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In London, Annan discusses regional hotspots with Prime Minister, top UK officials

In London, Annan discusses regional hotspots with Prime Minister, top UK officials

Beginning the official part of his current visit to the United Kingdom, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today discussed world hotspots with the country's leaders, who endorsed his bid for a second term at the helm of the United Nations.

Mr. Annan, who flew to London earlier this week following a tour of the Middle East, discussed the situation in that region during detailed talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to a United Nations spokesman. The two leaders also touched on Iraq, the Balkans, the proposed global AIDS fund, economic assistance to Africa, and progress in Sierra Leone.

"Following that meeting, the office of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Jack Straw, issued a statement supporting the Secretary-General's bid for a second term as UN Secretary-General," said spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva. "The Secretary-General received the Prime Minister's personal warm endorsement today," he added.

The Secretary-General later held talks with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Donald McKinnon, who briefed Mr. Annan on Commonwealth activities in Fiji and land reform in Zimbabwe. They also touched on the situation in West Africa, including the proposed special court for Sierra Leone, as well as the upcoming World Conference on Racism and UN efforts to combat AIDS.

Mr. Annan later attended a working lunch with Clare Short, the Secretary for International Development. "Their wide-ranging discussions included issues in Africa, peacekeeping training and rapid reaction, the architecture of the proposed Global Fund for AIDS, and humanitarian situations as well as security for humanitarian workers, among other topics," Mr. de Almeida e Silva said.

During a subsequent meeting with Geoffrey Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, Mr. Annan raised "the issue of the training of African troops for peacekeeping in Africa by the United Kingdom and other advanced military countries," the spokesman said. Discussions also covered UN peace operations as well as the situations Sierra Leone, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.