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After 'Quartet' talks in Washington, Annan says Security Council is still considering Jenin options

After 'Quartet' talks in Washington, Annan says Security Council is still considering Jenin options

Kofi Annan with Colin Powell in Washington D.C. (2001)
One day after informing the United Nations Security Council of his intention to disband a UN fact-finding mission to the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said the Council could ask him to prepare a report on the matter even in the absence of a trip to the area.

"I don't know what next they will do, but there is a paragraph in the draft letter which I have seen which would require that we proceed and prepare a report on Jenin with all available information, implying 'do it even if you cannot get on the ground,'" the Secretary-General said in Washington, D.C. He spoke during a joint press conference held after a meeting of the diplomatic "Quartet" on the Middle East, which also includes United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, High Representative for European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

The Quartet's meeting, which preceded the press conference, was also attended by Foreign Minister Josep Pique of Spain, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

The Secretary-General stressed that the Council's letter was still under discussion, but said it was likely that that paragraph would survive. "Once I get that mandate, I will have to determine who undertakes that work," he noted.

Yesterday, the Secretary-General wrote a letter to the Security Council detailing his efforts to implement resolution 1405, which had welcomed Mr. Annan's initiative to develop accurate information regarding recent events at the Jenin refugee camp. According to UN officials, in the letter Mr. Annan said he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that Israel had "fundamental" objections to the team's deployment, which were unlikely to be overcome.

In response to a question during today's press conference, the Secretary-General said that the Quartet's discussions had touched on the issue of the multinational force he had proposed for the Middle East "based on the premise that the mistrust and the enmity between the two sides is so deep that they are going to need a third-party mechanism, a third-party presence, to help them as we move ahead."

The idea of the force, Mr. Annan noted, was "to help create a secure and calm environment that will allow for reconstruction, the delivery of humanitarian assistance and, as we try to strengthen Palestinian institutions, including security, so that they can honour their commitments." The presence would also provide the space to continue political and diplomatic discussions, he said. "It is part of the package, not separate from the efforts we are trying to make to find a solution."