Spokesperson's Noon Briefing


Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

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

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Question:  Is the Secretary-General being kept abreast on the various peace initiatives being discussed on the Middle East, especially between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and especially now that ( US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice is in the region?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes.  We are being kept abreast of all that. I believe yesterday, the Spokeswomen, Michèle, said that Condoleezza Rice did speak to the Secretary-General prior to her Middle East tour to inform him about the development. And of course we appreciate all efforts to bring the Israeli and Palestinian leaders together.

Question:  Are you involved in anyway other than just receiving information?

Associate Spokesperson:  We’re keeping track of it. And beyond that, the Secretary-General is trying to make sure that the Quartet for the Middle East will meet as early as possible. We are hoping for something in early February.

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Question:  What’s the relation between Rice’s attempts to bring Palestinians and Israelis together and having the Quartet…I mean, is there a sequence here? Should the Palestinians, Israelis and Rice agree to something first and then the Quartet would meet? Or will the Quartet meet no matter what happens on the ground?

Associate Spokesperson:  Given the new developments on the ground, it is important for the Quartet to meet to evaluate the situation and see where all the parties of the Quartet can help move the Road Map forward.

Question:  What is the object of the Quartet meeting — or is it only to assess the situation on the ground?

Associate Spokesperson:  It’s to assess the latest developments and to see what can be done to move the entire Road Map process forward.

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Question:  While we’re on the Quartet issue, is there any newer information than what I got from Michele a week ago on the possible venue for the meeting? There was talk of Paris and then there was talk that maybe they would meet here as they did last May.

Associate Spokesperson:  We still need to figure out what venue would be convenient for all the members of the Quartet. Because of scheduling problems, we weren’t able to arrange it for Paris.

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For information media • not an official record