Annan, Bush hold 'substantive' talks at UN on Iraq and other security concerns

Annan, Bush hold 'substantive' talks at UN on Iraq and other security concerns

Kofi Annan, President Bush meet before addressing UN Assembly
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and United States President George W. Bush today held "substantive, cordial and relaxed" talks on a range of international security concerns, including the situation in Iraq, according to a UN spokesman.

"Not surprisingly, the first item on their agenda was Iraq," spokesman Fred Eckhard said of the half-hour-long meeting held prior to this morning's General Assembly session, which both leaders addressed.

The Secretary-General and the US President also discussed "the search for a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the situation in South Asia, including India and Pakistan, and efforts to restore stability to Afghanistan," Mr. Eckhard reported. In addition, Mr. Annan raised a number of African issues, including Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sudan.

The conflict in Colombia and the progress being made by the new democracies in Central America were discussed, according to the spokesman, who reported that "the Secretary-General also raised the issue of UN reform and the subject of arrears in payments to the UN."

President Bush's delegation included his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice. Mr. Annan was accompanied by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and the Under-Secretary-General for Management, Joseph Connor.