Mr. Annan, who arrived in Pakistan accompanied by his Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, is scheduled to meet tomorrow with President Pervez Musharraf and Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar. Responding to a question during a press encounter at the Islamabad airport, the Secretary-General said that he had been personally in touch with both India and Pakistan, as well as others, about the need to de-escalate tensions. “I have been very pleased with the statement made by President Musharraf eleven days ago, and I think these are very important statements, and I think this is a step in the right direction, and we need to build up on that,” he said. “And I hope that would also lead to defusing the tensions.”Mr. Annan made a similar comment earlier in the day when on his way to Islamabad from Tokyo, he made a brief stopover in Bangkok.Asked about the possibility of an escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan, the Secretary-General stressed that the two countries could only solve their problems through political and diplomatic means.”I think what we need to do is to encourage the two parties to resolve their differences through dialogue, including the questions of Kashmir,” Mr. Annan said. “And I hope than once the current tensions have been reduced, we will not stop there and consider that satisfactory but move on with the search for a longer term solution.”In Bangkok, the Secretary-General met Min Surakiart, the Foreign Minister of Thailand, to discuss UN activities and operations in Afghanistan. At a press conference afterwards, the Secretary-General reiterated his positive assessment of the Tokyo pledging conference on the reconstruction of Afghanistan. “It was very well attended and the results were good,” he said of the two-day forum that ended on Tuesday. “And we would hope to see the pledges made transformed into cash as quickly as possible, particularly resources that we need for this year.” On Friday morning, the Secretary-General will leave for Kabul for a series of meetings with members of the Interim Administration, including Chairman Hamid Karzai.
Met Eireann to help in emergencies where hazardous material is put into the atmosphere>Batten down the hatches, there’s a storm a comin’> IT IS CERTAINLY not the day for an umbrella despite there being heavy showers.Met Eireann has issued a level orange weather warning, telling people to be prepared for widespread heavy showers this afternoon. There is also a possibility of thundery showers and hail.Strong windsHowever, today it will be very windy with west to northwest winds increasing strong and gusty. Winds will be extremely strong near west and south coasts with damaging gusts of up to 130 km/hr (80 mph) possible.It will be particularly windy in coastal areas of Connacht, Munster and Leinster today, but especially in the southwest.Today’s highest temperatures of 9 to 12 Celsius.Heavy showersIf you’re heading out tonight, be prepared for heavy showers, some possibly thundery. It will continue to be windy for much of the night with strong, gusty west to northwest winds.However, Met Eireann says winds will gradually ease overnight. Tonight’s temperatures will drop to 2 to 6 Celsius.Got any good photos of mother nature flexing her muscles today, why not send them into us at email@example.com.