Senior United Nations officials met in New York today with an Israeli delegation to discuss an upcoming UN fact-finding mission mandated to develop accurate information on the recent events in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.
During the meeting at UN Headquarters this afternoon, Kieran Prendergast, the Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, headed the UN team, which also included Legal Counsel Hans Corell, Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi and Military Adviser General Timothy Ford.
Earlier in the day, Secretary-General Kofi Annan and aides conferred via teleconference with the members of the UN fact-finding team who are now in Geneva preparing for their mission.
According to a UN spokesman, during the teleconference the leader of the fact-finding team, former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, had with him former President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Cornelio Sommaruga and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Sadako Ogata.
Also present were Mr. Ahtisaari's military adviser, retired United States General William Nash, police adviser Commissioner Peter Fitzgerald of Ireland, the team's new legal advisor, Tyge Lehmann, and support staff, spokesman Fred Eckhard told the noon briefing in New York.
Mr. Eckhard also said that the Security Council had agreed to put off a vote on a draft resolution introduced yesterday by Syria on behalf of the Arab Group, "preferring to wait until the Secretariat meets with the Israeli delegation this afternoon." Once those talks conclude, he said, the Council would be briefed in closed consultations on the outcome and then reconsider the Syrian draft.
Meanwhile in Geneva, Mr. Ahtisaari and his team continued their internal organizational meetings, which will be held through tomorrow. A UN spokesman travelling with the team reported that General Nash would be assisted by two military staff officers, and that "more experts will be brought on board as needed." The team expects to be in the Middle East on Saturday.