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Annan voices confidence Security Council will make ‘optimal decision’ on Iraq

Annan voices confidence Security Council will make ‘optimal decision’ on Iraq

Kofi Annan & Mongolian Prime Minister at press encounter
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced his confidence that whether by one resolution or two, the Security Council will make an “optimal decision” that will enable UN weapons inspectors to return to Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where he is on an official visit, the Secretary-General noted that the Security Council was reviewing the possibility of approving a new resolution that will strengthen the disarmament programme as well as the hands of the inspectors and send them back to Iraq with the demand that the Government cooperate and comply with Council resolutions.

“Of course, if Iraq were to continue to defy, the chief inspector will report back to the Council and the Council would decide what to do,” Mr. Annan said. “But I think that Iraq must understand that it has to perform.”

Asked whether there would be one or two resolutions, the Secretary-General said that he firmly believed that when those discussions are over, the Council will come up with an “optimal decision that will allow the inspectors to go back with a strengthened hand and continue their work.”

“It’s a decision that would also underscore the determination and the desire of the international community to ensure that the disarmament tasks are carried out,” he added.

Responding to questions about other matters, the Secretary-General said he applauded Mongolia’s efforts to try and diversify its economy and to bring it in line with the international trading system in an age of globalization.

“But of course, Mongolia cannot do it alone. It needs the cooperation of the international community,” Mr. Annan stressed. “And we at the UN are determined to work with you. I will do whatever I can and encourage other countries that have capacity to support Mongolia and do it actively and generously.”

The Secretary-General also hailed the country’s efforts at democratic governance, calling this an important development that had sometimes been taken for granted. “We forget that no one is born a good citizen,” he said. “No one is born a democrat. It is something that we need to nurture and value and work together to develop.”