13 March 2005 – Arriving today in the Middle East for a series of meetings with leaders on both sides, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters he looks forward to working with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to advance the peace process.
“We've all been very encouraged by recent developments, including the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement,” Mr. Annan told reporters in Jerusalem.
Speaking as a member of the diplomatic Quartet, which includes the UN, United States, Russian Federation and European Union, Mr. Annan anticipated working with Mr. Sharon and Mr. Abbas “in moving the process forward.”
Flanked by Mr. Sharon, the Secretary-General added, “I am very much looking forward, Mr. Prime Minister, to our discussions on all these issues.”
Prime Minister Sharon told the UN leader: “You are among friends here.”
During his Middle East visit, the Secretary-General is scheduled to travel to Ramallah, where he will meet with President Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei.
Mr. Annan and his wife, Nane, will also attend the inauguration of the new Holocaust History museum in Jerusalem at Yad Vashem.