Kofi Annan, Reformer

This has to qualify as one of the silliest headlines of the day: Oil-For-Food Scandal May Harm U.N. Reforms. The AP story says:

U.N. diplomats say they are concerned that calls for Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s resignation and allegations of widespread corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq could derail plans for a sweeping reform of the United Nations.
When a blue ribbon panel, after a year’s work, released a report last week on how the world body should tackle wars, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, poverty and other threats, the spotlight should have been on its 101 recommendations.
Instead the report was eclipsed by headlines that Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., was calling for Annan’s resignation over the oil-for-food allegations.
Algeria’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali said “many are concerned … because we are distracted now (and) we will not be able to focus on the panel report.”

Fill in walk/chew gum joke here. The Algerian Ambassador did get one thing right:

“There is a growing movement to defend the secretary-general and the United Nations, because member states feel that the attack is not only on the secretary-general but on the U.N.,” he said.

As the beer commercial says, True. The Russian Ambassador explains how his country would handle a pesky critic like Senator Coleman:

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Andrey Denisov said Annan doesn’t need praise or criticism. “What … we all need is strong leadership, especially now,” he said. An “investigation should be carried out, but not in such aggressive manner which can undermine the activity of one of the leading world institutions,” Denisov said.

Buried at the end of the article is this interesting bit:

[Nile] Gardiner [of the Heritage Foundation] said he believes Annan will resign. “What we are seeing are public displays of support for Annan from many world leaders. Yet behind the scene, countries are feverishly working to put forward their own candidate to replace Annan, especially from Asia,” he said.

It’s not ultimately about Koffi, of course, but he’s a good place to start.


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