Annan welcomes Powell's 'important' speech on Middle East

Annan welcomes Powell's 'important' speech on Middle East

Reacting to today's speech on the Middle East by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed it as "an important elaboration" of President Bush's recent remarks to the UN General Assembly outlining a vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side within secure borders.

"The Secretary-General warmly endorses Secretary Powell's emphasis on the need for both parties to observe a ceasefire, in accordance with the Tenet understanding, and to move rapidly on implementing the Mitchell recommendations," a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement released today in New York. "These recommendations relate both to a 100 per cent Palestinian effort to end violence and to the need for Israel to halt all settlement activity and end the occupation."

"The Secretary-General shares the US view that any framework for a lasting solution must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of 'land for peace,'" the statement said. "He also welcomes the US willingness to contribute to a monitoring and verification mechanism."

Mr. Annan also reiterated his readiness to work closely with Israel and the Palestinians, with the US and other members of the "Quartet" - the European Union and the Russian Federation - as well as with Egypt and Jordan and other interested Member States, to ensure that peace and stability were attained in the region.

"To this end, he welcomes the imminent dispatch of Assistant Secretary of State Bill Burns to the region, and the appointment of General Zinni as Secretary Powell's Senior Adviser on security," the statement said.