New York

17 February 2004

Secretary-General's Press Encounter Upon Arrival at United Nations Headquarters

Q: Good morning Mr. Secretary-General. Can you give us an update, even though you are very cold, on Lakhdar Brahimi's recommendations –how you are going to receive them - and he has already seemingly ruled out caucuses by the June 30th handover.

SG: I think I should wait to get the full report of the team before I comment in detail. But I am looking forward to receiving the team and getting their report before I draw any conclusions.

Q: When are they expected back, Sir?

SG: I think they will be back tonight.

Q: On another subject, Sir, Haiti. The situation seems to be slipping out of control. What are your thoughts on the situation and do you plan to maybe get involved in any way shape or form to try and…

SG: We are extremely concerned about the situation in Haiti and we have been in touch with CARICOM and the Organization of American States in reassessing our own participation and how we should become much more actively engaged. And so, I may have some announcements in the next few days.

Q: When do you anticipate deciding on Mr. Brahimi's conclusions? Will it be before you go to an unnamed large contributor to the United Nations?

SG: I hope so. I hope I will be able to do that before then, before I travel.

Q: Do you agree with Mr. Brahimi's assessment? He was very worried about civil war, a comment that didn't get that much play, but he seemed to express a lot of concern about that prospect.

SG: Well I know there has been some concern but I would really prefer to sit with Brahimi and the team and go over their findings, their impressions, and the discussions they had before I draw my own conclusions.

Q: How important do you think your conclusions are into this whole Iraq wrangle that's been going on since the war? The role of the UN and yourself right now?

SG: I hope it is going to be helpful. I hope we will be able to help break the impasse and steer things in the right direction.

Q: The High Commissioner for Human Rights. When can we expect an announcement on that, Sir?

SG: Soon.