28 JULY 2020

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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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thank you, Farhan.  Recently the Syrian Government declared that it is rezoning the Yarmouk refugee camp to be part of Damascus.  So, I want to ask if UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] was notified, if you have any news about that?  And if you don’t, could you please ask this question — if UNRWA was consulted and this which will abolish the Yarmouk refugee camp and disperse 250,000 Palestinian refugees from the area?  Thank you.

Deputy Spokesman:  I don’t have any information so far from the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, about this.  But, I will check with them and see whether they have anything.  And with that, Toby from NHK, you are on.

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Question:  Thank you, Farhan.  On 20 July the Israeli occupation authorities came to the village of Pepkor, next to Bethlehem.  And in midday, they stole a huge stone which is from the Byzantine period.  It used to be used for baptizing.  And took it in a midday robbery.  So, I want to ask also this question to UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization], if it is aware of this theft of Palestinian historic stone, which weighs seven [metric tons]?  Thank you.

Deputy Spokesman:  Thanks for saying.  I’ll leave it, of course, to my colleagues in the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, to deal with any issues.  At this stage, they have not made any comments on this.  And with that, if Selwin Hart is ready, I will turn the floor over to him.  Thank you all and now let’s hear from Mr. Hart.

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For information media. Not an official record.