The new UN SG BAN Ki-Moon has clearly made enormous and disciplined efforts to improve his elocution and presentation, he has clearly invested enormous amounts of energy in learning French (and in less than a year has become capable of making a speech and of answering questions in French – a remarkable feat), and he has clearly had significant coaching in on-camera work. It’s still hard, sometimes, to understand what he’s saying…
In an exchange with journalists at a “stake-out” at UNHQ/NY on Monday, BAN said the following about Lebanon:
“Q: You were in Paris on the Lebanon issue, and you have received a letter from the Prime Minister of Lebanon â€“ [Fouad] Siniora – telling you that the Speaker of Parliament is refusing to tell the Parliament, although there are 70 signatures asking him to do so – about the Tribunal. Given that the Tribunal is actually the UN’s baby as well, whether it is Secretariat, endorsed also by the Security Council, what is next, from your point of view? Where do we go from here on the Tribunal?
SG: First of all, before answering that, the International Donor’s Conference on Lebanon was a reaffirmation of the international community’s commitment to help Lebanese people and government to build a democratic and independent country. It was very encouraging. As you know there was nearly eight billion dollars pledged for that purpose. As to your specific question of establishing a special tribunal, it is true that the Lebanese Prime Minister sent a document signed by Lebanese officials. We are now taking necessary steps. We hope that once the United Nations will sign this document, the Lebanese Government should take necessary measures to ratify this in accordance with their constitutional procedures.
Q: You mean without the consensus in Lebanon, are you supporting this document which he has sent you, irrespective of whether the people of Lebanon accept that or not?
SG: I know that there is some political process, but what is important is that the Lebanese Government should also take necessary measures in accordance with their constitutional procedures”. http://www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp
On Tuesday, a journalist tried again:
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, did you receive a letter from the Government of [President Fouad] Siniora on the tribunal, and also the letter from [President Emile] Lahoud? Could you confirm the letter? Are you ready to apply Chapter VII for the implementation of the tribunal?
SG: This matter is something to be discussed by the members of the Security Council. As I told you yesterday, I am considering the special tribunal issue; we have received a document from the Lebanese Government, and we hope that the Lebanese Government will take the necessary measures to be able to ratify this process, in accordance with their constitutional requirements”.