War against Iraq can be avoided if Baghdad complies with demands, Annan says

23 October 2002
Kofi Annan

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said that war against Iraq is not a foregone conclusion, stressing that the Baghdad authorities must meet the terms of UN Security Council decisions.

“We all expect Iraq to comply with the demands of the international community,” the Secretary-General said at a press encounter in the United Arab Emirates. “War is not inevitable,” he added, pointing out that if Iraq does what is required of it, “We may be able to avoid military action in the region.”

The Secretary-General’s comments came after an hour-long meeting with His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates. In addition to the Iraq crisis, Mr. Annan told the press they had discussed the Israeli-Palestinian situation, Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism, including a tendency by some governments to abuse that cause by cracking down on political opponents.

Before arriving in the Abu Dhabi, the Secretary-General and his wife, Nane, wrapped up their official visit to Turkmenistan this morning, stopping at the National Hippodrome where they saw a rare breed of horse known as the akhalteke, a UN spokesperson said.

The Secretary-General was offered a horse as a gift, and he selected a rare golden stallion named Kenar.


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