Ongoing Middle East violence makes need for talks ever more urgent - Annan

9 April 2001

Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed today that the ongoing Middle East violence made the need for peace talks ever more urgent and said that he continued to be in contact with all concerned parties in an effort to end clashes and resume negotiations.

Entering United Nations Headquarters in New York this morning after returning from a recent trip to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, Mr. Annan told reporters that he was speaking with all the key players in an effort to calm the situation.

"I'm in touch with the leaders in the region, both with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Mr. Yasser Arafat and with other leaders in the region and in Europe and also here, and I think what we are all trying to do is to work with the parties to try and end the violence and move on to ease the economic situation of the Palestinians, and of course, prepare the ground for talks," he said.

Referring to "those who believe that as long as the violence is going on, one should not talk," Mr. Annan said emphatically, "I personally disagree with that -- I think that is one more reason to talk, and it underscores the urgency for bringing the parties together, and I would work with others to see what we can do to bring the violence to an end."


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