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In Islamabad, Annan discusses regional concerns with Pakistani, UN officials

In Islamabad, Annan discusses regional concerns with Pakistani, UN officials

Kofi Annan meets with heads of UN agencies in Pakistan
The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today met with senior UN and Pakistani officials in Islamabad, where he discussed regional concerns, including the situation in Afghanistan and tensions over Kashmir.

The Secretary-General heard reports from representatives of about a dozen UN agencies, including a senior official from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who said some 45,000 Afghan refugees had been moved out of the temporary camp at Jalozai, which would be closed in about two weeks. The managed return of refugees to Afghanistan is expected to get under way by the end of March.

Afghanistan was also on the agenda at a subsequent hour-long meeting between the Secretary-General and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Abdul Sattar. In addition, the two leaders discussed the India-Pakistan relationship, including the tensions over Kashmir.

Addressing the media at a joint press conference after their meeting, the Secretary-General stressed the need to peacefully resolve Pakistan’s differences with India, including over Kashmir. While urging an immediate military de-escalation, he called for a two-pronged approach involving “sustained and determined action against extremist armed groups” and “sustained and determined dialogue between Pakistan and India.”

He also noted that “a stable Afghanistan is in the interest of all its neighbours, and constructive cross-border relations would give a real boost to stability throughout the region.”


Kofi Annan and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf

Also today, Mr. Annan made an unscheduled visit to the Pakistan Human Development Forum, a three-day meeting where President Pervez Musharraf laid out the Government’s plan for economic revival, poverty reduction, good governance and political restructuring. In the evening, he met with President Musharraf, who then hosted a working dinner for the Secretary-General.