ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN UNITED KINGDOM, 24-26 JUNE
Secretary-General Kofi Annan departed Amman, Jordan for London at midday on Tuesday, 24 June.
On Wednesday he had a series of high-level meetings, starting with Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
His talks with the Archbishop were on both political and spiritual topics. They touched on Iraq, the Middle East and Africa, on the AIDS pandemic and the growth of traditional churches in Africa.
The Secretary-General briefed the Archbishop on his recent visit to the Middle East and efforts to get implementation of the “Road Map” to a two-State solution. He emphasized the need to break the current cycle of violence and to deny “spoilers” on both sides the opportunity to disrupt the peace process. He asked for the Archbishop’s prayers in support of peace.
In the afternoon, he went to 10 Downing Street to see Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Secretary-General raised a large number of issues with the Prime Minister, first briefing him on the Quartet meeting on the Middle East that just took place in Jordan. He then turned to Iraq, reporting on a series of meetings he had in Amman, including with his Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, United States Administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer and former Iraqi Foreign Minister, Adnan Pachachi. They then went on to discuss Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations reform -- including the United Nations budget -- Sudan, Sierra Leone, North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Secretary-General referred to the killings yesterday in southern Iraq of six British soldiers, extending his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims. Asked if there had been any discussion of sending United Nations troops into Iraq, he said, “ I’m not sure that United Nations troops are needed at the moment because you do have the coalition forces there who are responsible for security on the ground”.
He then met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. They discussed the upcoming review in October of progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals. They also touched on the private sector’s role in development, the economic situation in Iraq, development prospects for the Middle East, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Doha Trade Round and the United Nations budget.
He then went to the Foreign Office, where he met United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. They discussed Middle East issues, including Iran. They then moved onto the situation in Zimbabwe, the Rwanda Tribunal, the war in Liberia and United Nations reform.
At a press encounter afterwards, the Secretary-General called on Uganda and Rwanda to cooperate in maintaining peace along their common border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He also thanked the United Kingdom for its role in the European Union’s decision to increase the European Unioncontribution to the Global Fund for AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Again asked about the possible need for United Nations troops in Iraq, the Secretary-General replied that Security Council resolution 1483 (2003) “leaves the responsibility for security and for creating a secure environment to the coalition forces or the occupying power”. “And quite frankly”, he added, “I doubt that we will have the capacity to take on that responsibility at this stage”. “Security should be left to a multinational force or the coalition”, he concluded.
In response to a question, he confirmed that he had discussed United Nations reform saying, “Indeed if we are facing new challenges, there have to be new responses … These are issues that Member States should be looking at and we in the Secretariat are also thinking about it”.
The Secretary-General departed London for Geneva on Thursday morning.
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