Kofi Annan

23 December 2003, New York

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the latest military incursion in the Gaza refugee camp Rafah, in which at least eight Palestinians, many of them civilians, have died. Dozens more have been wounded, including many children, and several houses destroyed. He sends his condolences to the families of the victims.

23 December 2003, New York

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the death of Oleg Alexandrovich Troyanovsky

The Secretary-General was saddened to learn of the death of Oleg Alexandrovich Troyanovsky, the veteran Russian diplomat and former Permanent Representative of the USSR to the United Nations. Mr. Troyanovsky was a brilliant diplomat who represented his country with singular expertise and adroitness at an acutely challenging time in the world and the history of the Organization. He combined a profound understanding of the indispensability of the United Nations with exceptional charm, humour, eloquence and flair. The Secretary-General sends his condolences to the family and friends of Mr.

22 December 2003, New York

Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Philippines

The Secretary-General was distressed to learn of the casualties and damage caused by landslides and floods in the central part of the Philippines. He conveys his condolences and deepest sympathy to the Government of the Philippines and to the victims of the disaster.

The United Nations stands ready to assist those affected by the tragedy. As part of these efforts, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is providing an emergency grant of US$ 50,000 for local purchase and transportation of relief items and is working to mobilize international donor response.

20 December 2003, New York

STATEMENT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE SPOKESMAN OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the announcement made yesterday by the Government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya of its intention to fulfill all its obligations under the relevant regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He sees this as a positive step towards the strengthening of global efforts to prevent the spread and use of those weapons.

The Secretary-General looks forward to Libya's cooperation with the relevant United Nations and other international bodies in this domain.

19 December 2003, Accra, Ghana

Secretary-General's message to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States [delivered by Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of UN Office for West Africa]

It is my great pleasure to convey warm greetings to you on the occasion of this important summit. I wish to congratulate the leaders of ECOWAS for their efforts to promote peace, stability and development in West Africa, and in particular to salute the tireless efforts of President Kufuor, the current chairman of your organization.

19 December 2003, New York

Secretary-General's statement on Myanmar

The Secretary-General welcomes the strong support expressed for the efforts of his Special Envoy, Mr. Razali Ismail, during the one-day meeting hosted by Thailand on 15 December to help facilitate democratic transition in Myanmar. The Secretary-General is also encouraged by the commitment made by the Foreign Minister Win Aung of Myanmar that the Myanmar authorities would implement their seven-step roadmap for the country's democratic transition in an “all-inclusive” manner. He welcomes the Government's intention to reconvene the National Convention and draft a new Constitution in 2004.

18 December 2003, New York

Secretary-General's year end press conference

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am glad to see you all before the holidays. It has been a rather hard year.

I have no doubt that you will have lots of questions about Iraq. But before you get on to that, there are a few things I would want to say.

All of us –leaders, politicians, diplomats and journalists –have been very focused on Iraq this year.

We simply haven't paid enough attention to the many other pressing challenges facing us.

Yes, Iraq is critical to the future of the region and the world.

18 December 2003, New York

Secretary-General's year end press conference

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am glad to see you all before the holidays. It has been a rather hard year.

I have no doubt that you will have lots of questions about Iraq. But before you get on to that, there are a few things I would want to say.

All of us –leaders, politicians, diplomats and journalists –have been very focused on Iraq this year.

We simply haven't paid enough attention to the many other pressing challenges facing us.

Yes, Iraq is critical to the future of the region and the world.

17 December 2003, New York

Statement of the Secretary-General on Colombia

During the upcoming holiday season and the period of reflection that it brings, I call upon the parties to the conflict to relieve the people of Colombia from the suffering that has plagued this country over the last four decades. I urge that steps be taken to nurture reconciliation, respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

The FARC and ELN should assist by releasing the innocent civilians, Colombian and foreign, they have kidnapped, so that families may be reunited during what should be a joyous time of the year.

16 December 2003, Beijing, China

Secretary-General's message to the UN Asian Meeting on the Question of Palestine [delivered by Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of ESCAP]

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I send my best wishes to all who have come together for this important meeting organized under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. My sincere gratitude goes to the Government of the People's Republic of China for hosting this gathering.