In China for an official visit, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today denounced a bomb blast over the weekend in Bali, Indonesia, that killed more than 180 people at a nightclub and called for cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
The Secretary-General told reporters after a meeting with President Jiang Zemin that the "brutal and inhumane" act underscored the importance of the work of the UN Security Council in fighting terror. All countries must "come together to share information, to decide not to support terrorists, not to give them financial support, not to give them safety, not to give them comfort," he said.
Asked about Iraq, the Secretary-General said that it came up during his meeting with the Chinese President, "but we didn't discuss resolutions." He added that he thought the Security Council would discuss Iraq this week, saying, "I'm sure there will be a resolution."
During the Secretary-General's meeting with President Jiang, which also included Mr. Annan's Special Envoy for Myanmar, Razali Ismail, the officials discussed globalization, terrorism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, tensions between India and Pakistan, and the threat of military action against Iraq, according to a UN spokesperson in New York.
On Iraq, the Secretary-General told President Jiang the situation was a challenge but also an opportunity. Handled correctly, it could strengthen international law and the United Nations, the spokesperson reported Mr. Annan as saying. The Secretary-General also referred to his speech on AIDS earlier in the day in Hangzhou, thanking the President for his work on the issue, but adding that leadership was needed at all levels.
Mr. Jiang responded that China was ready to work actively on the disease and expressed his hope that a way could be found to cure it.
The Secretary-General, accompanied by Mr. Razali, then met for 90 minutes with Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan for talks that started with the subject of Iraq and efforts by the Security Council to agree on a resolution regarding the return of weapon inspectors to that country, the spokesperson said. They also touched on the Middle East, Afghanistan, and India and Pakistan.
The Special Envoy then briefed Mr. Tang on his efforts to promote reconciliation in Myanmar between the Government and the opposition.
The Secretary-General again raised the issue of AIDS, and the Minister referred to the good discussion Mr. Annan had had with the President, according to the spokesperson. The Secretary-General also mentioned relations on the Korean Peninsula and the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
The substantive discussions continued at a dinner hosted by the Minister in honour of the Secretary-General and his wife, Nane. During the dinner, the Minister surprised Mrs. Annan with a cake for her birthday.
Earlier in the day, Mrs. Annan visited a traditional neighbourhood in east Beijing, where 2,700 residents recently voted in the capital's first democratic, multi-candidate community elections, ahead of similar elections planned citywide. She praised the involvement of both men and women, as well as migrant residents, in the polls. All nine candidates elected to the new Neighbourhood Committee were women, including the new director.
The Secretary-General's wife added that she was pleased that the UN was working with the community on increasing the participation of women and stemming violence against them. "I do believe the two issues are related," she said. "To fight violence, women have to be empowered."