UN Radio: Annan Reiterates Security Council Unity
Annan Reiterates Appeal for Security Council Unity in Dealing with Iraq
The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today reiterated his appeal for the Security Council to be united in dealing with the disarmament of Iraq.
He was speaking to the press as Security Council continues to wrestle over whether to give United Nations inspectors more time or to declare by next Monday that Iraq is in breach of Security Council resolutions.
The Secretary-General said that he spoke to British Prime Minister on Monday and he seemed to be genuinely looking for a compromise and a way forward. Diplomatic activities are centred around a United States sponsored resolution declaring that Iraq has failed to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Annan stressed that it was important for governments to find a way to work together:
"Regardless of how this crisis or the current issue is resolved the Council will have to work together and the member states will have to work together to deal with the situation in Iraq in the Middle East and in many other issues. And therefore, the divisions which have appeared, some of it is normal in democratic parliamentary processes, should not be long divisions that will prevent the Council from tackling the major issues ahead."
Some Compromise Seen Among Members of Council on Iraqi Resolution
The United Kingdom has offered new wording for the draft resolution in the hope that it will get Security Council unity. Six conditions are to be set which Iraq should comply with. Sir Jeremy Greenstock said if this gains support from the undecided members of the Council then the cosponsors of the draft resolution would be prepared to drop the paragraph that sets an ultimatum to Sadam Hussein:
"We would be prepared to drop that ultimatum because it's the ultimatum that most members say is unacceptable to their governments."
Flexibility was also forthcoming from the United States. Ambassador John Negroponte:
"If there's some traction and if the Council starts to coalesce around that approach, then an option available to us is a modest extension, a very, very brief extension indeed of the deadline. But I don't want to get pinned down to a specific number of days."
The Council is set to meet this afternoon for further consultations on the Iraqi crisis.
UN Relief Agency Urges Workers to Evacuate Family Members in Palestine and Israel
The United Nations agencies working in the Palestinian territories and Israel have asked their foreign employees to send their family members home in anticipation of war in Iraq. The spokesman for the United Nations Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees, Sami Meshasha has said that the evacuation is preventive and temporary. He says the decision was made at a meeting two weeks ago:
"At that particular meeting also, a decision was taken that their dependents should be allowed to go back to their original homes both as a precautionary step and also a temporary one in anticipation for the impending war in Iraq."