3 JUNE 2021

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

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  So, Matthias Schmale, our favourite, so, there’s reports that he has been reprimanded by the brass in UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency).  Also, I’ve seen footage of wide demonstrations inside Gaza against him.  Is it safe for him to come back?  And also, what’s his status?  Has he been reprimanded, and what’s his story?

Spokesman:  I’m not aware of him having been reprimanded.  So, I mean, if you want to ask UNRWA, that’s fine.  I’m not aware.

He is not in Gaza because his security could not be… and his security and safety could not be guaranteed.

Question:  Is that because of the demonstrations and the wide unease about his statement?

Spokesman:  I mean, you would have to… I can’t ask… I can’t answer as to the motivation of people who are demonstrating, but it was clear to us that his safety and security could not be guaranteed, obviously, because of demonstrations and other issues.

Correspondent:  You can read the signs that they carry.

Spokesman:  No, I… listen, you… we can all read the signs.  What I’m telling you is that given what… the events that have been going on and what has been said against him that his safety and security could no longer be guaranteed, so he is not in Gaza.