Annan says Israeli steps to ease conditions for Palestinians would be encouraging

Through a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Annan welcomed “any measures that have the effect of easing living conditions in the Territories and facilitating movement and exchange between them and the outside world, as well as allowing easier access for humanitarian organizations.”The Secretary-General stressed, however, that “it is the implementation of such measures that will be decisive.”The statement noted that during a meeting yesterday between the Secretary-General and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, the Foreign Minister had informed Mr. Annan about “serious attempts” to achieve a ceasefire, as well as measures being taken to relieve the pressure on the population in the Palestinian Territories. The Secretary-General’s staff “will be closely following developments on the ground,” the statement said.

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