22 April 2020

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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Question:  First, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has said the decision to annex the West Bank will be an Israeli decision alone.  Many are interpreting that as a green light to the new coalition to annex the West Bank.  How worried is the Secretary‑General about that prospect?

Spokesman:  Look, I’m not in the analysis business, but what I can tell you is that we have… in the past, both the Secretary‑General and his envoy, Mr. [Nickolay] Mladenov, have expressed great concern about possible annexation and unilateral moves, and I… and that remains our position.  And I do expect Mr. Mladenov to take this… to brief… to say more on this at his briefing this week in the Security Council.

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Question:  I have a second… I have a second question regarding Palestine also.  I mean, this is unusual development.  I mean, their coalition Government for Israel, based on an agreement of a land grab from Palestine, which could equal one‑fourth of the West Bank, the Jordan Valley is included, why the Secretary‑General does not issue a clear statement condemning this development? This is not an easy… it’s not a daily incident.

Spokesman:  Abdelhamid, two things.  One, on the formation of the Government, it went through dem… you know, a political process, a democratic process, which is not for us to comment how Member States form their Government.  On the issue of annexation, we have been very clear, if you look back at the Secretary‑General’s briefings, at Mr. Mladenov’s briefings on this issue, it being clear in black and white, and those positions, those statements, still stand.  Go ahead.

Question:  I mean, just… Russian Federation issued a statement.  Even the US Secretary of State commented on that, not the Secretary‑General.

Spokesman:  As I’ve said, I think a couple of times today and yesterday, Mr. Mladenov will be briefing the Security Council this week, and I think he will be very clear in his statement.

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For information media. Not an official record.