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Iraq: UN Head Annan Meets to Discuss Fallujah

Annan and Iraq’s UN envoy meet for discussions on Fallujah, elections

Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraq’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaidaie, met today for talks on the situation in Fallujah as well as preparations for elections next January.

According to a readout of their meeting provided by Mr. Annan’s spokesman, the two “had a serious, yet friendly, discussion, with both agreeing on the importance of establishing a relationship based on mutual understanding.”

Asked earlier Monday if the Secretary-General had a reaction to the military offensive in Fallujah following his warning last week about such a move, spokesman Fred Eckhard noted that Mr. Annan had spoken about the topic over the weekend with US President George W. Bush in what was essentially a courtesy call following the President’s election victory.

“The President respects the Secretary-General’s position,” Mr. Eckhard said, adding that the Secretary-General had previously commented that sometimes force is necessary. “But [Mr. Annan] was merely warning that the use of force could destabilize the country at a critical point in the preparation for the elections.”

As for comments from the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, that January elections might not be possible, the spokesman said the timing of elections was a call for the Iraqi Interim Government to make.

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