28 April 2004





UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Press Encounter

with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson

UN Headquarters, 27 April 2004


Secretary General:  Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.


The Prime Minister and I have had a very good discussion on three important issues: on Iraq and a possible new Security Council resolution on Iraq, and the Middle East conflict. I think we both agree that these are very important issues, issues that concern the entire international community, and we should find a way of working together to bring stability to that region.


Prime Minister Persson:  Yes, we not only exchanged views about that, we also touched

upon the issue we discussed when we met last time in Stockholm about the Special Adviser on how to stop genocide, in line with the initiative that the Secretary-General presented in the beginning of April this year.


We have in front of us a very difficult period.  We need to cooperate and support each other.  We are firm supporters of the UN system, the multilateral way of working to give the best possible conditions for sorting international conflicts.  It is more important now than ever to stick together and give the full support to the Secretary-General and his



Secretary General:  Thank you for that wonderful support.


Question:  Mr. Secretary, the situation in Iraq, what could the United Nations do,

and what could Sweden do?


Secretary General:  I think on the Iraqi situation, we are already engaged.  As you know, my Special Envoy [Lakhdar Brahimi] is working with the Iraqi people to try to come up with a mechanism for establishing an interim government, and that process I think is extremely important.  Without that political movement, we will not be able to contain the difficulties that we have in Iraq.  So we are very much engaged in that, and I think that is an absolutely crucial task.  Eventually, when that government is established, we also hope to work with them, if they want us to assist, on preparing a new constitution, on the whole electoral process, including working with them to establish an electoral commission, and preparing for the national elections that will ensure that a duly elected government is installed.


Question:  Mr. Secretary, will you be coming to Sweden this summer?


Secretary General:  It's quite possible, yes.  I look forward to it.


Question:  Mr. Secretary-General, with the security situation as it is in Iraq now, is it really possible to go through with these plans?  Does it have to improve?


Secretary General:  Obviously, we will need to see improvement in the security.  As to the 30th of June date, I think everybody seems to agree that that should go forward.  That date has been declared and the Iraqis are also looking forward to the end of the occupation on the 30th of June.  But I do agree with you that security is a major problem, and every effort should be made to secure the environment.


Question:  Yes, but when you say we will need to see improvement, if you don't see

improvement what would happen then?


Secretary General:  Well, as you know, if we don't see improvement it would be difficult for the UN to go in and operate.