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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

In Washington, Annan voices hope that US and UK will discipline soldiers who beat Iraqi prisoners

2 May 2004 ? United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced concern about photos of Iraqi prisoners allegedly being beaten by United States and British soldiers, and urged the authorities of both countries to discipline those involved.

"In all these situations, when it comes to the treatment of prisoners of war, we have to respect international humanitarian law," Mr. Annan said in response to press questions in Washington, D.C.

"I am encouraged that the US Government is taking it seriously and intends to discipline those involved, and I think that is extremely important, because the images going around the world have been damaging," he said.

The United States and United Kingdom must "take a strong and firm stand to ensure that those kinds of activities are not repeated, because it does do damage, as you can see from reactions in the region," he added.

The Secretary-General also pointed out that "the US is in Iraq, as it has indicated, to also try and establish democracy and law and order" making it all the more important that Washington "be seen as dealing very firmly with this."

To questions about the transition to Iraqi sovereignty, Mr. Annan said the country's people are "keen to see the end of the occupation" and are counting on this taking place on 30 June. "Any attempt to pull it back can be difficult and can raise tensions," he cautioned. "So I believe we should do everything to make sure that the June deadline is met."

For its part, the UN is "trying to facilitate and work with the Iraqis and the CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] to come up with a new government" based on broad consultations with the Iraqi people.

He also predicted that the Security Council would pass a resolution before 30 June on a multinational force in Iraq.

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