Friday, June 17, 2005

No, he will not resign

Meanwhile, as the EU 25 negotiate themselves to a standstill, the other great Groundhog Day-type drama, the UN carries on.

In case you were wondering, SecGen Kofi Annan (father of Kojo) has announced yet again that he will not resign. No, sirree!!! He will stay and see those reforms through.

The Cotecna executive, Michael Wilson, whose e-mail suggested that Kofi Annan had known very well, indeed, that the firm, which just happened to employ his son, was bidding for the contract to supervise the oil-for-food scam (sorry, scheme), has made a statement through his lawyer that he had not spoken to the SecGen about it.

What neither Mr Wilson nor his lawyer managed to explain was whether anyone else could have discussed the matter with the SecGen. On that subject, we remain in darkness.

Mr Annan has expressed his faith in the Volcker Commission, not mentioning any of the Congressional enquiries. The Volcker Commission had been given everything Mr Annan had. This is not precisely how the Volcker Commission had seen the matter, in particular those of its members who have resigned because they thought the SecGen was being let off rather lightly.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the Democratic Senators are still searching for good reasons (or bad ones, or any reasons at all) not to appoint John Bolton to be US ambassador to the UN, even though it is quite clear to all that if any reforms of that organization are to be contemplated, there has to be a powerful and critical American presence on the scene.

But then, maybe President Bush is not interested in reforming the UN. The Administration has made it clear that it is against the Hyde Bill, which was being voted on in the House of Representatives yesterday.

Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, explained that the Administration had serious concerns with the Bill and the idea of withholding part of the payment if the UN does not show adequate progress in it attempts to reform itself.

They do not want to “go back to the nineties” when the US found itself isolated because it was not paying its dues for good reasons of disgust with the behaviour of the UN and, specifically, UNESCO.

Matter of opinion, that. The US was as popular then as it is now – had some friends and many more enemies, all of whom were and are very happy to take the Yankee dollar.

As for the UN reform, which allegedly cannot take place if the United States does not keep subsidizing that sorry organization, it is unlikely to happen without a good shaking.

But, as I said above, possibly President Bush has realized that the UN is unreformable and there is no point in trying. Let it sink, may be his view. And who could blame him?

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