Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

10 May 2005



United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Moscow in the afternoon of Sunday, 8 May, to participate in a commemoration hosted by the Russian Federation of the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the “Great Patriotic War”.

On his way to the city, the Secretary-General stopped at the recently unveiled Anti-Hitler Coalition monument.  Accompanied by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Yuri Fedotov, the Secretary-General laid a wreath at the monument which is topped by the statue of four soldiers representing the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

Shortly after arriving, the Secretary-General met with Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, in her capacity as one of his Special Envoys on UN Reform.  The Secretary-General briefed the President on the state of play of the reform negotiations and his various discussions with a number of foreign leaders.  She told the Secretary-General she was available and willing to travel to discuss his reform proposals with leaders in Europe.

On Monday morning Mr. Annan attended the sixtieth observance of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, and also attended a luncheon with other world leaders hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The commemorations began with a military parade on Red Square.  Afterwards, President Putin led the visiting foreign dignitaries at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

On the sidelines of these events, the Secretary-General spoke to President Jacques Chirac of France.  He also had a discussion with President Tassos Papadopoulos of Cyprus and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey.

He then took part in a meeting, at the principals’ level, of the Quartet dealing with the Middle East, which brings together the United Nations, the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union.  He was accompanied by the new UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Alvaro de Soto.

In a statement issued after that meeting, the Quartet emphasized that this is a hopeful and promising moment for both Palestinians and Israelis, and that they deserve the full support of the international community in helping them with the hard work and difficult decisions required in order to make positive use of this opportunity.

The Quartet expressed full support for its Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement, James Wolfensohn, and stressed the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to coordinate directly and fully on withdrawal preparations.

The Secretary-General also spoke to the press afterwards and said that the ultimate objective is to see a settlement in the region, based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

Later that afternoon, the Secretary-General met with the heads of United Nations agencies working in the Russian Federation.  They briefed him on their work in the country.

The Secretary-General held an off-the-record discussion with leading editors of major Russian newspapers, radio and television at the headquarters of the Itar-TASS news agency.

His last appointment for the day was a bilateral meeting with President Roh Moo-hyun of the Republic of Korea.  The Secretary-General and the President had an exchange of views on the UN reform process, especially regarding the Security Council, and the situation on the Korean peninsula. 

The Secretary-General departed Moscow on Tuesday morning, 10 May, for Geneva, Switzerland.

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For information media - not an official record