Mideast Sees Iraq 'Disaster,' Annan Says

Mideast Sees Iraq 'Disaster,' Annan Says
September 13th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Mideast Sees Iraq 'Disaster,' Annan Says

Mideast Sees Iraq 'Disaster,' Annan Says
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 13 September 2006

UNITED NATIONS_U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that most
leaders in the Middle East believe the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its
aftermath "a real disaster" for the region.

Annan said many leaders believed the United States should stay until Iraq
improves, while others, such as Iran, said the United States should leave
immediately. That means that the United States has found itself in the
difficult position where "it cannot stay and it cannot leave."

"Most of the leaders I spoke to felt the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath
has been a real disaster for them," Annan said. "They believe it has
destabilized the region."

Annan returned from a two-week trip to the Middle East late last week. His
main goal was to get leaders to support a Security Council resolution
imposing a cease-fire in Lebanon, but he said he discussed other issues such
as Iraq with the leaders he met.

Iran offered to help the United States leave but did not go into details,
Annan said. He would not give his own thoughts on whether he believed the
United States should leave Iraq yet.

"The timing has to be optimum and it has to be arranged in such a way that
it does not lead to even greater disruption or violence in the region," he

Annan's news conference was meant to give him a chance to discuss the
results of his trip to the region and take stock of the U.N. ahead of the
annual ministerial meeting of the General Assembly, which begins Tuesday.

He said that on Monday, the U.N. would host a meeting of the Iraq Compact, a
new group created by Iraqi's government meant to help strengthen its

"The idea here is to generate support for the economic development of Iraq,"
Annan said. "Wait till next week, the pessimists will be surprised as to
what happens."

Annan plans to step down on Dec. 31 when his second five-year term as
secretary-general ends.

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