|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN SYRIA, QATAR, 31 AUGUST – 1 SEPTEMBER
On Thursday, 31 August, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan flew from Amman, Jordan, to Damascus, capital of the Syria, where he was greeted at the airport by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem.
That afternoon, the Secretary-General met with the staff of the United Nations in Damascus representing United Nations agencies and programmes working in Syria. He briefed them on his mission to the Middle East and his belief that the region was facing an opportunity to reach a real and lasting peace. He expressed his gratitude to the staff for their work, which was praised by the Syrian authorities, and urged them to continue.
The Secretary-General then held talks with Foreign Minister Al-Moualem, during which he emphasized the important role of Syria in ensuring the implementation of the all the provisions of Security Council resolution 1701. They also reviewed all the elements of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. And the Secretary-General stressed that there were signs of an awakening in the international community to the necessity of creating a practical mechanism to push the peace track forward.
The Foreign Minister then hosted a dinner in honour of the Secretary-General and his delegation.
On Friday morning he met with President Bashar Al-Assad. The Secretary-General said they had held a long and constructive discussion on Security Council resolution 1701 and its implementation.
Following this meeting, the Secretary-General held a press conferenceat Damascus airport. In his comments, the Secretary-General stated that the President informed him that Syria supports Security Council resolution 1701 and will assist the United Nations in its implementation.
On the Lebanese-Syrian border issue, the Secretary-General said that the President had assured him that Syria would undertake to increase border guard numbers and capability through provision of additional training and the supply of equipment and establish liaison mechanisms with the Lebanese Armed Forces, Lebanese border police and international personnel providing technical assistance to the Lebanese. Syria would also establish where possible joint border patrols and control points with the Lebanese authorities.
After the conclusion of his press conference, the Secretary-General and his delegation flew to Doha, Qatar, for a brief stopover on his way to Tehran, Iran.
* *** *For information media • not an official record