6 August 2001



NEW YORK, 3 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a statement attributable to the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General has read the report of Mr. Connor’s investigation team with great care. He accepts its findings and has authorized the release of the report to the press.

It is clear that serious errors of judgement were made, in particular, by those who failed to convey information to the Israelis, which would have been helpful in an assessment of the condition of the three abducted soldiers. The Secretary-General regrets this error. He repeats his offer to show to the Governments of Israel and Lebanon an edited version of the videotape made on 8 October. He now extends this offer to cover the videotape of 7 October, which the investigation has uncovered, and is also willing to show these two Governments items recovered from the vehicles, which may have a bearing on the condition of the soldiers.

The report also reveals serious shortcomings in internal communications within the United Nations, and the way procedures for handling sensitive information are applied. The Secretary-General will now take administrative measures, including measures to tighten up these procedures, with a view to ensuring that such lapses in assessment and communication -- within the United Nations chain of command and between the United Nations and Member Governments -- do not recur.

Finally, the Secretary-General wishes once more to express his indignation at the use of United Nations equipment and insignia in the abduction. He regards this as a very serious matter, which he continues to pursue with the Government of Lebanon.



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