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Annan's letter to Security Council details reasons for disbanding Jenin team

Annan's letter to Security Council details reasons for disbanding Jenin team

The United has released a letter from Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council, in which he outlines the reasons underlying his intention to disband a UN fact-finding team to Jenin, whose deployment faced "fundamental" objections from Israel, despite every effort taken by the UN to accommodate those concerns.

The letter, which had been provided to the Council on Wednesday and came out as an official document today, details discussions held between senior UN and Israeli officials aimed at clarifying key points, as well as subsequent conversations between Mr. Annan and senior Israeli officials.

"Throughout this process, the UN has made every effort to accommodate the concerns of the Government of Israel, within the mandate given to me by the Security Council," Mr. Annan writes, referring to Council resolution 1405, adopted 12 days ago.

The team, he stresses, was planning to develop information about recent events in Jenin for use solely in its report to the Secretary-General. "In my view, the team would have conducted its assignment in the field in a professional and fair manner and produced an accurate, thorough, balanced and credible report."

The team could not achieve this without Israeli cooperation, Mr. Annan points out, adding that time was also a factor. "With the situation in the Jenin refugee camp changing by the day, it will become more and more difficult to establish with any confidence or accuracy the 'recent events' that took place there," he observes.

The Secretary-General notes that following the 30 April statement by Israel's Security Cabinet - which had been reviewed against the backdrop of various other public and private statements by senior Israeli officials - he "was drawn reluctantly to the conclusion that, while continuing to express its concerns to the UN mainly in the form of procedural issues, Israel had developed concerns about resolution 1405 that were fundamental in nature."

"For these reasons, it is my intention to disband the fact-finding team tomorrow," the Secretary-General says. "I regret being unable to provide the information requested by the Council in resolution 1405, and especially that the long shadow cast by recent events in the Jenin refugee camp will remain in the absence of a fact-finding exercise."