The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
**Questions and Answers
Question: Couple of questions. First, a clarification, you say the Secretary-General can’t be with us tomorrow because of a scheduling conflict. Can you tell us, is he in New York at 12:30 tomorrow? And what is he doing?
Spokesman: There is the global town hall meeting with staff and other issues, which may run over, and there are other issues that have come up.
Question: But these were… that was pre-planned, wasn’t it? I mean, it raises the question that the only problem is that he’s scheduled to give a news conference on the same day as the Middle East peace plan and would face some difficult questions. [cross talk]
Spokesman: I think the Secretary‑General is experienced and can face difficult questions.
Question: Okay. My question is on the Middle East peace plan. Has the Secretary-General been given an advanced copy by the US Administration?
Spokesman: I’m not aware of that, and at this point, obviously, we have to see what the release is, and I have no other comment.
Question: So, if he hasn’t been given, you’re not aware of an advanced copy being given to the Secretary‑General, does he believe that, given his very important role in this, as a member of the Quartet, as the Secretary‑General of the United Nations, where the UN is, where all the Security Council resolutions are… does he feel that it’s disrespectful of the Trump Administration not to be consulting him and giving him an advanced copy?
Spokesman: As I said, I think we all have to wait for this plan to be released, whenever that will be. We will have further comment at that time. In the meantime, the Secretary‑General’s own positions on it have not changed.
Question: You didn’t answer my question, though: Does he believe it’s disrespectful… [cross talk]
Spokesman: I answered it to the best of my ability. Yes, Madame?
Question: Follow‑up on the same subject. Do you… was he consulted in any of the… if… you said he wasn’t given any advance copy of the plan. Was he consulted or his envoy in Jerusalem was consulted regarding this plan anytime?
Spokesman: Over the last three years or two… I mean, since the Secretary… since the announcement of… that the plan would be coming, there had been contacts at various levels, including the Secretary‑General and Mr. [Nickolay] Mladenov.
Question: So, are you saying that you are aware of the details of the plan, or what exactly are you saying?
Spokesman: No, that’s… I’m just saying that there have been conversation over the last two… two, three years on this but… and I will leave it at that.
Question: Yeah. Just, actually, it’s a follow‑up, although I have a separate one on Libya, but it’s also… all the time raises the question, Stéphane, how much UN is involved in these kind of processes, whether it’s more passive, more active role. So, what… how would you characterise the involvement of the UN?
Spokesman: Our involvement is regulated through relevant Security Council resolutions. We have a Special Coordinator on the ground, Mr. Mladenov, and as you know, the UN has extensive humanitarian operations in the area.
Question: And what would be the leadership of the Secretary‑General in that direction, to move a little bit forward beside that…? [cross talk]
Spokesman: I think the Secretary‑General’s position on the Middle East peace process are regularly shared with you through public briefings in the Security Council.
Question: Thank you, Steph. Back to the peace plan. It seems that the plan will address the borders issue. So, can you please remind us, what’s the UN position on Israel’s borders and the Palestinian state border…?
Spokesman: The Secretary‑General, the UN’s position are reflected every month or more than once a month in the Security Council briefings. And you can refer those… to that. His… Secretary‑General’s positions are unchanged.
Question: Thanks, Stéphane. It’s another question on the Middle East peace plan. You said a few times that the Secretary‑General… his position hasn’t changed. It’s been stated in the Security Council again and again. Are you saying that you don’t think now is a time to make any changes to this? Or are you willing to see what the Americans put forward tomorrow and are you willing to… [cross talk]
Spokesman: I’m not… that’s not… All I’m saying is that the Secretary-General’s positions are unchanged, and they’ve been related to you repeatedly.
Question: Does he have an open mind then? Is he willing to look again at some of these bedrock principles?
Spokesman: I will leave it at that for the time being. Yes, Madame?
Question: A follow‑up on Middle East plan. So, let me preface my question this way. So, does the Secretary‑General… or is the Secretary‑General disappointed regarding the fact that a peace plan will be announced… so‑called peace plan will be announced tomorrow when… where a part… a partner or a main partner to this plan is made absent? So, what’s your comment on that?
Spokesman: I’m not… I understand what you all are trying to get and what you need… [laughter] … but I’m not going to get into saying anything further until there’s an announcement.
Question: No, but I’m not asking about the plan itself.
Spokesman: No, no, I… [cross talk]
Question: I’m asking about a fact that somebody who is a main partner is made absent.
Spokesman: No, I understand, but I will not get into it.
For information media. Not an official record.