Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Question: Mr. Secretary-General, today in Geneva the Human Rights Council begins deliberation on, among other things, one item agenda that will single out Israel and make it – you know, a State-specific agenda. Do you think that by dismissing the Israeli – one Israeli version of events last week as odd, you contributed to those who want to revert to the old ways of the Human Rights Commission? And also, could you describe your relations with Ambassador Bolton?
The Secretary-General: Let me first of all say that one of the reasons for reform of the Human Rights Commission is to move away from some of the past practices that we have all criticized, when it comes to selectivity and politicization of the Commission. Under the new Council we’ve made it clear that each Government will have its record reviewed. No country can claim to have a perfect human rights record. And so, I hope we are not going to see a situation where the Human Rights Commission focuses on Israel, the record of its – but not on the others. We’ve also indicated that they should start by reviewing the records of the members of the Council itself, and so I hope we are moving away from this selectivity and politicization of the review mechanism of the Commission.
On the second part of your question, obviously I was reacting to press speculation which indicated that what happened on the beach was a mine placed; and I did indicate that it was odd. You should know that my comment on that press report came before the report of the investigation came out, and as we speak I’m not sure we have a definitive report on the investigation. And I think we should all hold our horses until the Israeli Government puts out a definitive report and comment further. What I can tell you, that is, during this period I’ve had the chance to have a very long conversation with Prime Minister Olmert directly, and I have also spoken to President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, and I will continue my dialogue with them.
Question: Mr. Secretary-General, on the Brammertz report, today the Security Council will strengthen the mandate of [the International Independent Investigation Commission], which somehow links his job to the investigation of the other 14 cases of assassination and assassination attempts. It will ask you to help out. How do you perceive, from your own point of view, this particular task? What does strengthening mean, and is there a need for better linkage? Have you been in touch with President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, since you gave the official opinion of the United Nations regarding the delineation of borders — given that in your own report regarding resolution 1559 (2004) you called this a key to the resolution of lots of problems in Lebanon? Have you urged them to delineate borders?
The Secretary-General: On your first question, I think the strengthening implies that Brammertz and his team will give further technical and advisory assistance to the Lebanese authorities in their investigations. We will do whatever we can to assist them to get to the bottom of these investigations.
On your second question, I have indicated that the two countries will have to do their delineation. I have not been in touch directly with the Syrians about this. But that is something that is not excluded. If at some stage it becomes necessary, I will be prepared to assist both parties in doing the delineation, as we did help Lebanon and Israel with the South.
Question: What will make it necessary then in your view?
The Secretary-General: The two parties have to agree to do the delineation. It is a matter for the two parties to agree on. If they agree to do the delineation and seek our help, we will be prepared to support them.
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