Quartet to Meet Next Week to Support Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks
Secretary-General's Remarks at a Press Encounter
Ladies and gentlemen, let me turn now to other parts of our agenda.
The past year has been difficult: the earthquake in Haiti; floods in Pakistan; chronic suffering in Gaza; upheaval in Central Asia; armed conflict in many regions, often with women and children the main victims, as we have seen so brutally in recent weeks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Next week we will look in-depth at several situations that have reached critical and even potentially explosive moments.
The Quartet will meet to support the current direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
Q: Thank you very much, sir. On behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA), we welcome you sir. We understand that you are very busy. At UNCA, we wish you a productive and successful one, sir. My question is about the peace process in the Middle East, on both its tracks. President [Barack] Obama has lately said, and I quote him, “what I said to Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu is that, given so far the talks are moving forward in a constructive way, it makes sense to extend the moratorium on settlements”. Would you add your voice to the President and call upon the Prime Minister of Israel to extend the moratorium on settlements beyond 26 September to facilitate the continuance of the talks? And on the Syrian-Israeli track, what is your take on the French role being played and what's your hope for that track?
SG: Yes. I will do my best to help facilitate the smooth process of this very difficultly-launched direct dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian authorities. While it was very encouraging to see the official launch of these direct negotiations between the two parties, it is also very important, not only for the directly concerned parties, but for other concerned parties to help this process move toward the right direction, toward the destination. Therefore, I hope there should be no unexpected hurdles. About this moratorium on settlements, I have urged on many occasions, and I'm urging again today, that this moratorium should be extended so that there should be no hurdles so that the parties to the negotiation can continue their dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and with a very favourable political climate. I'm going to discuss this matter with the Quartet principals, as well as the League of Arab States' leaders, during the General Assembly. I understand the deadline of this settlement is the end of this month. We still have time, so everybody has a role to play. That is what I'm going to do.