United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called United States President George W. Bush’s summit with Arab leaders in Egypt today “an important step in our efforts” to resolve the Middle Eastern conflict.
“I am glad that President Bush was able to meet with the leaders of the region and to meet them so early in the process because I think that they are an essential part of the process and they should be engaged,” Mr. Annan told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York. “So I am very happy that he was able to meet with them and to get their support.”
Asked about the summit’s statement that there is no support for terrorism in view of the failure by UN Member States to come to any definition of terrorism, Mr. Annan replied: “I think in the absence of that definition, absence of agreement on definition, the Member States of the UN have all condemned terrorism and so I don't see any conflict between that lack of definition and the decision which was taken in Sharm El Sheikh.”
The UN is a partner with the US, the European Union and Russian Federation – the so-called Quartet – in the Road Map plan for Middle East peace based on an Israeli and a Palestinian state living side by side and achieved through reciprocal, parallel steps by 2005.