Annan says he expects US to be at meeting on UN's future role in Iraq

Annan says he expects US to be at meeting on UN's future role in Iraq

Kofi Annan speaks to press
Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said he expects senior United States representatives to attend a meeting in New York later this month to discuss the future role of the United Nations in Iraq along with officials from that country.

“I’m looking forward to a very good and constructive meeting on the 19th and I expect all the parties to attend,” Mr. Annan told reporters upon arrival at UN Headquarters in New York, referring to the three-way talks that he called for last month.

Leading the Iraqi delegation to New York will be Adnan Pachachi, President of the Iraqi Governing Council for January. He is expected to be accompanied by Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the President of the Governing Council for December, and Massoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the expected President for February, a UN spokesman said last month.

Asked at what level he expects US representation would be, Mr. Annan said he thought the meeting would be at the senior level and that he would personally participate in the talks. “I would expect the US Government to send a senior delegation, hopefully including people from Baghdad. I would not be surprised if Jeremy Greenstock is also here with them,” he added, referring to the United Kingdom’s senior representative in Iraq.

The Secretary-General reiterated his hope that the 19 January meeting would clarify the UN’s role during the transitional period through the end of June. “I am not so much worried about the UN’s role in phase two, phase two being post-provisional government,” he said, adding that any return by the UN before then would have to address the question of security. “The [Security] Council itself recognized it in its own resolutions, and so it would be a factor in our decisions.”

Mr. Annan noted that the UN will be opening an office in Cyprus, and will have a presence in Amman, Jordan, to carry out cross-border activities. “Of course we will monitor the security situation to determine when it would permit us to go back and establish ourselves fully in Baghdad,” he said.

The Secretary-General also confirmed that he has plans to visit the region some time this year.

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Video of Kofi Annan's remarks