Secretary-General Kofi Annan today briefed the Security Council on his recent trip to the Middle East, touching on the issues of terrorism, Syria and Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Mr. Annan visited Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait earlier this month, making brief side trips to Iraq and to Jordan, where he expressed his condolences over the terrorist suicide bombings of three hotels in Amman, the capital.
Earlier this year Mr. Annan's Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen helped broker the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon in accordance with Security Council resolution 1559 after they had been stationed in the country for almost three decades.
A UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) is also probing the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and in an interim report determined that "converging evidence" pointed at both Lebanese and Syrian involvement. Mr. Annan and the Council have called on Syria to cooperate fully.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the UN is part of the Diplomatic Quartet which has drafted the Road Map plan calling for a series of parallel steps by both sides leading to two States living side-by-side in peace, originally by the end of this year. The other three members are the European Union, Russia and the United States.