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    UNIS/SGSM/211
    2 September 2010

    The Secretary-General

    Remarks to Press at Stakeout with H.E. Michael Spindelegger, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs

    Vienna, 2 September 2010

    VIENNA, 2 September (UN Information Service) - Thank you very much. Sehr geehrter Aussenminister Spindelegger, Meine Damen und Herren, Gruess Gott, Ich freue mich wieder in Wien zu sein.

    This is my sixth visit as Secretary-General of the United Nations to Vienna. In fact I am visiting more often than [when] I was here. You know, a decade ago I was here as Ambassador and I have left special heart, really half of my heart I left here. That is why I am coming to see half of my heart all the time. I am very much grateful to such strong support and commitment of Austrian government and all leadership starting from President and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and Mayors and Governors and all leadership of Austria and dear citizens committed to support the United Nations, all the agenda of the United Nations. In that regard Mr. Minister if you allow me I would like to briefly introduce a very important colleague of mine Mr. Yury Fedotov. He is going to be the new Director-General of the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna and also he is going to combine his role as Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). I have chosen him as with his strong commitment to the United Nations cause and his credentials and expertise and experience as the distinguished former Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia and also Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He has such a splendid background. I am sure that he will be one of the most exemplary, splendid and distinguished leaders of the United Nations here. I count on continuing cooperation with him and I am sure that he will also be very much committed to work together with you.

    Mr. Fedotov: Thank you Mr. Secretary-General for your compliments.

    SG: Now Ladies and Gentlemen I am here for certain very important missions. First of all bilateral meetings. I have had some time to discuss on matters of our common concern on Middle East and the situation in the Balkans and situation in Africa particularly Sudan and Pakistan and how Austrian government can contribute more for all this United Nations work in addressing natural disasters and global challenges. I am going to have a meeting over lunch with the Minister and tomorrow I am going to have a meeting with President Fischer. A second reason is that I am here as the Foreign Minister said to participate in official inauguration of this International Anti-Corruption Academy. This is as a part of implementing the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Austrian government has been providing such strong support and commitment to this. I am going to visit this academy this afternoon together with the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Interior and Justice.

    And I am also here to participate in Alpbach Forum, annual Alpbach Forum. I would like to congratulate Austrian Government for such leadership and vision through this Alpbach Forum. I also understand that this Alpbach Forum has become one of the most important forums where many delegations, more than 100 representations, will discuss all the matters of international peace and security and also on European situation.

    And I am also after that going to convene a UN senior advisers retreat for two days in Alpbach. That is an occasion where all UN senior advisers will work together how we can work as one United Nations team. All United Nations heads will be in Alpbach for two, three days to discuss how United Nations can better cope with all the challenges and how we can better meet the expectations of the international community. This was possible only with the strong support and generous support of the Austrian Government. Thank you very much for all your support. Thank you.

    Q: Veronika Oleksyn, from AP, Mr. Secretary-General what are your realistic expectations of today's direct talks in Washington on the Middle East, and do you believe that talks with Hamas should be included in this process at some point?

    SG: I'm very encouraged and happy that these direct talks for the Middle East peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are now taking place today. The United Nations has been and will continue to work together with the parties concerned to strongly support this Middle East peace process. And in that regard I commend the initiative of President Obama and his team, his government, to make this Middle East peace process direct talks possible this time. It is important that all the parties concerned not only Israelis and Palestinians but countries in the region and the international community should work together and facilitate this process and I would really hope that the parties directly concerned, Israel and the Palestinians, will continue to work sincerely and with a sense of flexibility and a sense of pragmatism to talk about peace. I know that it will not be an easy process, it may be very difficult, there may be some hurdles, we must work very closely and very hard to avoid all this unexpected political and security hurdles. We have already seen some such attempts by very cynical groups who really want to derail this peace process. That we have to guard against. I sincerely hope that all the parties concerned will prove the point. Now the dialogue is led by the Palestinian Authority, led by President Abbas , and it is important that President Abbas is given full support, his leadership is recognized by the international community and as the Secretary-General and as a member of the quartet I will continue to work together.

    Q: Sylvia Westall from Reuters, I wanted to ask you about Rwanda. Could you comment on Rwanda's threat they may pull out their troops of UN peacekeeping missions starting in Darfur if they are accused of genocide in this upcoming report and if this does happen what will the UN do?

    SG: First of all, the United Nations is very grateful to such a strong support and contribution of the Rwandan government to send their men and women as peacekeepers in UNAMID in Darfur and in UNMIS in Sudan and many other places, at least five missions they they are now taking part. It is very important, and I sincerely hope that such support and contribution will continue for peace and security in the region. The peace and security in Darfur and Sudan and elsewhere has implications, very important implications, for peace in the wider region. We are going to closely coordinate and work with President Kagame. He has been leading this leadership and he has been participating as one of the very important African leaders, not only in peace and security, but also as one of the co-chairs of MDG advocacy group and I am very much appreciative of his leadership.

    Q: One question to both Minister Spindelegger and Mr. Secretary-General - at the next General Assembly next month, this month will Mrs. Ashton, the European Foreign Minister, be allowed to take the floor?

    SG: With the new integration process of the European Union, there are several issues which needs to be settled. As far as the name and title is concerned in their participation in the United Nations, I have able to successfully change this name and title from European Commission to European Union, and they will be participating as a representative of the European Union. There are some issues of obligations and rights of the European Commission and European Union, that has also been successfully settled. Now for the enhanced observer status of the European Union including the right to speak together with representatives of Member States, this is something which General Assembly Member States should determine. As the Secretary-General I will always try to facilitate this smooth consultation among the Member States and I have discussed with the Foreign Minister this issue. I will closely coordinate with Member States on the one hand and also the European Union on the other hand. Thank you very much.

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