turn to Enrique, anything for me?  Matthew.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  Sure, I want to ask about Sri Lanka and Côte d’Ivoire.  In Sri Lanka, the Government has just barred and deported a Canadian Member of Parliament, saying that, because he raised issues about the treatment of Tamil civilians, he must be a Tamil Tiger supporter.  Does the UN view this as a useful move by the Government with which it signed a joint statement?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Again, Matthew, I am not going to have reactions to everything you read in the newspapers about Sri Lanka, but…

Question:  This [inaudible] happened.  I guess I am saying you said that he signed a statement, was closely monitoring events.  Are they?

Deputy Spokesperson:  He is closely monitoring events and, as he sees fit, he will be responding.  Yes.

Question:  On Côte d’Ivoire, there are reports that, in contravention of applicable sanctions, weapons are being moved in by a former rebel group.  What is UNOCI and the UN, what does it know about it and what is it going to do about it?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I have not seen any updates on that subject from UNOCI, but we can certainly ask them for you.

[The reporter was later also informed that this question was a matter for the Experts of the Sanctions Committee dealing with Côte d’Ivoire.]

If there is nothing else for me, we’ll have Enrique.

Question:  Can I say one more thing?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Sure.

Question:  I wanted to ask what his view… maybe he will say this…  There is a proposal in the Fifth Committee to cut the budget of all the peacekeeping missions by 2.5 per cent.  This one is promoted by the United States, the Republic of Korea and others.  Does the Secretariat think this is doable?  How would it impact the peacekeeping missions to cut them across the board and [inaudible]?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Why don’t we get DPKO to give you an analysis of how they view that situation?  I don’t have any guidance from them right now.  With that, Enrique.  Thanks.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

Good afternoon, good to see you all.

As you already know, this morning took place the election of the new President of the General Assembly and it was elected by acclamation Dr. Ali Treki, from Libya.

The current President, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, congratulated Dr. Treki and said, and I am going to quote: “that he assumes with the same passion and determination that have inspired my presidency.  And I am sure that his presidency will continue to press for the revitalization of this body as it seeks to restore its authority and leadership on the world stage during these perilous times.”

President d’Escoto has made himself available to assist the new elected President and his team in any way he sees fit, as he prepares for next September.

On this topic, Dr. Ali Treki will hold his first press conference as President elect this coming Friday at 11 a.m. in this very same room.

And let me give you also an overview on some other activities related to the General Assembly.

On the global economic crisis summit, negotiations continue in a constructive atmosphere and progress is being made by Member States.  In terms of attendance, there are already around 100 delegations that have confirmed their participation although it is still not clear in many cases at what level.  Many delegations are waiting for the final outcome document, to decide at the very last moment the level of participation.

On Security Council reform, tomorrow, Thursday, 11 June, the second meting of the second round of negotiations will take place.  The negotiations will be on the size, categories of membership and regional representation.  And then the next meeting is scheduled for 23 June.

And on the revitalization of the General Assembly, the next meeting of the working group will take place on 19 June.  And this is all I have for you unless you have any questions. Mr. Abbadi.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  Thank you, Enrique.  The President of the Assembly is outgoing now; Mr. d'Escoto, and just to remind, he had said that there would be, quote, “progress” under his leadership of the Assembly regarding the reforms of the Security Council.  What progress has been achieved so far upon his departure now from the Assembly?

Spokesperson:  You mean what progress has been made in the issues that the President of the General Assembly is taking leadership?

Question:  [inaudible]…

Spokesperson:  Well, as I said, well, you know, basically the main priority of the President of the General Assembly was the democratization of the Organization, and he has been doing that in several fronts.  Certainly one is the upcoming conference, it is going to be a very important element.  And the other issues, as you know are the reform of the Security Council, where, after sixteen years, negotiations between governments are taking place now and progress is being made.  The President of the General Assembly appointed Mr. Tanin, Ambassador Tanin from Afghanistan, as his vice president in charge of the negotiations. Progress is being made, as you know, we have had one round of negotiations already, which finished.  We’re on the second round of negotiations, which will expect to finish by the end of this month.  Then, at that point, I think in that area ‑‑ in the Security Council reform ‑‑ we will have a better idea of where we are.

We still have three months to go from this presidency and there is a lot of work to be done.  And we have also in the area of revitalization of the General Assembly, very good work is being done by the two co-facilitators. And I expect that, after they have finished their third working group meeting ‑‑ that will be next week ‑‑ I will ask them to give you a brief on where we are on that issue. Those are basically the most important elements.  And the president has been briefing Dr. Ali Treki in detail on where we stand on all the different issues and his team. And the briefing continues, because he is going to be still here for a few days. And they have a very good working relationship.  They are very good friends from more than 30 years ago.  And as I said, the transition is going to be very smooth.

Question:  Who will be the spokesperson for Ambassador Treki?

Spokesperson:  That I don’t know.  That you’ll have to ask him, maybe on Friday.  But, as you know, traditionally, the Department of Public Information provides the spokesperson for the president.  In this case, I have had the honour and the great enjoyment of this experience and, whenever it is decided who is going to be the next spokesperson, I will do my utmost to have him briefed on all the different details of the work and make sure that there is also a smooth transition in that area.  Masood.

Question:  Enrique, what is the progress on the world financial summit and   how many heads of state or heads of government have accepted to come?  And can you update us as to where it stands; the status of the…

Spokesperson:  As I said, the negotiations are taking place right now on the outcome document and the negotiations are slow.  But, negotiations are normally slow, as you know.  You have all a lot of experience here, as I do, in these kind of conferences. There are very different positions, but all the ambassadors I have been talking to believe that there is a very constructive atmosphere. And obviously now, like in any negotiating process, they have to decide in which areas they are going to give up in one part, or to gain in others.  But, as I said, progress is being done and we hope that we will have before the leaders come ‑‑ as soon as possible ‑‑ the final outcome document, so that some heads of state will decide to come on the basis of the outcome document.

Question:  So far, do you have so far any idea, it’s 10 June today, [inaudible], do you have any idea how many heads of state or heads of government have accepted so far?

Spokesperson:  We have, as I said, it’s difficult to say because many…there are two elements here. One was the change of the dates.  And the second is that some delegations ‑‑ or a few delegations ‑‑ have already said that they’re waiting at least a few more days to see how the outcome document is, in order to give a more detailed statement on who is going to come and at what level.  The indications right now ‑‑ and I say this is a figure to be taken with care ‑‑ I think we will have around 30 to 40 heads of state and government.  We have a strong presence of Latin America and the Caribbean; especially from the Caribbean we have several heads of state and government coming up. We’ll have a good attendance, I’ve been told, from Africa and Asia.  And then, as they have already been said in public, the developed countries, especially the Europeans and the United States and some others, have indicated that they might not be represented at the level of heads of state, but certainly at the level of ministers or whoever is the chief of delegation.  That’s where we are right now.

Question:  I also wanted to find out, has this change of date affected attendance, because may be some plans were made earlier, but then they had to be changed?

Spokesperson:  Well, I think whatever we can say now is pure speculation. So, we’ll have to wait until the summit itself happens.  We had a figure of attendance at the beginning when the original dates were 1, 2 and the June.  But, in any case, as I said, unanimously it was decided by all the 192 Member States to postpone it.  Everybody thought they didn’t have enough time to do the negotiations. So, this is the date that we have.  Certainly it is not going to be moved. So, whatever the status is the meeting will take place.

Question:  [inaudible]… homekeeping (sic) question.  For like three months I have tried to get from you office information specifically about the work of the group of experts; but you guys have just blocked the issue out for like three months. Now, back to my question; what is the role of the group of experts at this point?  Have they finished their work regarding the global summit?  You know, is their work done?  Secondly, the members of the group of experts, were they appointed in their personal capacities or because oaf the position they were holding in their countries? And I have a follow up after that.

Spokesperson:  Okay. I am not sure what you’re referring to the three months that you have requested for information, because I keep almost on a daily basis briefing you on the status of the work of this conference and on the work of…

Question: [inaudible interruption]…

Spokesperson:  …Let me finish please!  …and on the work of the experts.  And all the work is available on line, as I have been repeating here often, in the page of the president of the General Assembly and in the General Assembly page.  And we have now even special pages for that; the full report of the group of experts is there, the composition and the meetings that have been taking place.  And I have been updating publicly, this group, the media, about it.  And very often, when they have approached me, that is personally, I have sent them information about it. So, I am not sure what is your question on that particular issue.

Having said that, let me then brief you on the whole and give you a little background on the commission of experts.  As you know, the President of the General Assembly, when we had the first indications of the crisis that was coming up, he saw immediately how serious this crisis was.  And he asked a group of experts, around 20 experts from around the world, to convey and come here first of all to brief the Member States about the crisis that was coming up. The selection was done on two bases: geographical distribution and professional capacity.  And it was a selection done by the President of the General Assembly.  And all the experts that were approached confirmed their participation. And they all have been working, as I said before, without any administrative or any reimbursement from any contract from the United Nations.  They have done it on their own capacity and without being paid.  Let me be very plain and very clear about it.

After the first interactive meeting that we had here, many Member States thought it was a good idea to keep the commission going on, and then we had four meetings. And then we had the work of these experts as one of the major inputs to the document that the President was preparing, as the basis for negotiations for this summit.  The committee had two working meetings ‑‑ one in New York, the other one in Geneva. Then they presented their findings to the Member States here in New York.  And then they had, with that feedback from the Member States, they had their final meeting in Holland, and with that feedback they prepared a document that was given to the President of the General Assembly. And, as I said before, it is available online for everybody who wants to check it.

That was the basis, one of the bases, that the President of the General Assembly used as a first draft of the document that he gave to the Member States for negotiations.  And as I said before, this is in the role of the President of the General Assembly in trying to facilitate the negotiating process.  But, it has to be very clear ‑‑ and it is very clear, I believe ‑‑ that the negotiations are being done by different Member States, which is where we are right now.  And that is basically the information that I think I can give to you.

Question:  Thank you, Enrique.

Spokesperson:  My pleasure.

Question:  Thank you very much.  Now to the follow up; you didn’t answer the question of whether members of the group of experts were appointed in their personal capacity.  I have…[inaudible] three questions…

Spokesperson:  No, no, I thought I had answered that.  But, let me make it clear.  They were selected on their personal professional capacity.  The President of the General Assembly tried basically to look for the best experts on this field around the world and tried to balance them regionally, so that we had experts from China, from Latin America, from the North, from the South…  and then he appointed as a coordinator of that task force Dr. Joseph Stiglitz, that you know well.

Question:  The reason I asked that question is because the expert that was appointed from Nigeria was this Governor of the Central Bank, who has been removed last week.  So are you saying that that does not affect his membership of the panel?

Spokesperson: I see your point.  No, it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t, because as I said, he was part of the commission in his personal and professional capacity.  He was not named by his country; let me put it like this.  Thank you.  Matthew.

Question:  I wanted to ask you about this Fifth Committee. It seems like, wasn’t it supposed to end by the end of May?  What’s the schedule for them actually voting on this $22 billion…[inaudible]?

Spokesperson:  The Fifth Committee, in theory, was supposed to have finished last week.  But, you know, those meetings are ‑‑ in theory ‑‑ not supposed to finish until they reach an agreement, and they have not reached an agreement.  They’re still, as you know very well, discussing the budget of the peacekeeping operations and there is no agreement. And this is where we are.  I know that they had another meeting last night; very late, at 9.00 p.m. they were here until late.  They have been working hard and, in the last days, to try and reach an agreement, but what I can tell you ‑‑ as you know as well ‑‑ is that there is no agreement right now.

Question:  Is there a deadline?  Is there a problem of them not having past this (Inaudible)…?

Spokesperson:  Well, the sooner the better; that’s the deadline.  But you know, like in any negotiating process, it’s up to them to reach an agreement.

Question:  I wanted to ask you about, in the Financial Times piece by Harvey Morris about the summit and the PGA.  He says that Father Miguel accuses the British Foreign Office, in particular, in trying to drive a wedge between him and his advisers, who include Joseph Stiglitz.  What does the President of General Assembly mean?  How is the British Foreign Office trying to drive such a wedge?  Can we just know a little bit more?

Spokesperson:  I don’t have any comment on that particular issue.  The President of the General Assembly spoke with the British ambassador about it and he informed him what was his opinion about it, and the ambassador of the UK gave him also some explanations, and I would rather not go any further into this issue.

Question:  Peace in the valley now?  Have they…[interrupted]?

Spokesperson:  As I said, I would rather not go into that.  Okay.  James.

Question:  There have been a couple news articles that have been critical about President d'Escoto. There was one in the Financial Times and one put out by Reuters, I think yesterday, in which they were quoting western diplomats as saying they were kind of fed up with the General Assembly President.  How does Father d'Escoto respond to these kinds of criticism?

Spokesperson:  Well, let me make this clear.  I think Father d'Escoto is not affected in the sense that, you know, like anybody else, you have better publicity in some places and not so good in others. He is a political figure and this is part of the political process.  There are some people who are not in agreement and make it so explicitly, and some people who are happy and sometimes they say it publicly and sometimes they don’t. There is not a particular problem on that issue.  But let me ‑‑ because I have been quoted in some of these articles, as well ‑‑ tell you what I find strange in the last two or three articles that we have seen, is that we keep hearing these anonymous sources quoting diplomats of the developed countries basically saying that the meeting is not a good idea.  It’s going to be a failure or that they don’t think it is going to accomplish anything or whatever.

I would like to make two comments on this particular issue.  The first one, it is very difficult to discuss with anonymous sources because, you know, we don’t know who has said that, and in what context.  It is very difficult to say anything.  However, the President speaks himself ‑‑ or I speak myself- on the record all the time and our record is very clear.  And the second part that I wanted to say on the substance of it is that it is very strange those criticisms, because this is a meeting that all along the process has been approved by consensus.

Thanks to the leadership of the President of General Assembly ‑‑ and that has to be very clear and everybody has to recognize it ‑‑ because we had a meeting in Doha that called for a meeting this year, asking the President of General Assembly to convene such a meeting by consensus, by 192 countries.  And, in that resolution, it was stated that around February or March they should decide what they called the modalities.  Basically, what, when, where and what exactly the format. That was discussed and it was approved under the leadership of the President of the General Assembly, unanimously. And unanimously a meeting was called on 1, 2 and 3 June. A couple of weeks before, several delegations raised the issue that they didn’t have enough time for the document for the negotiations, etcetera.  There were some negotiations going on and the President of the General Assembly managed to put all the groups together and take a unanimous decision; 192 countries saying that the meeting was going to take place in a couple of weeks, 24, 25 and 26 June.  And now we have a negotiating process, with a paper that has been produced by the President of the General Assembly.

So, if all these anonymous sources that we keep seeing in the newspapers are against it, they should have spoken openly on record in the General Assembly when it was approved, or in all the meetings that have been approved.  So, as I said, it is very difficult to reply to anonymous sources; especially people who are saying things that do not correspond with their acts and what we see on a daily basis.  So, the President of the General Assembly is happy about the process and how it goes, because we have managed to take all the decisions by consensus. And this is what it is all about in this Organization; these are the rules of the game in this place. And that has been done thanks to the President of the General Assembly.

Now, having said that, in any case, in any decisions that you make here politically at the international level and at national levels, there are people who are more happy than others. And they are free to express whatever opinion they want to.  But, as I said, it does not correspond to what we see in the rooms on the decisions.  192 countries have approved that this meeting take place in a couple of weeks, in the way it is taking place and based on the document that is being discussed right now.  Mr. Abbadi.

Question:  Thank you, Enrique. You said earlier that the President would conclude his mandate in about three weeks.  Do you know about his future plans?

Spokesperson:  No.  I mean in a couple of weeks he will have the summit of 24, 25 and 26 June on the global financial crisis.  But, his mandate, as you know, ends up on 15 September with the sixty-third session of the General Assembly.  And we have still almost three months of hard work ahead of us.  As to what he is going to do when he finishes, he is going to do exactly the same that he was doing before 15 September of last year.  That is, he is going to go back to Nicaragua and work in Nicaragua as a minister in the government of the President of Nicaragua.

Question:  Just one more question on the group of experts, now.  Is their work finished, or is still part of the process leading up to the summit at the end of this month?

Spokesperson:  Say that again, I…

Question:  The group of experts; is their work finished, or still part of the process leading up to the summit later this month?

Spokesperson:  The work of the experts is right now finished with the mandate that the current president gave them, which was to prepare a paper for this upcoming meeting.  Now, whether in this meeting and the next President decide that they have a further role in this process, this is up to the Member States and to the next President of the General Assembly to decide.

Thank you very much.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.