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Annan, Condoleezza Rice hold talks on Iraq and humanitarian situation

Annan, Condoleezza Rice hold talks on Iraq and humanitarian situation

Kofi Annan meets with Dr. Condoleezza Rice
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan met today with United States National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to discuss the situation in Iraq, including the humanitarian conditions and the requirements for providing assistance to the Iraqi people.

Their meeting at UN Headquarters in New York began with a two-on-two discussion involving the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette, Ms. Rice and the US Ambassador to the UN, John D. Negroponte, according to UN spokesman Fred Eckhard.

"The Secretary-General repeated his public call on all parties involved in the war to meet their obligations towards civilians under international humanitarian law," the spokesman said in a statement released after the meeting. "He stressed that the United Nations was prepared to do all it could to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people."

The United Nations, however, "would have limited capacity to do so until security conditions allowed for the safe return of staff to affected areas," the statement said. "Until then, humanitarian assistance would have to be provided by the United States and its coalition partners in those areas under their control, consistent with their overall responsibility under international law."

According to the spokesman, Ms. Rice described the United States' present thinking regarding the post-war period, while the Secretary-General said that any United Nations role beyond the provision of humanitarian assistance would have to be decided by the Member States through a Security Council resolution.

The Secretary-General "emphasized the need to maintain the territorial integrity of Iraq and the right of its people to determine their political future and exercise control over their natural resources," the statement said.