For information only - not an official document.
    10 October 2000
 Secretary-General Travels to Middle East

  NEW YORK, 9 October (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued on Sunday, 8 October, by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

In view of the increasingly precarious situation in the Middle East, which carries the risk of a major conflagration, the Secretary-General has decided to travel immediately to the region.  He will depart from New York tonight, arriving in Tel Aviv tomorrow evening.  He is expected to see both Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Barak shortly after his arrival.  He also plans to meet other leaders in the region.

In recent days, the Secretary-General has been in constant contact with leaders at the highest levels in the region, as well as in many other concerned governments.  His aim has been to explore urgent means of ending the violence and bringing the Middle East peace process back on track.

In making his decision, the Secretary-General feels it is imperative that he makes every possible effort to break the prevailing impasse between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  He has consulted the two parties and other key actors and the President of the Security Council, who have expressed their full support for this initiative.

The Secretary-General is fully aware that this will be a difficult mission, the outcome of which is uncertain.  Nevertheless, the stakes are so high -- not least in terms of innocent lives -- that he feels it is his duty to expend every effort, in conjunction with those being undertaken by others in the international community, to lower tensions and restore the peace process.

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