UNITED NATIONS, May 14: Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday expressed hope that diplomatic efforts undertaken by the European Union on Iran ‘s nuclear programme and the six-party talks on North Korea would succeed in bringing the two countries back to the negotiating table.
“On the Iranian issue, I think the Europeans are trying very hard to keep the talks going, and I don’t think it is completely out of the question yet, and I hope they will succeed to keep them at the table, to continue their discussion,” Mr Annan said after he arrived here from his European trip.
“On the North Koreans, the only thing is to keep pressing to get the six-party talks back, and I hope that will be successful because that is the only game in town,” he said.
Asked to comment on a recommendation made by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief that economic inducements were necessary to bring North Korea back on the table, Mr Annan observed: “I think all the parties engaged in the six-party talks should bring their influence to bear to get the parties back to the table. In our own dealings with the North Koreans we have been assisting them with humanitarian aid and also encouraging them to cooperate on the nuclear front.”
UN REFORMS: Asked whether the UN reform initiative undertaken by him could be undermined by the oil-for-food inquiry, the UN chief said: “I think the member states, who themselves are very much aware of how the oil-for-food [programme] was set up, how it was managed, how it was organized, I think are much more sanguine about the facts than most other people, and I hope they will focus on the work ahead and strengthen this institution.”