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Afghanistan discussed between Annan & Rice

Afghanistan discussed in meeting between Annan and US Secretary of State

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and he touched on many issues, including developments in Afghanistan, at their meeting in Washington today.

“We talked about Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, now that they've had successful elections, which I'm very pleased the UN team helped with and helped to organize; what happens for the longer term, what do we do, as an international community, to help the new Afghan Government develop its economy.” he told journalists after the meeting. They also reviewed UN reform, peacekeeping operations in Africa and the situation in Haiti, where the UN also has a peacekeeping mission, he said.

In answer to another question, Mr. Annan said he hoped the World Summit’s outcome document last week would persuade members of the US Congress to drop a dues provision introduced by House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, a Republican from Illinois. Approved in the House of Representatives, it said that if the UN failed to adopt 39 reforms within two years, half of the US dues would be withheld. The annual US payment is about one-quarter of the UN’s annual operating funds.

The outcome document “shows determination and seriousness on the part of Member States to move ahead with reform across the board and I think we should all work together to press on and reform the Organization. And, quite honestly, we need to be careful not to take any initiatives that will stall the reform – any initiative that will get a negative reaction from all the Member States,” Mr. Annan said.

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