14 SEPTEMBER 2020

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.  Happy Monday.  Good afternoon to all of you.

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Okay.  Farhan [Haq] sent me something as… in the form of response to my question how the Secretary‑General views this agreement between… in Washington, D.C., between Trump Administration and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and the Kosovo Prime Minister [Avdullah] Hoti a week ago.  Now, since the… as a part of that agreement was the recognition of Israel of Kosovo.  While Serbia and Kosovo would move their embassies from Tel Aviv, obviously, Kosovo will open in Jerusalem.  How the Secretary‑General view that context, moving embassies in the… that context of peace?

Spokesman:  Look, the decision to move an embassy is a decision taken by the different entities.  As for the status of Jerusalem, the Secretary‑General believes that it’s an issue that should be decided by the parties.  As for more countries recognizing each other and establishing relations, that’s obviously a positive step.

Question:  Do you think… as a follow‑up, do you think that this is a right move in the right direction in the peace process in the Middle East or some kind of peril of moving that way…?

Spokesman:  Listen, I will leave the in‑depth analysis to all of you.  Ms. Lederer?

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  I have a follow‑up on my friend’s Erol question.  And when you said that moving the embassy, it’s up to the sovereign state, but if this move is in violation of Security Council, I think you should say it, because there is resolution 478, which was adopted in 20 August 1980, clearly instructs every country in the world not to move its embassy to Jerusalem.  And this was re-emphasized in the resolution 2334, adopted on 23 December 2016.  So, I think… you said it this way, it looks like…?

Spokesman:  What is clear… what is clear for us and for the Secretary‑General is that the status of Jerusalem is one that should be negotiated between the parties.  And I would refer you to what we… to the statement that we issued when the United States announced its move, and the sentiments expressed in that statement stand today for other countries that may make the same decision.

Question:  With my respect, I mean, the status of Jerusalem is one thing, and moving the embassy is something else.  It is a direct violation of a clearly defined Security Council resolution.  But, my question is about also the welcoming of the agreement between Bahrain and the… and Israel.  [Nickolay] Mladenov, in his statement, when United Arab Emirates decided to recognize Israel, he rushed to say he… to welcome that, and he said it would stop the annexation.  He used the word “stop”.  And it was proven that it was wrong.  Again, why he… why you could welcome something that’s broke away from the norms of the UN Security Council resolution and Arab League resolutions, as well?

Spokesman:  Abdelhamid, I will reread what I said, right, and you can then analyse and take out the words of what I… I mean, not take out.  You can analyse and critique what I said.  But, what I said is that the Secretary‑General hopes that the signing ceremony tomorrow will create more opportunities for regional cooperation, and he also hopes that Israelis and Palestinian leaders will re‑engage in a meaningful negotiation that will end the occupation, realize a two‑State solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and the agreements that have already been agreed to, bilateral agreements that have been agreed to.  Okay.

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For information media. Not an official record.