HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

ANNAN WELCOMES STEPS TAKEN BY ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN LEADERS
TOWARDS PEACE

  • Secretary-General Kofi Annan warmly welcomes the announcements of Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon today in Sharm el-Sheikh.  He believes that their joint announcements to cease violence after four years of death and suffering provide an opportunity for the peace process to resume.
     
  • The Secretary-General commends the steps taken by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and looks forward to further cooperation between the two parties.
     
  • The Secretary-General also commends Egyptian President Mubarak for organizing the Sharm el-Sheikh summit and for his leadership in the peace process.  He believes that the active participation of Egypt and of King Abdullah of Jordan will greatly enhance the chances of peace in the critical months ahead.
     
  • The Secretary-General calls on both parties to fulfill their Road Map obligations as necessary steps toward achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
     
  • Asked in what ways would the coming months be critical, the Spokesman said that, since the death of Yasser Arafat, fresh efforts had been made to revive the Middle East peace process, including renewing efforts by the Quartet. In recent months, the Spokesman said, the growing expectation is that there is new room to maneuver, as seen by today’s meeting. The Secretary-General, he added, looks forward to seeing the process develop on a positive track.

 U.N. ENVOY HOLDS TALKS WITH LEBANESE OFFICIALS

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, Terje Roed-Larsen, continued his visit to Syria and Lebanon today.
     
  • Earlier in the day in Beirut, he met with President Emile Lahoud, to whom he delivered a letter from the Secretary-General regarding the implementation of the resolution.
     
  • He also held separate discussions with Prime Minister Omar Karami, Dep. Prime Minister Issam Fares, Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud, Speaker Nabih Berri and other government officials.
     
  • The Special Envoy’s talks have been held in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation, and he is confident that positive results can be expected in the course of his assignment.
     
  • His report to the Security Council is expected to be submitted in April.
     
  • He will continue his meetings tomorrow in Beirut with an array of Lebanese political figures.

 

  Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
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