Annan to Meet With World Jewish Leaders at UN

NEWYORK - World Jewish leaders will meet for the first time tomorrow with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at his offices.

Some 40 leaders and Jewish activists from 24 countries are expected to meet with Annan at UN headquarters, as part of a joint project of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), and the UN Foundation.

The leaders will also meet with UN Deputy Secretary General Shashi Tharoor, special UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, and the Jordanian and Israeli ambassadors to the UN.

Dr. Eve Epstein, a New York Jewish leader who enlisted the support of the UN Foundation for the event, said it was part of UN's "efforts to reach out to the Jewish people."

The U.S. delegation will hold a special reception for the leaders, who plan to bring up human rights issues, UN reforms and the Middle East peace process during the meetings.

"It is very valuable for Jews to get the sense of the UN's current scope and reform process, and for the UN to gain a fuller understanding of the particular concerns, including increasing anti-Semitism, that challenge Jewish communities around the world," AJC executive director, David Harris, said.

Jewish lay leaders said the meeting is part of efforts by Annan in recent months, including the special meeting of the UN on anti-Semitism and the special session of the General Assembly which marked the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.