Annan did not rule out Israeli-Syrian talks on the Golan
Syria-Lebanon-UN, Politics, 4/7/1998
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan underlined the importance of continuous negotiations on the Syrian track, stressing that he does not rule out the possibility that Syria and Israel will commence talks on the Golan Heights.
In a statement to the London-based Middle East daily on Monday, Annan said any talks or consultations pertaining to Security Council resolution 425 will definitely cover Syria, a matter which will lead to talks on the Golan. Annan added: "After my talks with President Hafez al-Assad I has the conviction he will be ready to resume talks."
The UN chief said the language of UN resolution 425, concerning the unconditional Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon is very clear, noting he finds no need to reformulate it. Annan went on that he might be misunderstood by the Lebanese in "my statement in which I said 20 years have created facts on the ground that should be taken into considerations upon actual implementation of 425." He noted the need to hold consultations covering all sides concerned before implementing resolution 425.
The UN chief said upon arriving in New York that he will discuss steps necessary to make consultations with Lebanon and other sides concerned, adding, "Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon cannot be achieved without making consultations with all sides concerned."
Annan said it is the responsibility of the Lebanese government to ensure territorial integrity and security in south Lebanon as soon as the Israelis withdraw.
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