20 April 2001

Q: Question on the Middle East.  You've been having a lot of conversations with leaders all over.  Do you see any signs of movement, is anything happening, is there any reason to hope that there might be some movement?

SG: There are discreet contacts.  And I think lots of governments and leaders of goodwill are at work.  And I hope that, in time, we'll see some movement.  I think it is important that we all recognize that all these issues are linked–the violence, the economic deprivation and the political process.  And we need to tackle them flexibly.  But of course, as I've said, it is essential that we find a way of getting the parties to engage and to talk because now that the killing is going on, now that we are living this tragedy, is more important reason to talk.  And I would hope that the parties are listening to the good counsel that they are getting all around, and that they will work with us to de-escalate and try and move the process forward.

Q: Another quick question.  I know you saw the Arab group yesterday.  The Palestinian Observer has demanded that the Security Council do something.  There's talk of another resolution.  Would any of these be helpful? What can happen here?  What do you see?

SG: I know that the Council members are concerned, very concerned, about developments in the region like everyone else.  They've had intensive consultations about it.  The President, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, is in touch with everyone.  And I think what the Arab Ambassadors who came to see me pleaded was that the Council should take some action, should take initiatives that will help galvanize the parties to recognize that they have to work to stop the violence and begin to improve the situation and engage in the dialogue.  They are as desperate as we are to see improvement in the situation.  And Sir Jeremy Greenstock, President of the Council, and myself have been doing lots of thinking and talking and I think he is exploring how best the Council can move forward.  And of course, I'm working and will be working very closely with the Council to continue to explore what initiatives we can do that will be positive for the process, let me put it that way.  And this is what, in fact, the Arab countries came to talk to me about.  We had a very good conversation.  It was constructive, and non-confrontational, and they didn't come with demands.  They really came to think together as to what the UN, in the form of Security Council and the Secretary-General, can do to help the process.

Document Type: Press Release, Remarks, Transcript
Document Sources: Secretary-General
Subject: Intifadah II
Publication Date: 20/04/2001