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

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Question:  Sorry.  I’ll repeat.  Yes, Farhan.  The PA [Palestinian Authority] issued a statement saying that they had a fear that the Israelis… the Israeli… [Benjamin] Netanyahu might take advantage of the corona pandemic and annex the Jordan Valley are you aware of that?  Did Mladenov mention anything like that? And if that happens, do you have… does the SG have any reaction or any step that he can take?

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Deputy Spokesman:  Regarding the situation in the Jordan Valley, we’ve repeatedly spoken out — the Secretary‑General, Nickolay Mladenov and others — against… about the need to avoid any unilateral steps and any steps that could endanger the peace process, and we continue to do so.  At this stage, of course, what we are encouraging is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to work together in the fight against COVID‑19, and Mr. Mladenov has been encouraged by the cooperation that the two parties have been showing as they try to deal with the pandemic.

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