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UNSG press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ - Oct 2

New York, 2 October 2002 - Secretary-General's press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ (unofficial transcript)

Q: Just a quick question about Iraq, if I might.

Some of the permanent five countries of the Security Council want to put presidential sites, nullify all of the agreements that were made on presidential sites, and put that back on the table for clear and unfettered access. What is your feeling about that Sir?

SG: I think the [Security] Council has a resolution before it and they are all reviewing it, and I think we should wait to see what the Council eventually comes up with. But until the Council comes up with new guidelines, Mr. Blix is guided by existing resolutions, and it is on that basis that he has been dealing with the Iraqis.

Q: Has anyone from the permanent five delegations or from the Iraqi delegation contacted you about that matter?

SG: I think it is really an issue for the Council, I mean, the Council endorsed the arrangements that were made and it is up to the Council – as a master of its own deliberations – and they can decide what they want to do.

Q: Do you think that talk about assassination – putting a bullet in the head of a leader - as speculated by the White House spokesman is helpful to the dialogue that's going on now?

SG: Well, we at the UN don't get involved with that, and we don't operate on that basis.

Q: Sir, what are the expectations for the tomorrow meetings on Cyprus?

SG: Expectations? Well, I hope they will both come here to discuss honestly with me what efforts have been made to make progress in the talks. The last time I met with them was the beginning of September. It is about a month, and I would want to review with them what has happened since then, and how we move forward as we get to the end of the year. And when I met with them in May, there were indications that we should be able to make progress by the end of the year. The end of the year is around the corner, so I want to review with them how we get there.

Q: Are you going to give them any plan tomorrow, any paper?

SG: I have no intention of doing more than I have said.

Q: A couple of days ago you said you will see how your suggestions were received. Do you have an idea now how the suggestions of May were received?

SG: I think when I sit down with them tomorrow, and Mr. Alvaro de Soto is here, and the two leaders are coming in, and when we sit down tomorrow we will review what progress has been made, and I think you two will have a chance to talk with them too directly.

Q: Do you think the elections in Cyprus are an obstacle for the process?

SG: Not at this stage.

ENDS

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