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Human Rights Council: Annan in Europe for meeting

Annan travels to Europe for first meeting of Human Rights Council; wide-ranging talks

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be in Europe from Sunday for a host of discussions and meetings, including addressing the inaugural gathering of the new Human Rights Council on 19 June and discussing the troubled state of nuclear non-proliferation at a Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Mr. Annan will first address the UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) bi-annual Global Meeting on Sunday in Copenhagen, before meeting Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and other members of the Government, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

“On Monday, he will be in Geneva to speak at the inaugural meeting of the new Human Rights Council. He will say that the eyes of the world, especially those whose human rights have been violated, are turned towards this new Council,” he said.

“He will call on the Council to make a clean break with past practices, while preserving the best features of the old system, such as independent special rapporteurs, and will encourage its members not be get caught up in political point-scoring and petty manoeuvres.”

From Denmark the Secretary-General will travel to France for a series of meetings on Tuesday with French government officials, including Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Defence Minister Michele Aliot Marie. In Paris, the Secretary-General will also attend the inauguration, with President Jacques Chirac, of France's Musée des Arts Premiers.

Mr. Annan will then go to Geneva to speak to the Conference on Disarmament about the state of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the challenges the Conference faces in breaking the impasse that has hindered its work and the Secretary-General will also meet UN staff working in the Swiss city. He will be back in New York on Friday.

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