ACTIVITIES OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL IN FINLAND 15 AUGUST
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, while on holiday in Europe, spent time in Helsinki to meet with the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen.
On Friday afternoon, 15 August, he discussed with her the lessons learned by the recent experience in Iraq. They talked about the importance of multilateralism, the role the United Nations can play in Iraq and the need for the involvement of neighbouring countries. The President offered her support for the Secretary-General's efforts.
They also discussed the Millennium Development Goals, as well as Liberia, disarmament and cooperation among regional organizations.
Afterwards, the Secretary-General spoke to the press and said that “what happens in Iraq does not happen in a vacuum, and the neighbours have to work with us if we are going to stabilize Iraq”.
On a timetable for United Nations involvement in Iraq, he said that discussions in the Security Council on a greater United Nations role were at an early stage, adding, “I do not see a second resolution on that for some time, if we are going to get one”.
Asked why former Liberian President Charles Taylor was allowed to go into exile in Nigeria rather than facing trial in Sierra Leone, the Secretary-General noted that “there is always that need for justice, but also the need for peace” and asked, “Which comes first?” He said that one needs to have a keen sense of judgement and timing to have both, and asserted, “The long arm of the law will still be at work, and the indictment still stands”.
The Secretary-General remained in Europe on vacation, which he cut short to return to New York on 20 August, the day after the United Nations compound in Baghdad had been bombed.
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