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UN Secretary-General in Beijing to Discuss Iraq, Human Rights  - 2004-10-11


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in China, where he is holding discussions on issues including China's participation in a meeting on Iraqi security next month.

China expects to participate in the international conference on Iraq, scheduled in Egypt next month.

China was among the leading opponents of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq last year.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said Beijing believes the meeting is necessary to bring peace to the country. He said violence in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion "threatens world peace."

Mr. Li made his remarks after a 15-minute meeting with visiting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who came to Beijing seeking China's endorsement for the meeting, which is to bring together officials from Iraq and its neighbors, as well as representatives of U.N. Security Council nations, the G8, and others.

At a press conference afterward, Mr. Annan was asked if Iraqi insurgent groups would also be taking part in the Egypt conference. The secretary-general said the format and planning of the conference were still under discussion.

He said he believes the underlying message in holding the conference is that peace in Iraq is important for the entire world.

"The stability of Iraq is in the interests of every country and the international community should come together and do whatever it can, working with the neighbors and Iraqis, to stabilize Iraq," he said.

Mr. Annan said his discussion with the Chinese also touched on other subjects, including the situations in Sudan and in Afghanistan.

He said he brought up the human rights issue in China, but gave no details of his discussions on the matter, saying only that he hopes the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights will be able to visit China soon