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Third day of bilateral meetings with world leaders

Annan goes into third day of bilateral meetings with world leaders

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan went into a third day of bilateral meetings with world leaders today on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, conferring with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Latin America’s largest country, and President Alfred Moisiu of Albania, one of Europe’s smallest.

Mr. Annan, who was due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the day, was expected to discuss a whole raft of issues ranging from the UN role in bringing peace to Iraq to the fundamental reforms he has called for in the world body’s institutions, including the Security Council, and the situation in the Middle East ahead of a high-level meeting on the issue tomorrow.

With dozens of Heads of State and Government in town to address the Assembly during its two-week long general debate, Mr. Annan has already met with United States President George W. Bush, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, current president of the European Union (EU) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, among many others.

Other leaders he was scheduled to meet today included Argentine President Nestor Carlos Kirchner, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines and former President Alpha Oumar Konaré of Mali, Chairman of the Commission of the African Union (AU).

The Secretary-General was also hosting a lunch for the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States.

Tomorrow he is to participate in a high-level meeting of the so-called diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East – UN, EU, United States and Russia – in an effort to put the Road Map peace process back on track after weeks of attack and counter-attack by the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

The Road Map peace plan calls for Israel and the Palestinians to take a series of parallel and reciprocal steps culminating in the achievement of two states living side by side in peace by 2005.

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