11 MARCH 2020

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

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Question:  Yes.  I want to go back to the recent meeting between the Secretary‑General and [United States] Secretary of State [Michael] Pompeo, and I have two questions flowing from that.  As you know, one of the topics that was discussed, at least according to the State Department readout, was the so‑called blacklist of firms doing business with Israeli firms in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  I’m wondering what specifically the Secretary‑General is doing in response to that, and I have in mind what impact will it have on UN procurement from those businesses listed on that blacklist?  My second question is, in the readout that your office provided, there was a reference to the Host Country Agreement.  Didn’t go into any details.  I’m just wondering whether the issue of potentially barring the issuance of visas to the ICC [International Criminal Court] Prosecutor and… whose visa, I believe, has… was revoked last year, and also investigatory staff, was that specifically discussed?

Spokesman:  Not that I’m aware, and I think we all have to double‑check exactly what happened with the visa of the ICC Prosecutor.  As you know, there has been an issue, which we have raised publicly and privately, with the issuance of visas for certain delegations who want to work here at the UN.  I can only speak to the readout we put out.  In terms of the list, as we’ve always said in the past, this was a decision taken by the… this was a mandate given to the High Commissioner for Human Rights by the [Human Rights] Council.  She acted on that mandate.  As any UN Secretariat official there, she has no choice but to act on the mandate.  And I have nothing further on the list as of now.

Question:  I think in conjunction with the discussions surrounding the issuance of the list, it was partly for the purpose, at least as stated at the time, to impact on the procurement decisions of the UN and potentially other Member States.  So, I’m just wondering, were there any deliberations under way, to your knowledge, within the Secretariat governing procurement from those listed businesses?

Spokesman:  Not to my knowledge, which is sometimes rather limited.

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For information media. Not an official record.