SECRETARY-GENERAL’S ACTIVITIES IN WASHINGTON, D.C., 13-14 FEBRUARY
Secretary-General Kofi Annan travelled to Washington, D.C., in the morning of Wednesday, 13 February.† He was to have informal discussions there on the global impact of AIDS with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at the invitation of Committee Chairman Joseph Biden and ranking member Jesse Helms.
His first appointment was with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office of the White House.
The primary focus of their half-hour meeting was Afghanistan, in particular, security concerns.† The Secretary-General backed Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai’s call for an expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to areas outside Kabul and also in numbers.† Mr. Annan stressed the importance of financial support to the Interim Administration.
They also discussed the Middle East.† The Secretary-General emphasized that both the Palestinians and the Israelis need a vision of peace, and international help to achieve it.
On Iran, the Secretary-General conveyed his impressions of his recent visit to Tehran.
The Secretary-General then went to Capitol Hill, accompanied by his wife Nane.† They spent about an hour at the Senate, with 11 senators participating in the discussions that focused almost exclusively on HIV/AIDS.
At a press encounter afterwards, Mr. Biden said that the Secretary-General had emphasized the importance of United States leadership in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and the Secretary-General called for “complete social mobilization” to deal with the issue.† “This is not something we leave to governments alone.† We need the private sector, we need NGOS, we need civil society.† We need individuals, and we need you ladies and gentlemen of the press to be engaged in the campaign and get the word out as to how dangerous this is.”
That evening, the Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan attended a private dinner hosted by World Bank President James Wolfensohn.
The Secretary-General returned to New York on Thursday morning, 14 February.
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