Shared concern about the needy civilians in Iraq
Vienna, 23 April 2003 - On the occasion of his official visit to Vienna UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan met Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner for a working discussion today. In the press conference following their talks Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner emphasised "our shared concern about the needy civilians, and particularly children, who have been innocently affected by this passage at arms".
In this spirit Austria has already launched two initiatives: Firstly, Iraqi children are being brought to Austria for medical treatment and secondly, under the auspices of the Human Security Network Austria will establish one centre each in Jordan and in Iraq for the treatment of children traumatised by war.Asked about the United Nations' role in connection with the reconstruction of Iraq, Ferrero-Waldner stated that "a central role played by the United Nations would be desirable both from Austria's and the EU's point of view".In this connection UN Secretary-General Annan pointed out that improvements in the implementation of the "Oil for Food" programme were required in order to guarantee a more efficient supply of the Iraqi population.
In her deliberations with Kofi Annan Ferrero-Waldner also mentioned that Austria had supported his position in the weeks prior to the military operation in Iraq, stressing that the UN Secretary-General "did not tire in pointing to the huge importance of an agreement within the Security Council. When such agreement turned out to be impossible, we not only shared his disappointment and regret, but also welcomed the decisive way in which he stood up for the role to be played by the United Nations with respect to the future of Iraq".