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Annan 'minded to disband' Jenin mission, UN official tells Security Council

Annan 'minded to disband' Jenin mission, UN official tells Security Council

USG Prendergast
With recent decisions by Israel signalling that the United Nations will not be able to deploy a fact-finding mission to Jenin with the country's cooperation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is "minded to disband" the team, which has been working in Geneva while awaiting the green light to travel to the Middle East, a senior UN official told the Security Council today.

Speaking to reporters following his closed-door briefing to the Council, Kieran Prendergast, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said he told the members "that in the Secretary-General's view a thorough, credible and balanced report on recent events in Jenin refugee camp would not be possible without the full cooperation of the Government of Israel."

Mr. Prendergast said he had recalled that the team was established on the basis of assurances of full Israeli cooperation. "Indeed, Security Council Resolution 1405, tabled by the United States, was initiated on the same basis," Mr. Prendergast noted, referring to the Council text which welcomed the Secretary-General's initiative to conduct mission to develop accurate information regarding recent events at the Jenin refugee camp.

With the situation on the ground moving rapidly, Mr. Prendergast said it was becoming increasingly difficult to determine what had taken place in Jenin. "The Council has called for the team to gather accurate information on the events in Jenin camp, and again that becomes more difficult with every passing day," he stressed.

"In the circumstances, and since it appears from today's Cabinet statement by Israel that the difficulties in the way of deployment of the fact-finding team will not be resolved any time soon, the Secretary-General is minded to disband the team and I have so informed the Council," the Under-Secretary-General said.