World: Near Verbatim Transcript of the Press Conference by Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General, 18 November 2016
Geneva, 18 November 2016
Deputy Secretary-General: Thank you very much. I hope I can be a little bit personal to begin with because this is my last visit to Geneva as the Deputy Secretary-General and in fact this is my last visit outside of New York before the end of my term. I leave with Ban Ki-moon, as you may understand. I find it very fitting and very appropriate to have my last trip abroad going to Geneva. It will become a sort of a full circle in my diplomatic life. I was here, briefing media in this room 28 years ago, when I was leading negotiations as a personal representative of the Secretary-General on Iran-Iraq. I had a flashback when walking back here. I didn’t feel 28 years younger, but I said certainly I’ve been here before. As David Chikvadze knows, who was my colleague in those days, I was the head of OCHA, in those days called Department of Humanitarian Affairs – DHA. I was the first emergency relief coordinator between 1992 and 1994. The division of labour was very much in favour of operational activities being run from Geneva, so I was a frequent traveler across the Atlantic and spent much of my time in Geneva, working with humanitarian agencies here and also the NGO community, and my friends at the ICRC. That was a very intensive period, including situations in Somalia and Sudan. Then I came here several times in 2005-2006, as the President of the General Assembly, and had very close relationships with Member States. And now as the Deputy Secretary-General I have been here at least five-six times, to brief about the Sustainable Development Goals, Human Rights Upfront initiative… all that to make an important point that Geneva and New York are like Siamese twins, we are very closely related to each other. I have great respect for all the work done here. I feel all the time the dynamics of the UN growing more strongly if we are working closely with other UN capitals, of course Geneva as major one, Vienna, The Hague and Nairobi of course. I want to say that personally I spent most of my time in Geneva and New York and I want to thank you also, the press corps, for your constant interest in different aspects of our work at the United Nations. We have our success and our failures, and I can enumerate them, if you want, at the end.
For the time being, I can only say something about two things:
Yesterday I was in Brussels practically the whole day for a conference on the Central African Republic. I visited the Central African Republic less than two weeks ago, and it is a country in a very critical situation, but with some hope of turning the tide. There is the Government led by President Touadéra, which is very much aware of the need for peace and reconciliation, and the international community is giving strong support to this Government in its efforts to bring peace and security. We have a force there – MINUSCA – trying to play its role, although it is difficult, particularly in a country with practically no roads. Unfortunately, there is still violence between different groups there – ex-Seleca and anti-Balaka who are still fighting. It is very important that the tendencies for reconciliation will go stronger. I had meetings both with the Government and different groups in the opposition, including some of the fighting groups. We see positive trends, but there are still some elements of instability. So, the international community yesterday sent strong signals on supporting the peace and development efforts: 2.28 billion USD were pledged yesterday to support the Central African Republic – joint effort by the European Union and European Governments who were leading the meeting yesterday; behind the appeal, there was hard work done by the United Nations and, not least, the World Bank. The pledging document was produced by the European Union, UN and the World Bank, which is a solid paper, and good reason we got this great amount of money. It is important that all parties implement what is intended – both in terms of increased security and in terms of serious efforts for reconciliation.
The second issue is that I just finished the briefing with Ambassador Ramzy. Staffan de Mistura is on travel, but I met with Mr. Ramzy and his team, and discussed the situation around Syria, and it is of course a very troubled, serious situation, and the humanitarian needs are urgent. We have not had access for a long period to Eastern Aleppo and we are definitely running out of food, and it is a hugely critical situation.
At the same time, we know and you know, the fighting is going on; there is a lot of fighting between different parts of the city. There had also been attacks from the air, but it is being disputed from where they come. One thing we know, as you heard from the WHO, shocking news that five hospitals have been hit, and I felt for a long time that we have a serious decay, serious disregard of the international humanitarian law. And to now see so many examples of such attacks against hospitals, schools… is, of course, a complete disregard of the Geneva Conventions, and it is a very, very serious development. The aim is, of course, as always, to reach a reduction of violence, cessation of hostilities, first of all long enough for us to carry out serious humanitarian work, but also, of course, to prepare the ground for political talks. For the time being, we have no signs that these talks are imminent, even though some countries meet in the so-called “Lausanne format”. I am sure that there will be continued considerations about political process. My absolute conviction is that there is no military solution, you’ve heard that before, and the best way to come forward is to reduce the level of violence, make sure that we can do the humanitarian work we want to do and people need, and that we can start the process of political reconciliation with some form of a transitional governing body leading up to constitutional work and in the end elections and peace for Syria as whole.
This would be my introduction, but I am willing to look back at the successes of my five years here, and even going back to Ban Ki-Moon’s ten years, and also talk about our failures and disappointments.
Question: I have two questions. The first one, regarding Syria, with the Trump administration coming soon, are you concerned that the incoming President seems to be very cozy with Russia, and that this may change the situation on the ground there? Russia says it is fighting ISIS, but apparently a lot of fighting is against rebel groups. Could the situation turn worse if, in fact, the US administration becomes a closer ally of Russia in Syria? And the second question has to do with Mr. Trump’s opinion of the United Nations, which is not very flattering. I believe he said “What good is it? We don’t need it, let’s get rid of it.” What is your reaction to that? Is it a serious thing? Is the UN in danger of survival? He could even take away contributions or a lot it, and deal a blow that way.
DSG: Thank you very much, I will start with the second question. Mr. Trump has been elected in a democratic process and he is the incoming president of the United States. United States is a founding member of the United Nations. In fact, the first three words “We the peoples” have corresponding words in the US Constitution – “we, the people”. The United States has been a pillar and a main contributor to our work in all areas from the beginning, including peacekeeping operations, humanitarian action, human rights, the rule of law. I am working on the premise that the United States will continue to work with the United Nations, not only because to me it is the right thing to do, but also because it is in its enlightened self-interest, particularity of larger nations. Peacekeeping is an institution, an element that can help ensure that there was a neutral party rather than direct military involvement by major powers. The American people are very compassionate, and I am sure that they would like to have children vaccinated; for humanitarian crises we have a machinery in place. I am sure that Americans, of whatever political colour, would like to see comprehensive work done on dealing with terrorism in all its aspects, and there we also have a machinery in a broader sense. Americans have also been eager about election monitoring. I can continue like this, but the point is to say that all these issues are in the interest of all Member States, including the United States. So I suppose we will start a dialogue, in due time, with the new administration, and stand up for the values of the United Nations and hope that they will draw that conclusion.
I can’t deny that there is some concern on some points, including one on the direction we are going in the work on climate change. It is absolutely crucial we accept it as an existential threat. Three years in a row we have had the world’s highest temperatures, and we have to accept our own responsibility for our children’s and grandchildren’s future. I think the trends are very strong in moving towards renewable energy, reducing emissions according to the Paris Agreement, which entered into force on 4 November. The Agreement is not in danger, but, of course, if Member States don’t live up to the intentions and commitments of the Agreement, we will have trouble, especially if it is a country the size of the United States. So we hope very much that there will be a commitment to the work on climate change.
The other area where we have some concerns, and we hope very much that we will have positive indications is the area of migration and refugees, which is a new and a very important element on the global landscape, and where we hope we can live up to commitments in the New York Declaration on 19 September about the way forward on refugee and migrant movements. The third element is even more relevant – the commitment in that document accepted by all countries, including the United States, that we must carry on the campaign against xenophobia. So these are issues where we will particularly focus our attention. But we are a value-driven organization, the Charter is the basis for our work, and we hope very much that the United States will continue to work in that spirit as a partner. There may be discussions on certain issues, but we hope that in the end the conclusion will be that it is a mutually rewarding relationship between us.
On the issue of Russia, I think we still are still in a speculative stage. There are discussions about a different type of relationship between Russia and the United States. Practically always it is good news if there is an improvement of dialogue between the United States and Russia, as it has been a rather tense period. On the other hand, it is very important that agreements reached don’t negatively affect other parties or just solutions to different issues. This is an area where that type of discussions is relevant in the case of Syria, where we know very well that both the United States and Russia are interested in fighting and dealing with terrorists. But, on the other hand, it is important that nobody, including the United States and Russia, lose the perspective that we need to have a fair perspective of a political process and that should not be deserted or left behind.
Question: In your meeting of Mr. Ramzy earlier, when you said “we are nearly out of food” , can you be more specific, because Jan Egeland had indicated last week that the food had run out. Do you have an update on that? On what you just said, you mentioned concerns regarding xenophobia vis-à-vis the President-elect of the United States. Can you spell out exactly what you mean by that? Do you think he is promoting xenophobia, or that is the attitude shared by his supporters? What do you mean exactly?
DSG: Unfortunately, Mr. Egeland was not there today so I did not get a detailed briefing. I would simply characterize it as a critical humanitarian situation. Mr. Egeland said already last week that they were running out of food, and Mr. Ramzy just confirmed it to me – every day it is getting more serious. I don’t have more details but to say that it is a horrific situation inside Aleppo. You add to that five hospitals bombed, and imagine the conditions under which human beings live – it is just unbearable. I can only underline it is a hugely critical situation.
What I mentioned is that in the so-called New York Declaration on 19 September on migration and refugees, there were three chapters: one on refugees, one on migration, and one on importance of dealing with problems with xenophobia around the world. It is the Member States who will be implementing these programs. The more serious aspect coming from the meeting in New York was that we have seen that refugees and migrants are now seen by many as problem and peril rather than possibility and potential, and that we don’t recognize that in migration.
Let me give you the figures: 244 million international migrants, 65 million displaced people, 40 million internally displaced, and 25 million refugees – those are the figures. It is a huge number of people. We should not disregard that migration is a very important factor in economic growth. The International Monetary Fund and the OECD have both concluded that without migration we would have far lower growth figures, not least in Western world. In some cases we would also have negative demographic growth without migration. Remittances from migrants are three times as high as all official development assistance in the world, so imagine the effect on development if migration did not take place. And lastly, on a personal note, we need to be reminded of the strength that comes from diversity, I would even go as far to say the beauty that comes from diversity. Most of our nation states have minorities, different groups of ethnic and religious background, and in Africa in particular tribal backgrounds. And the health of the nation is based on good relations between these groups. Those countries with the biggest problems in the world today are those divided along ethnic and religious lines. I think one of the most dangerous trends in the world today is to divide people in us versus them, they put a lower quality on “them”, and the higher quality on “us”. That goes completely counter to the basic values principles of the United Nations. We hope very much that we will not continue to identify those outside, those different as the problems in our society. And that, I think, is a huge challenge for all of us today.
Question: With Donald Trump as President, who said he wants to cut contributions to the UN, and the US is the biggest contributor, what are your concerns if that happens, and what would that mean for the UN concretely?
DSG: We have constantly discussions with Member States about contributions – these are among the most difficult conversations every year. So it is nothing new. We hope we won’t see any drastic cuts. We know that when this goes through Congress, there are some voices against and some in favour. When they weigh in effects of different programmes which are of definite interest to the United States, in the end we usually come up with sufficient funds. For the standing of multilateralism, it is important we don’t see these drastic cuts. We also need to stand strongly for international cooperation and the value of international cooperation, and that we don’t have inward-looking tendencies. Going into loans would be a more expensive and a more dangerous proposition. So, it would not be wise of me to take it for granted that such cuts will take place. Unfortunately, I can only argue for this until the end of this year. I was in Washington two days before I came to Brussels, and I discussed this with different people in Washington, but not with the incoming administration. There has been the first contact between Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and President-elect Trump. I have personally met Mr. Trump earlier in my roles both at the UN and as the Ambassador in Washington, and at that time I did not discover such a hostile attitude to the United Nations.
Question: You started this press conference talking about your 30-year commitment to the UN and you have been talking about this awful trend. We have seen two major elections, where people voted for more isolated life, and it is growing, and we can have more radicals, not only in the UK and the US, but also in Germany, France, where right wing parties are gaining space. What do you think happened? Why did people lose trust?
DSG: Well, it is a bit presumptuous for me to do an election analysis or even an election forecast. Those of us who believe in international cooperation and the openness to the outside world understand that we as nations are part of the world, but also the world is part of our nations. We who have view of openness need to be very good in formulating a positive narrative. I think we have too much fear in today’s world, spread by terrorists, of course, but also there are political forces who use and exploit the sense of fear. When people are scared and feel uncertainty, they tend to simplify and look inward. That is one of the explanations why you see this growth and moving towards inward and not outward, and identifying forces outside as a problem. And therefore, I think that, basing my values on how I grew up in my own country, the values given to me by my parents and the society… I am enormously and strongly influenced by this Charter which I have carried in my pocket since 1980. Just read the preamble of this Charter and you see it all – we have to fight that the scourge of war will not explode in our face, we have to see the equal worth of all human beings, without any discrimination, we have to work for social, economic justice in larger freedoms, it says here – all these values worth fighting for, standing for. We need to have a convincing narrative in the national electorates. And that, I think, is a challenge for everybody. I, as a European, feel very strongly that we see how the political map has changed that much under the influence of migration and refugee flows in the last few years. I think we need to go back to the sources and ask ourselves which kind of world and which kind of values we want our children to grow up with.
Question: In Yemen, Sir, there was meant to be ceasefire going into effect yesterday. There are some disputes on whether Hadi will be part of it. What is your understanding and do you have any hope for a real cessation?
DSG: The situation in Yemen is deeply troubling. We are working very hard to start a serious political process. We thought we had made a qualitatively important step forward with the talks in Kuwait. Unfortunately the mistrust between the parties is very deep, and the fighting is going on to a tragic degree. We have had an enormous destruction of the country. We don’t have the exact figures of people dead, it is difficult to estimate, but it is over 8,000, huge numbers of the wounded, and the infrastructure destroyed in an already poor country. When this war broke out, I said to myself that I hoped we can finish it soon. My experience is that it is harder and harder to end conflicts the longer they go on. I wish the Security Council could have concluded a binding resolution in 2012, when Kofi Annan proposed a formula of a transitional governing body. But the world missed that opportunity. At that time, by the way, ISIS did not even exist. In the case of Yemen – I think the last I saw from New York before I left, was that the Houthis had accepted going to the talks on the basis that our mediator suggested. I saw another report that President Hadi did not accept this. We are working very closely with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region who can influence the situation. We have discovered stronger and stronger views that this has to come to an end. But we have to bring them back to the negotiations table. For the time being, we are not able to say that both sides accept it.
Question: Could you elaborate a bit on the Sustainable Development Goals and how do you think they will play out, given your experience with the MDGs? Do you have any views on why measuring corruption did not make it into the targets to be measured?
DSG: I am glad you asked that question. I have a pretty wild portfolio to oversee at the United Nations, both the political, peacekeeping, human rights area, but also the development area. When it comes to the humanitarian side, it is pretty much bad news, with some exceptions. But when it comes to development, I really want to say to you that if I want to look back in a good mood, I look at what was done last year. If you add up the Sendai Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Conference on Financing for Development, the SDG agreement on 25 September, and the Paris Agreement at the end of the year, I don’t think we have ever built a stronger foundation for the road forward in development, if we do it right and if Member States live up to these aspirations. The Goals are completely different from those in 2000, when most discussion was about official development assistance, and I remember people talking about donors and recipients. And if you now look at what constitutes the parts of development, you see a number of aspects: technology, trade, sustainability through energy, transport, housing… It is a completely different view, and the Goals are finally universal. Back in 2000, they were not universal, except for Goal 8 on partnerships; the others were directed only towards so-called developing countries. Now everyone has to do the work. We are all developing countries from the point of view of sustainability. The Goals are as applicable to the rich countries as they are to the poor countries; the Goals are very well prepared and mutually reinforcing.
I have worked very much, as you may know, with water after seeing children dying of diarrhoea in the 1990s. If you do water right, you reduce child morality, improve maternal health, improve gender equality, because women and girls are most affected by that. You, of course, also reach extreme poverty and education. The new Goals relate to each other: health, education and so forth. The Goal that touches your question on corruption is Goal 16, which speaks about the need for peaceful societies, access to justice and inclusive, effective institutions. One of the targets under this relates to good governance. The discussion on corruption was under that Goal. I can tell you that, if you want to have good institutions, which is a goal in itself, you have to make sure that corruption is effectively fought. Corruption is a poison in the body of any country, and a huge issue to be taken extremely seriously. Without healthy and strong institutions, it is extremely difficult not to have a demoralized society.
If I may be personal, since this is my last press conference with you, I can tell you that Sweden, which was one of the poorest countries in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. My family was part of that. My aunt died of tuberculosis. We lived in one room. I was the first one to have more than seven years of education in my family; my mother had four years of education. I asked my father what was it that brought Sweden to be so prosperous, as it seemed to me as an 18-year old boy. He said three things: in the 1930s we borrowed money and built railroads, roads, schools, hospitals, which in the end constituted good public sector for our country; second, we introduced a strong education system, which made it possible for every boy and girl to study free of charge all the way through to university; and then thirdly, we trusted the people who ran our cities, our states, and they did a good job; corruption was non-existent, and we gladly paid for what it cost. And something that sounds completely incredible today: in the 1950s the party that promised higher taxes won the elections twice.
Question: Follow-up Sir: why can Transparency International measure corruption and the UN does not have a measure to do that among its Member States and the institution? It fell of the table during MDG discussions as well. Why is it twice in 15 years that it happened?
DSG: If that is the case, I can tell you: we are extremely grateful that Transparency International is so good at publicizing their figures. So please give me the list and I will use it as much as possible, especially after 1 January.
Question: On South Sudan, the resolution to stop selling to South Sudan was vetoed by Russia, not sure if it was also vetoed by China. The argument that was given was that selling arms to a country does not affect peace or anything of that sort. Do you agree and how do you react to the loss of this resolution? What needs to be done to get this country out of its terrible conflict?
DSG: I worked with Sudan and South Sudan for so many times from the humanitarian perspective and was a humanitarian envoy for Darfur in 2007-2008. I travelled frequently to the south, where I met the then Vice-President Kiir and Riek Machar. I spent a lot of time in Sudan and South Sudan. And I am very sad to see that the situation has developed as it has. There was great promise in the declaration of independence, and with them starting as a new nation. Many of us felt that there was a deep tension in the country, not least between the Nuers and the Dinkas. It is hugely tragic; it is one of the worst situations we deal with right now, in terms of security and humanitarian situation. We have growing problems in different parts of the country. We think it is very important that we have a very effective peacekeeping operation. For four months, we have heard discussions about an increase and how that increase should be proposed, but no conclusion unfortunately. I certainly believe that arms flowing into any country in conflict is a negative factor. I would hope that the discussions are still going on both on possible bans of travel for certain individuals, and discussions on arms issues. On the side of the United Nations, we have been truly in favour of closing the arms trade, which is a very negative, damaging element in an already troubled situation.
Question: Mr. Ban ordered an inquiry into the attack on the humanitarian convoy near Aleppo. Could you tell us where it is and provide an update? What action do you expect to come from that? South Sudan seems to highlight the systematic weakness in the whole Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Do you have any sense if discussions have identified a way forward for dealing with the peacekeeping operations?
DSG: Only a few days after it happened, the Secretary-General decided to set up a board of inquiry, which is a very serious process for exceptional cases. It took us two weeks to identify key people for the Board. We now have a five-person Board of Inquiry. They are in the area and working on it. We know that it is a difficult mission, because access is very difficult and we know, of course, that the manipulation of evidence can take place and disappear. They will do their absolute best and they are instructed what they can to find out the exact circumstances under which this horrible event occurred. An attack against a humanitarian convoy constitutes, without any doubt, a war crime, and it is absolutely crucial that we get as much information as possible. If we identify who was behind this attack, we will, of course, from our side, want to see it out in the open. And we will decide what to do after that. This issue would probably be of interest to bring to the Security Council, and then let’s see what happens at the Council. But it is still hypothetical.
On the second question, I am glad you asked it. I have dealt with peacekeeping since 40 years back. Sweden, by the way, has had 90,000 peacekeepers through the years. It is a different composition of forces today, with the biggest contributors being India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, some Latina American countries. The basic challenge for peacekeeping today is what I recall as a given in all peacekeeping: we were a neutral, impartial body and we were accepted by all parties and we were peacemakers and could move freely. That is not the case anymore. If you look, for instance, at the worst case in Mali, where we have lost over 60 peacekeepers, we are seen by certain groups as a problem, even as an enemy. This means that we are in a slightly schizophrenic situation, coming to warlike situations, while peacekeepers are not trained to be combating war. At the same time, we need to demonstrate that we are robust enough to protect civilians. That has been a challenge, including in South Sudan, Congo, Central African Republic, where sometimes IDPs were attacked. In some cases the peacekeepers were courageously there and in others not doing the job that we would expect. It is a huge challenge. I myself was in a situation when the IDP camps were attacked in 2014, and we decided to simply take in all IDPs in our camps. In some cases we had 25-30-50 peacekeepers behind with the mob outside. We did this in the spirit of the Human Rights Upfront initiative, which places emphasis on protecting civilians. Looking back at that decision, it could have been easily turned into a huge disaster. But then there were other cases where it did not happen; a recent investigation into South Sudan has led to draconian steps taken against the Force Commander. In the Central African Republic, there was this horrible sexual exploitation and abuse taking place, we asked the whole contingent from the Democratic Republic of the Congo not to take part in the peacekeeping operation. So, peacekeeping operations are under strain because in so many cases we are not seen as neutral and impartial and we are becoming targets. The protection of civilian component becomes even more difficult with the massive numbers of IDPs and limited numbers of peacekeepers. And, as I said earlier, this grown disregard and neglect of the international humanitarian law, those conducting violence don’t seem to understand that they are conducting war crimes… So it is a number of complicated factors that make peacekeeping much more complex and difficult than from what I recall from 30-40 years ago.
Question: You mentioned corruption and I want to touch upon its impact on social programmes. You mentioned Sweden, but in other places, such as Brazil, the situation is very different. Just this week two former governors were arrested. The stadium where the world applauded the Olympic Games was a centrepiece of a huge corruption scandal. What do you say that this should be either as an impact to fight against poverty, or can this be of impact, either by giving good news that these people are finally in prison, or by showing that actually this money that should have gone to social programmes or anything else ended up in bank accounts in Switzerland?
DSG: I can only speak from the UN perspective: every effort to fight corruption has to start with national and even local efforts. We set the guidelines and I very much sympathise with Transparency International’s guidelines. We have to be very strict on this. It is very important that the Member States and the institutions actually realize the importance of fighting corruption. A propos one of your questions earlier on what brought about this change when you mentioned elections, I think one very basic issue in today’s world is there is a lack of trust in the institutions, whether it is governments, the European Union, the United Nations. If the institutions don’t deliver good results, then people lose trust, and then people turn to others, who are completely outside of politics and who are appealing to their ethnic or religious identities. They are giving up. Therefore, I think, in the enlightened self-interest of anyone chosen to lead a country or who has taken power, corruption is a way to maintain trust and stay in power and have continued confidence in elections. I really would like to connect corruption to the diminishing trust factor in today’s world. For me, it is just a shame to see how money disappears from those who need it and goes to those who don’t need it and don’t deserve it.
Question: UN is also monitoring the ceasefire in Colombia? How do you see the next months in that regard? How could the ceasefire proceed in the light of the new agreement, which is to be accepted either through a new referendum or a vote in the Parliament. And which way would you recommend in order to get the best outcome?
DSG: I am not really completely briefed on this as I have been traveling for the past five days. But I was very heartened to see that there is a revised agreement to which both parties have agreed, and in consultation with those who were critical of the original agreement. I will not advise the Colombian Government as to which process they will do to make sure that there is broader support in Colombia. We have great admiration for President Santos and his work and work of his colleagues. The Security Council has given a full blessing to all efforts – a rare show of unity. We hope very much that there will be an agreement accepted by both parties, and I hope that President Santos can go to Oslo and have it become a reality and not only a stated intention.
I want you to know that one issue on which I worked very hard with a group of colleagues and at the request of the Secretary-General, was to develop a new approach to Haiti and cholera. I see that as very important. For a long time the United Nations had to wait for a decision of a US court that we had immunity, but we now want very much to send the message to people of the world and Haiti, that we are in solidarity with the Haitian people, and we would like to join Haitians in the process of the eradication of cholera. Almost 10,000 people have died of cholera. The country has been struck with an enormous earthquake, with almost a quarter of a million people killed, and then you had a cholera epidemic, thirdly a monstrous Hurricane Matthew. We feel now that we would like the international community support for this approach: 200 million USD to fight cholera and another 200 million USD to reach those who were affected by the cholera outbreak. We will try to find the best way possible, based on community support, to reach those directly affected. We want to send a message of deep regret and apology to the Haitian people. That is something that the Secretary-General and I want to do before we leave, and it is very important, in my view, for the reputational view of the United Nations. We can both have strict legal positions, claiming immunity, otherwise we would be very limited in peacekeeping and humanitarian actions in the future, but the United Nations also has to be on the side of compassion. We need to show the Haitian people a real practical sense of compassion and solidarity. We hope that the Secretary-General will outline this position in his speech on 1 December.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.