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“The oil-for-food program or the soon end of Kofi Annan”

Posted by Helen Friday, December 17, 2004

That irresistible headline on the Russian news website Pravda.Ru with an article that outlines briefly the present travails of the UN Secretary General and the troubled relationship between the United States and the United Nations.

Mr Annan is apparently promising full co-operation with the investigations into the “allegations of bribery, kickbacks and influence-peddling in the oil-for-food program” but it is not clear which of the many committees he has in mind, the six congressional ones, who have all found the UN extremely unhelpful, or the UN’s own under Paul Volcker, which has produced no results so far and has no power to subpoena or discipline.

Mr Annan himself having obviously not managed to collect too much support in Washington, has gone to Brussels, where he achieved what he wanted. After he repeated his promise to co-operate fully with the investigations, Commission President Barroso patted him on the shoulder:

"Kofi Annan can be sure of the EU’s support for him and the for the United Nations."
This is, of course, music to the ears of those of us who have been saying for some time that the problem is not Mr Annan, though he and his record have not exactly helped the UN much, but the system of the various supranational organizations who have to stick together to justify each other’s existence. Could the domino theory work with them? In the meantime, Señhor Barroso might like to consider that if he wants to go on supporting the UN, he might have to drop his support for Mr Annan.