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Arriving in Iran, Annan says he will discuss regional concerns with senior officials

Arriving in Iran, Annan says he will discuss regional concerns with senior officials

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Arriving in Tehran this evening, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he would review concerns facing Iran and its neighbours during meetings on Saturday with the country’s senior officials.

“I will discuss developments in the region and particularly Afghanistan and the work the UN is doing there,” Mr. Annan told reporters upon his arrival. “Over and above that, the UN has had a broad agenda with Iran,” he added.

The Secretary-General lauded Tehran for its pledge – made at a donors meeting in Tokyo earlier this week – of $560 million for Afghanistan’s reconstruction. “The Iranian government has been very generous to Afghan refugees over the years,” he added. “We have had great cooperation on the fight against drugs, and so we have a lot to talk about, and I'm here also to exchange ideas with the Iranian leadership on developments in the region.”

Asked about Tehran’s role in the future of Afghanistan, the Secretary-General emphasized that all of the country’s neighbours as well as the international community must support the interim Afghan authorities, and the Afghan government once it is fully established. “We share a common objective and that objective is to see a stable, peaceful Afghanistan – [an] Afghanistan that has normal and good relations with its neighbours, [an] Afghanistan that is determined to protect its people and ensure that they can live their lives in peace.”

Pointing out that this goal was in everyone’s interest, he said “in that spirit, Iran has a role to play.”

Mr. Annan is scheduled to meet on Saturday with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, President Seyed Mohammad Khatami, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khameini and other senior officials.