Two UN envoys tell of 'horrific' devastation in Jenin camp; Annan disturbed by report

Two UN envoys tell of 'horrific' devastation in Jenin camp; Annan disturbed by report

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said he was deeply disturbed by the report of "horrific" devastation he received from two top UN officials in the Middle East who had visited parts of the Jenin refugee camp earlier on Thursday.

Addressing a closed-door meeting of the Security Council this morning, the Secretary-General said that Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and Peter Hansen, the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), had described scenes of massive destruction that had a "devastating" impact on the civilian population.

"They witnessed people digging out corpses from the rubble with bare hands," Mr. Annan said, according to the text of his remarks that was made available after the closed session of the Council. "Meanwhile no major rescue operation has been allowed to begin."

"Many questions have been raised about what occurred in the Jenin camp and more will be raised," Mr. Annan stressed, before briefing the Council on his proposal for a multinational force in the Middle East. "For the moment, I am calling on the Government of Israel to comply fully with its obligations under international humanitarian law to provide full and unimpeded access to humanitarian agencies."