UN will continue dealing with Arafat, Annan reiterates
In a statement issued in New York, a spokesman for the Secretary-General recalled that Mr. Annan has "repeatedly and consistently" stated that it is up to the Palestinian people to elect their leaders.
The Secretary-General recently made this point during a meeting of the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East, which comprises the UN, United States, Russian Federation and European Union.
"President Arafat has been elected by the Palestinian people and the United Nations will continue to deal with him in this capacity," said spokesman Fred Eckhard. "On the same basis, the UN will deal with the leaders elected in the Palestinian elections announced for early next year."
The reports in the Middle Eastern media were prompted by an interview that the Secretary-General gave to Israeli television earlier this week.