Annan Meets Israeli Ambassador to UN as Crisis Worsens

Published November 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday met here with the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Yehuda Lancry, as the crisis deepened in the Palestinian territories, Annan's spokesman said. 

The meeting was the first between the two officials since Friday, when the Security Council asked Annan to help break the stalemate after more than seven weeks of violence that has claimed close to 250 lives, most of them Palestinian. 

Annan had said he would solicit feedback from both sides of the conflict about a French proposal for the UN deployment of a mobile force of unarmed military observers in the region. 

But neither he nor Lancry made any comment after their meeting, which lasted less than half an hour. 

The discussion was held in private, without even a note-taker present, UN sources said. 

Annan was scheduled to meet later Monday with the Palestinian observer to the UN, Nasser Al-Kidwa, who has asked the Security Council to authorize a force of approximately 2,000 unarmed observers to protect Palestinians. 

The meetings were scheduled before events took a further turn for the worse, with a bomb attack early Monday on a bus carrying Jewish settler children in the Gaza Strip and massive Israeli retaliatory raids. 

Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said it was "a safe assumption that (the bombings) will come up in the secretary general's meeting with ambassador Lancry." 

His only other comment on the events was that "violence begets violence." 

Eckhard said Annan had no immediate recommendation to make to the Security Council.  

"We shall have to see what comes out of these meetings and I'm not sure that things will be completed that quickly," he said -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 





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