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Annan ends visit to Australia, arrives in NZ

UN NEWS

Secretary-General ends visit to Australia, arrives in New Zealand

22 February -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan Tuesday ended his official visit to Australia, meeting aid officials and members of the East Timorese community in the country to review humanitarian assistance to East Timor.

Mr. Annan later told an audience at the National Press Club in the capital, Canberra, that the UN is doing the best it can in administering the territory. "We are doing so in a place where almost everything -- institutions, infrastructure -- must be built or rebuilt virtually from scratch."

The Secretary-General's speech at the Press Club was followed by a wide-ranging question-and-answer session. Asked by a journalist about sanctions against Iraq, Mr. Annan said this issue was "a difficult one" for the Organization -- sanctions were a "blunt instrument" and sometimes affected the population who are not the intended target of the [Security] Council."

Recalling that three of the UN's responsible officials had resigned "arguing that their conscience does not allow them to stay on the job," Mr. Annan said this was something he would be looking into when he returned to Headquarters.

The Secretary-General then flew on to New Zealand -- the last leg of his Asian trip. He returns to New York late Thursday.

ENDS

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