Tags: U.N.'s | Annan | Shores | Support | White | House

U.N.'s Annan Shores Up Support of White House

Thursday, 16 December 2004 12:00 AM

Powell noted that the U.N. was taking the first steps to expand its presence in Iraq outside Baghdad to the cities of Basra and Irbil and had increased the number of election experts it would deploy in Iraq.

The United States have been pressing Annan to do more, and is unlikely to be satisfied with the commitment of 25 election monitors.

``We have enough people in there to do the work,'' Annan said. ``And if need be, we'll put in the staff we need to get the work done. It's not a question of numbers; it's a question of what you need to get the job done.''

Then Annan asked himself a question.

``Are we doing the job? Yes, we are doing the job,'' he said.

The meeting with Powell was probably Annan's last before Powell leaves the job next year. White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice is Bush's choice to replace Powell, and Annan was meeting with her at the White House later Thursday.

Annan was also speaking on proposals to revamp the United Nations and on U.S. relations with the world body in an address to the private Council on Foreign Relations.

Annan, who is under fire from Republicans on Capitol Hill and elsewhere for his handling of the U.N. oil-for-food program, will not see Bush.

``I don't feel snubbed,'' Annan said.

``The president and I have met on many occasions, and we also do talk on the phone. And so I don't feel that if I come to Washington and we don't get the chance to meet, I should feel offended or snubbed. This is the nature of things.''

Annan pulled all U.N. international staff out of Iraq in October 2003, after two bombings at U.N. headquarters in Baghdad and a spate of attacks on humanitarian workers. The first bombing, on Aug. 19, 2003, killed the top U.N. envoy, Serge Vienna de Melee, and 21 others.

In August, the secretary-general allowed a small U.N. contingent to return to Baghdad and imposed a ceiling of 35 international staffers. The upper limit was recently raised to 59, and a U.S. spokesman said Wednesday the number of staffers in Iraq now was ``in that neighborhood.''

Bush sidestepped reporters' questions earlier this month about whether Annan should resign because of allegations of fraud and corruption in the oil-for-food program, saying he was awaiting results of investigations of the program, but U.S. Ambassador John Danforth later said Annan had the Bush's administration's support.

``We are not suggesting or pushing for the resignation of the secretary-general,'' Danforth said. ``We have worked well with him in the past and look forward to working with him for some time in the future.''

The oil-for-food program allowed Saddam Hussein's government to sell oil and use the revenue to buy food, medicine and other necessities. Investigations have found that Saddam skimmed billions of dollars from the program using bribes and kickbacks, some involving top U.N. and foreign government officials.

Annan's son Kojo also worked for a company that had a contract in the oil-for-food program and received payments for years after his employment ended. He worked for the company in Africa, not Iraq.

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Powell noted that the U.N. was taking the first steps to expand its presence in Iraq outside Baghdad to the cities of Basra and Irbil and had increased the number of election experts it would deploy in Iraq. The United States have been pressing Annan to do more, and is...
U.N.'s,Annan,Shores,Support,White,House
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2004-00-16
Thursday, 16 December 2004 12:00 AM
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