Middle East: Annan, Mubarak say political process key to durable security accords
13 June – Meeting today in Cairo, Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed that for any
Middle East security agreement to endure, it must be embedded in a political process.
According to a spokesman for Mr. Annan, the Secretary-General and President Mubarak reached this conclusion after
discussing prospects for a Middle East ceasefire in the wake of the security agreement concluded on Tuesday night in the
presence of United States Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet. They also reviewed current efforts to
encourage the Israelis and Palestinians to implement the recommendations put forward by a committee headed by former US
Senator George Mitchell.
Speaking to reporters following his meeting with President Mubarak, Mr. Annan said that now that the ceasefire was being
consolidated, "there should be an effort to move on to the diplomatic process in order to ensure that the ceasefire
holds for the longer term."
Underscoring the need to put an end to the tragedy, the Secretary-General said, "once the ceasefire has been accepted
and consolidated, I think it is only normal that we move on with the implementation of the full Mitchell recommendations
which the parties have both accepted."
Asked by a reporter about the plight of the Palestinian people "still suffering under siege," Mr. Annan noted that "the
purpose of the efforts we are making is in the end to ensure that the siege would also be lifted."
"As we make progress in the work that we are doing, I would hope to see a better situation for the Palestinian people,"
he added. "I know they are suffering, I know the pain, and I think that is why we are all here."
The Secretary-General then met with Egypt's Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher. In a press briefing following their
discussions, he emphasized the imperative of pursuing the path of peace. "I think once you've made a strategic choice
for peace, you need to stay the course and to stick with it, and at the same time find a way of dealing with the
"If you allow the terrorist to dictate the pace of talks - to determine when you continue your peace discussions - then
you are not going to move very far," he observed, expressing hope that the parties would "stay the course and not allow
a bomb here or there to disturb the process."
Later in the day, the Secretary-General left Cairo for Damascus. During the remainder of the week he is also scheduled
to visit Amman, Beirut, Tel Aviv and Ramallah.