22 JUNE 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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Secretary-General — UNRWA

And tomorrow, I wanted to let you know that the Secretary-General will take part in a virtual ministerial conference on UNRWA called “A Strong UNRWA in a Challenging World — Mobilizing Collective Action”. That meeting is being co‑chaired by the Foreign Minister of Jordan and the Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden.  The event seeks to help UNRWA bridge its financial gap for 2020 and to ensure that it receives sufficient, predictable and sustainable resources to continue delivering on its mandate in the coming years.  And we anticipate that the Secretary-General will also speak, or at least make some brief opening remarks, at the press conference immediately after the virtual conference ends.  You will have or will be sent a media advisory on how to view the meeting and participate in the press conference, which is being hosted by UNRWA on a different platform.

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Welcome back, Steph.  Before I start, I have two questions, but just to be clear, the UNRWA event tomorrow, the SG is just going to make a statement.  He will not take our questions, just to be clear.

Spokesman:  That’s right.  He’ll make a… he’s expected to speak at the opening, obviously, the event, and he may come and just deliver a closing statement at the press conference, but will not… likely not take questions.  And then we will have, fingers crossed, a full‑blown press conference with him and, on Wednesday on WebEx in which he will be delighted to take your questions, especially you, James.

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  Welcome back.  I just want to say I sent you an email while you were away.  I expect an answer to [inaudible].  My question is about when the [inaudible], Stéphane, on Middle East and [inaudible] Palestinian question.  It’s a ministerial meeting and debate over the annexation.  First, would the SG participate in this important [inaudible]?

Spokesman:  I… I’m not able to confirm it at this point, but I would not be surprised if he did participate, alongside with Mr. [Nickolay] Mladenov.

Question:  Is there any scheduled meeting between him and the Palestinian Foreign Minister who will be… delivering the speech on behalf of Palestine?

Spokesman:  No… not that I’m aware, but I can check.

Correspondent:  Thank you very much.

Spokesman:  You’re very welcome.  Ibtisam and then Toby.

Question:  Hi, Steph.  Welcome back.  I have two questions, one also on Palestine.  Could you give us more… a clearer picture which efforts did the Secretary‑General undertake to put more pressure on Israelis against the annexation, anything in that direction?

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Spokesman:  On that part, I would just say that contacts have been had at various levels, and I will leave it at that.  On your first question, you know, this has been Mr. Mladenov’s message.  I think what he’s delivered publicly in, notably in his last Security Council briefing, he has delivered privately to his counterparts in Israel.  And obviously, that’s an essential issue of what will be addressed on Wednesday in the Security Council.

Question:  Could I have a follow‑up?  So, I mean, this message is not, nothing new.  You have been talking about it and repeating it, and I’m aware of the fact that the UN has also limited… but is there other things regarding the Quartet or other steps that you are trying to take, and could you say more about that?

Spokesman:  I mean, we’ve been in touch, as I’ve said from here, we’ve been in touch with the Quartet partners.  Mr. Mladenov has spent a lot of time talking to his Quartet counterpart.  I mean, as it’s clear to you, we have not been able to announce a full meeting of the Quartet, which is something that we would like to see, which I think is, could be an important mechanism.

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For information media. Not an official record.