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Annan heads to Geneva for senior UN official talks

Annan heads to Geneva for talks with senior UN officials

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan left London today for Geneva, where he will meet with senior UN officials as well as address the high-level segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) next week.

The Secretary-General is scheduled have a working luncheon tomorrow with the heads of UN agencies. On Monday, he will speak to the annual session of ECOSOC, which this year will focus on promoting an integrated approach to eradicating poverty and encouraging sustainable development in rural areas.

Yesterday afternoon, following his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Secretary-General met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, with whom he discussed the upcoming review in October toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

According to a UN spokesperson, they also touched on the private sector's role in development, the economic situation in Iraq, development prospects in the Middle East, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Doha round of trade talks and the UN budget.

The Secretary-General then met with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for talks on the Middle East, including Iran, as well as Zimbabwe, the UN's war crimes tribunal for Rwanda, the war in Liberia and UN reform.

At a press encounter afterward, the Secretary-General was asked about whether UN troops were needed in Iraq. He noted that the Security Council, in resolution 1483, gave the responsibility for creating a secure environment to the occupying powers. "And quite frankly," he added, "I doubt that we will have the capacity to take on that responsibility at this stage." He said that security in Iraq should be left to a multinational force or to the coalition.

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