Daily Press Briefing of the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, August 2, 2013
Edith Lederer (chief correspondent for the Associated Press at the United Nations): I was wondering whether the Secretary-General has any response to this request by UN Watch… by this Geneva-based human rights group, who said that it sent a letter to the Secretary-General and to Navi Pillay condemning the incoming Iranian President’s statement, describing Israel as an old wound that should be removed and asking the Deputy Secretary-General to cancel plans to attend Hassan Rouhani’s Sunday inauguration.
UN Spokesperson: Well, on the last bit, the Deputy Secretary-General never intended to attend the inauguration. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, will be attending, on the Secretary-General’s instructions, the inauguration; and so that’s the first part. I will need to check whether a letter has been received. You’re telling me about it now and you almost seem to be out of breath so it must be hot off the presses, so I don’t have anything to say at the moment.
[The Spokesperson later added that, according to the established practice regarding formation of new Governments, the Secretary-General will be also sending a congratulatory letter to President Rouhani following his swearing-in on 4 August. The letter is expected to reiterate the Secretary-General’s willingness to work with the new Iranian President and his Government on issues of importance to Iran and the international community, and urge Iran to play a constructive role in regional and international affairs. The Secretary-General looks forward to meeting with President Rouhani should he decide to participate in the forthcoming general debate.]