April 29, 2002

Press Release

Kofi Annan Assures ADC Leaders About Jenin Mission

Washington, DC — A delegation of leaders from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) met today at United Nations headquarters with Secretary General Kofi Annan to discuss the grave situation in the Middle East, particularly the status of the fact-finding mission entrusted by the UN Security Council with investigating the recent events in Jenin. The delegation included ADC President Ziad Asali, Executive Vice President Khalil Jahshan, National Board Secretary Albert Mokhiber, New York Chapter President Nick Khoury, and New York Board Member Sarah Leah Whitson. The delegation was particularly honored that Archbishop Phillip Saliba, a member of the ADC National Advisory Board, participated in this important meeting.

Secretary General Annan expressed his confidence that the fact-finding mission to Jenin will be heading there as soon as he receives a positive response from the Israeli government. He described the members of the UN team as credible and respectable individuals who will pursue the truth. He also confirmed that the mission would include a military, police, and a legal advisor in addition to a team of medical experts. Annan emphasized that the mandate of the fact-finding team is limited to Jenin at this time, and denied that the UN has granted immunity to any party or persons.

Mr. Annan briefed the ADC delegation about a letter he sent to the Palestinian and Israeli sides setting the parameters of the mission and confirming the composition of the fact-finding team. The Secretary General also emphasized that the team will be reporting its findings back to him. In turn, the Secretariat will submit the final report to the UN Security Council after consulting with both parties.

The ADC delegation expressed support for the multinational force proposed by Secretary General Annan to extend protection to the Palestinian people, to make room for political negotiations, and to begin serious reconstruction efforts in Palestine. ADC leaders emphasized to Mr. Annan the need to deny Israel veto power over the composition of the fact-finding team, its mandate and the contents of its findings. They also urged the United Nations to protect its own credibility by providing enforcement mechanisms to guarantee the implementation of UN resolutions.

 
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