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Annan returns to New York following talks in Nigeria

Annan returns to New York following talks in Nigeria

Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in New York today following talks with President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria in the capital Abuja, over the weekend.

Speaking to the press after his breakfast meeting with the President on Saturday, the Secretary-General said they had discussed conflicts around Africa, AIDS, the African Union, regional issues, and the Nigerian-UN relationship.

Mr. Annan was asked about the Security Council's adoption Friday evening of a resolution requesting that the International Criminal Court (ICC) not prosecute or investigate a case involving the personnel of UN-established or UN-authorized operations who are from nations that are not party to the ICC Statute, for a 12-month period beginning on 1 July.

Noting that Council members had been concerned about coming up with a solution that would respect the UN Charter and the Court's Statute while reaffirming the authority of the Council, he said, "I think they managed to do just that."

The resolution, he said, "resolves the conflict in the sense that the Americans themselves backed away from the blanket immunity they were asking for American soldiers and American personnel." He also noted that the Council's action removed a potential conflict "that could have ended the UN peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and perhaps in other locations."

"I am satisfied with the solution that the Council has adopted and I don't think there is any risk to peacekeepers nor is it in contradiction with the Statute of the Court," he said.

Asked about UN sanctions against Liberia, he observed that the Security Council would take appropriate action on the issue. "I am not sure that the solution to the crisis in Liberia is necessarily more weapons to continue the war," he observed, urging the parties, including President Charles Taylor, to come together to discuss their differences, and pledging to do his best to work with them to find a solution.