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Annan encounter upon arrival at UNHQ - 13 May

New York, 13 May 2004 - Secretary-General's press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ (unofficial transcript)

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, may I ask you a quick question? [US Defense] Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld has made an emergency trip to Iraq. What do you think about this worsening scandal over the prisoner photos, and is it making your job more difficult as you try to assist in the transition over there?

SG: There's no doubt that the mistreatment of the prisoners has caused a real and deep damage. We are carrying on with our work. And Mr. Brahimi is in touch with a large group of Iraqis and I hope they'll be able to focus on the work ahead in establishing an interim government without letting the prison issue drag, hold them back.

Q: Also this week, we saw the horrible images of the beheading of an American civilian. Have you feared that these images would lead to retaliation like that, that the killers claimed it's retaliation? What is your reaction to that?

SG: I think I've already made a statement as to how horrible that was and, of course, I've also condemned the mistreatment and mishandling of the prisoners. And I think we need to really urge everyone to respect the international norms and the rules of law and treat prisoners decently in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Thank you very much.

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