SecretaryGeneral heads to Washington next week for talks with President Bush

In addition to conferring with the President on 13 February, the Secretary-General will have a separate working lunch with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before returning to New York.Asked whether Mr. Annan had asked for the meeting, spokesman Stephane Dujarric noted that the Secretary-General regularly meets with senior US officials. Mr. Annan, he said, felt this was a good time for a meeting, and the United States agreed.In a press release issued in Washington, the White House said there are “many important issues” on the UN agenda, citing UN reform, human rights, international peace and security and the provision of humanitarian and development assistance. “The President looks forward to his meeting with Secretary-General Annan to discuss these and other topics of mutual concern,” the statement said.

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