Annan heads to Beirut to address Arab League Summit

Annan heads to Beirut to address Arab League Summit

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today left New York for Beirut, where he will address the Arab League Summit on Wednesday and met with the leaders attending the forum.

“In the margins of the Summit, he will hold a number of bilateral meetings on Wednesday afternoon, and in the evening he will attend a dinner in honour of the heads of delegations hosted by President Emile Lahoud,” Mr. Annan’s spokesman, Fred Eckhard, told reporters in New York.

Responding to press questions, the spokesman said the Secretary-General would consider meeting with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat if he attended the Beirut summit.

The Secretary-General’s programme during his two-day stay in Lebanon also includes numerous meetings on Thursday with UN officials based in the region, including Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, and Steffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for southern Lebanon. In addition, Mr. Annan will meet with the Force Commanders of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) as well as the Chief of Staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

Also on Thursday, the Secretary-General is scheduled to hold a “town hall meeting” with UN staff based in Beirut.