29 JULY 2019

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

Question:  Farhan, I know that you have seen Al Jazeera’s reporting of the ethics report…the internal ethics report at UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) which says there have been abuses of authority by leadership in UNRWA.  So my question is simple:  Does the Secretary‑General have full confidence in the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krähenbühl?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, you’ve heard the Secretary‑General express his views on Mr. Krähenbühl, but regarding the allegations you have been saying…  [cross talk]

Question:  I haven’t heard him express his views since this report has come out, so does he still have full confidence in him?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, on this issue, the basic point is an investigation of the allegations contained in the report that you just mentioned is ongoing.  Until this investigation is completed, the Secretary‑General is not in a position to make any further comments on this matter.  As he has shown in the past, the Secretary‑General is committed to acting swiftly upon receiving the full report.

Question:  So he is not prepared to answer, “Yes” or “No,” whether he has confidence in his Commissioner-General at this stage?

Deputy Spokesman:  The Commissioner-General has, you know, has been doing excellent work; but we are saying that without prejudice to the result of this investigation.  Obviously, we are waiting to see what this has to say.

Question:  And is the Secretary‑General concerned about some of the allegations here?  Does he believe there is something rotten in UNRWA given that three of the senior officials in the UNRWA have departed in the last month?

Deputy Spokesman:  Again, we won’t have any further comment until the investigation is completed, so I am not prepared at this point to make an evaluation on the claims that have been made.  Yes?