SG/SM/18676
13 SEPTEMBER 2017

Following is a transcript of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ press conference, held in New York today:

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Question:  Thank you, Secretary‑General.  Abdelhamid Siyam from the Arabic daily Al‑Quds al‑Arabi, based in London.  I wish this press conference will extend for two hours to ask about Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, but my question would be about Palestine.  You just visited the area, sir.  First, do you think there… truly there are enough land to establish an independent continuant, sovereign, viable Palestinian state?  That’s one question.  The second, you have been requested to treat Israel as a normal State, and your Spokesman said so:  Israel needs to be treated as just a normal State.  Is there any country in the world that has been in violation of Security Council resolution and General Assembly resolution, Human Right Council, ICJ [International Court of Justice] as much as Israel?  Thank you very much.

Secretary-General:  Well, what I said, first of all, is that I believe the two‑State solution is a must, that there is no Plan B to the two‑State solution.  And obviously, for the two‑State solution to be possible, we need to have a territory adequate for both States.  And that is the reason why we have taken a very clear position in relation to the settlement activity that you know.  Second, I never used the word “normal”.  What I said is that Israel needs to be treated with the same rights and obligations as any other State.  And that, I think, is true for Israel or for any other State that does whatever is done.  There are rules that need to be abided by.  And of course, if they are not, they should… the non‑implementation of rules should be clearly denounced and condemned.  But, all States, as I said, must have the same obligations and the same rights.  And this, I think, is unquestionable.  I didn’t make any comment of the characteristics of the State.

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Question:  Mr. Secretary‑General, Benny Avni of the New York Post.  So, to follow up on Abdelhamid question, in your visit to Ramallah, you didn’t meet President [Mahmoud] Abbas.  Could you explain why?  And he was a… I believe it was reported you met [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan that day.  And also, on Trump, there will be a lot of pressure on you from different quarters, including in the United States, to confront him directly on several political issues that were mentioned here.  Will that be your style, or are you going to be a little more… a little less confrontational?

Secretary-General:  First of all, the reason is very simple.  I mean, I had the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister and a number of very relevant high officials of the Palestinian Authority.  The visit went very well.  And so, I understand that, for reasons that have to do with the questions of unity between West Bank and Gaza, the visit of President Abbas to Turkey was absolutely crucial.  And I respected, of course, that choice.  There was no diplomatic incident at all related to it.  On the contrary, there was a very meaningful dialogue taking place.  I… you will be able to listen to my speech in the beginning of the Assembly, and when you listen to my speech, your question will be answered, not by opinions I might issue today, but by the proof that is in the words that I will pronounce in the General Assembly.

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For information media. Not an official record.