Secretary-General and UK Prime Minister discuss regional hotspots
Africa was high on the agenda, as the leaders discussed the continent's New Partnership for Development (NEPAD) and the development of an African conflict resolution and peacekeeping capacity, spokeswoman Marie Okabe told reporters in New York. At the meeting, Secretary-General Annan also repeated his goal to resolve the conflicts in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo within the next 18 months.
The Secretary-General and the Prime Minister also spoke about the forthcoming Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development. They mapped a strategy for the Johannesburg meeting focusing on "deliverables" - specific goals that can be achieved. In addition their talks also touched India/Pakistan and the Middle East.
In Italy yesterday Mr. Annan briefed Italian President, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, on efforts by the Quartet - the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - to convene a Middle East peace conference. "They also spoke of the lingering danger as the Indian and Pakistani armies continued to face each other in disputed Kashmir," Ms. Okabe said.
The Secretary-General also met yesterday with the President of Ghana, John Kufuor, and with South African President Thabo Mbeki. With President Mbeki, he discussed the situations in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, as well as preparations for the Johannesburg Summit and NEPAD.
His final meeting in Rome before heading to London en route to New York was with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. According to the spokeswoman, their discussions initially focused on US-Russian arms reductions and plans for reconstruction assistance for the Palestinian Authority.