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Annan, Blair agree on need for new Security Council resolution on Iraq

Annan, Blair agree on need for new Security Council resolution on Iraq

Annan (right) with PM Tony Blair (file photo)
The Security Council should pass a new resolution on Iraq to help the country move forward with the upcoming political transition, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed during their meeting Thursday evening in New York.

Prime Minister Blair, who heads to Washington today for talks with United States President George W. Bush, said a new Security Council resolution "will allow us to plan this way forward of political transition in Iraq."

Mr. Annan endorsed the Prime Minister's view on the need for Security Council action, saying "I do agree with you that this resolution may be necessary as we move forward." He added that all UN Member States realize the importance of stability of Iraq and voiced hope that they would cooperate in the effort.

At a joint press conference following their meeting, the two leaders also agreed on the need to establish a stable, prosperous and democratic Iraq. Prime Minister Blair specified that Iraq must be "a sovereign State whose wealth is the wealth of the Iraqi people and whose government is the government of the Iraqi people."

Mr. Annan stressed the need to support Iraq in establishing stability and democracy. Now that his Special Adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, has left the country after meeting with a range of groups and leaders, the challenge is to define a proper political transition that will lead to the formation of a government on 30 June. "It has not been easy but of course we are determined to do whatever we can to help," the Secretary-General said.

Asked whether the world is safer now than before the war in Iraq, Mr. Annan said the "major international divisions" introduced by the conflict were starting to heal.

He also underscored the importance of galvanizing international action against the terrorist scourge. "We are seeing heightened terrorist attacks which affects all of us and we need to come together and pool our efforts to deal with them," he said.

Responding to questions on the Middle East, the Secretary-General emphasized that any initiative should not preclude the future status issues which have to be settled between the parties. "The withdrawal from Gaza should be seen as a first step because we also have to deal with the issue of the West Bank, and I would hope that what has happened does not foreclose the movement ahead and working through the Road Map and ensuring that two States living in peace side by side, Israel and Palestine, [are] established," he said, referring to a plan outlined by the diplomatic Quartet of the UN, European Union, US and Russian Federation.

The Prime Minister said recent moves do not displace the Road Map. "On the contrary, I think the Road Map is and remains the right way forward for the resolution of the Middle East peace process and we certainly strongly support it," he said.