8 February 2001


Secretary-General Congratulates New Israeli Prime Minister,
Expresses Sincere Hope Search for Peace Will Continue

NEW YORK, 7 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General wishes to congratulate the leader of the Likud Party, Ariel Sharon, upon his election yesterday as Prime Minister of Israel.

He sincerely hopes that under the leadership of Prime Minister Sharon, the new Israeli Government will continue the search for peace, building on what progress has already been achieved. At a time of tension and uncertainty in the region, the Secretary-General calls on all sides to exercise every restraint and to spare no effort to end the violence that each day claims yet more victims.

The Secretary-General reiterates his personal readiness and commitment to assist the peace process in any way possible. He also sends his best wishes to Ehud Barak for the future.

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