After Arab League criticism, Annan voices full confidence in Middle East envoy

Voicing surprise at Arab League criticism of his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today reaffirmed his full confidence in the official, Alvaro de Soto, and said he expected all parties to work with him in the common search for peace.

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa issued a statement yesterday criticizing Mr. de Soto for his briefing to the Security Council on 23 September.

“There was nothing in that briefing that could be construed as supporting the construction by Israel of the barrier on occupied Palestinian land,” Mr. Annan said in a statement issued by his spokesman.

“The position taken by Mr. de Soto was entirely consistent with decisions taken in the General Assembly and the Security Council on this issue,” the statement added.

The General Assembly last years demanded that Israel comply with an advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which termed the barrier illegal and called for it to be torn down when it was built on West Bank land.

“The Secretary-General has full confidence in his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and expects all interested parties to work with him in our common search for a solution in the Middle East,” today’s statement concluded.

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