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Briefing by the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

Good afternoon to everybody.

I just wanted to give you some practical information on the events that we’re going to have this week on the “Responsibility to Protect”, that this is going to take place tomorrow, 23 and possibly 24 July, depending on the amount of people who speak at the General Assembly.

Let me give you an overview for tomorrow, Tuesday, 21 July.  The Secretary-General will present his report entitled “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect”, and that will be in a formal session in the General Assembly Hall starting at 10 a.m.  This session will be immediately followed by an informal session envisaged to last for an hour or so, for questions and answers with the Secretary-General.

Then on Thursday, on 23 July, we will have an informal General Assembly panel on the responsibility to protect that will be held in the Trusteeship Council, starting at 10 a.m.  The meeting will consist of 15-20 minutes presentations by each of the four panellists that I am going to give you the names of, followed immediately by an interactive debate.  The panellists are key voices in this area and are Professor Noam Chomsky from the United States, Professor Jean Bricmont from Belgium, Professor Gareth Evans from Australia and Professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o from Kenya.

Then, on the very same day, Thursday, in the afternoon at 3 p.m., the formal debate on the Responsibility to Protect will begin in the General Assembly Hall.

All this information, and a brief concept note on this issue to facilitate the dialogue, as well as the short programme and a note with a biographical details of some of the participants are available in the President of the General Assembly web page online in a letter he has sent to the Member States.  And I am going to leave it here, because I understand you have the background with the experts from the Secretariat, and I’ll come back to you on other issues later.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  May I ask you one question about this?

Spokesperson:  Okay.

Question:  Is there any expectation of some kind of an outcome document?  It seems that’s something that some of the countries were thinking about.  A couple of ambassadors said that their thought was that the setting up of this was less than transparent, and substantively they think it is an attempt to roll back the concept of the Responsibility to Protect.  What do you say to that?

Spokesperson:  Well, it is up to the Member States to decide.  I don’t have information right now on whether there is any draft resolution being discussed, to be honest.  But it’s up to them to decide whether they want to have a resolution on this particular issue.

Question:  The President of the General Assembly has no intention to circulate… himself?

Spokesperson:  No, not right now, no, no, no.  Definitely not himself.

Question:  Enrique, the Responsibility to Protect is a very controversial concept in small developing countries.  What are the President of the General Assembly’s personal views about this concept?

Spokesperson:  Well, I think it would be good, since we’re going to have this conference and the President is going to, himself, make very clear what his ideas are on this topic in the speech that he is going to make in the opening on Thursday.  I will leave it there and then we can discuss it afterwards if you want.  Okay, thank you very much.

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