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As UN-Iraq talks open, Annan voices hope for 'conclusive decisions'

As UN-Iraq talks open, Annan voices hope for 'conclusive decisions'

Annan speaking to the press, Vienna
As high-level talks between the United Nations and Iraq opened today in Vienna, Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced hope that the two-day meeting would produce concrete results concerning central issues, including the return of weapons inspectors to the country.

“I'm looking forward to a very constructive discussion with the Foreign Minister and I hope we will leave here with some conclusive decisions,” Mr. Annan told reporters in the Austrian capital.

“One of the key issues is how we get the inspectors in and how soon we can get them in,” the Secretary-General noted, pointing out that the Security Council was “very anxious” to see the return of the weapons inspectors, who have been out of the country for three years.

Mr. Annan added that the Iraqi delegation had “other concerns” that would also be under discussion.

The Secretary-General emphasized that he is “guided by Security Council resolutions” on Iraq. “Iraq is to disarm and once that is done, sanctions will be lifted,” he said, stressing that “conditions and when and how the sanctions will be lifted” would be part of the discussions.

The previous two rounds of UN-Iraq talks were held in New York on 7 March and from 1 to 3 May.