The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat that he intends to appoint a Prime Minister and also that he fully embraces the Quartet Road Map. The Secretary-General believes that these are two very important steps towards restarting the Middle East peace process. The Secretary-General looks forward to working with a credible and fully empowered Palestinian Prime Minister. He believes it is now essential for the Palestinian Legislative Council to meet as soon as possible, so that Mr. Arafat can bring his nomination forward; and he urges both parties to do everything necessary for that to happen.
The Secretary-General notes the importance of this move in advance of meetings in London next week between the parties and key members of the international community to discuss donor assistance and Palestinian reform. The Quartet Envoys will also convene during this set of meetings.