All Security Council Resolutions are Binding, Says Annan

Among the stops during the recent trip of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, to the Middle East was a visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Secretary-General arrived at Al-Arish Airport in Egypt on the 23rd of March 1998 and was received by the Governor of North Sinai, as well as a Palestinian delegation that included Mrs. Arafat, Minister Saeb Erekat and Ambassador Nasser Al-Kidwa. From there, the Secretary-General was escorted to the office of President Arafat, where he was accorded an official reception, followed by a meeting between the U.N. and Palestinian delegations, a press conference by the two leaders and a luncheon.

Mr. Annan then visited the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). He was received by the Speaker of the Council, Mr. Ahmad Qrei’, and delivered a statement before members of the Council. On that day, the Secretary-General also attended to U.N. matters, visiting the headquarters of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories (UNSCO) and of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Following this, he received a delegation representing the mothers of Palestinians detained and imprisoned by Israel.

A formal reception in honor of the Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan was held in the evening and was attended by the Cabinet Ministers of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), members of the PLC, Consuls-Generals in Jerusalem and accredited foreign representatives to the PNA. Mr. Annan spent the night in the official guesthouse of the President in Gaza. On the morning of the next day, he visited the Jabaliyah refugee camp, the largest camp in Gaza, where he visited a school run by UNRWA, after which he was accompanied to the Beit Hanoun crossing point. At a later stage, on the 25th of March, the Secretary-General, at the headquarters of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jerusalem, received a delegation of Palestinian Jerusalemites, headed by Mr. Faisal Al-Husseini, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The Secretary-General was very warmly received throughout his trip. Further, his visit clearly had a positive impact, as everyone looks forward to a more active role by the U.N. with regard to the question of Palestine and the Middle East peace process. It should be noted that, during the above-mentioned press conference, Mr. Annan made several very important statements, including, for instance, his statement reaffirming that all Security Council resolutions are binding. In this connection, the Secretary-General added that he intended to use all means available to him to promote the implementation of all of those resolutions.