Skip to comments.AP: Annan Vows United Nations Reforms (Again)
Posted on 02/11/2005 12:20:54 PM PST by NormsRevenge
UNITED NATIONS - Facing scandals over U.N. operations from Iraq (news - web sites) to Congo, embattled Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) has launched a major public relations offensive with the message that he is tackling mismanagement and promoting major reforms of the United Nations (news - web sites).
While calls for Annan's resignation from U.S. lawmakers have died down, criticism of the world body by members of Congress has intensified, especially following last week's report by former U.S. Federal Reserve (news - web sites) Chairman Paul Volcker citing U.N. mismanagement, cover-ups and political meddling in the oil-for-food program for Iraq.
Two key Republicans in the House of Representatives told Annan in a letter Wednesday that the United Nations "suffers from crippling questions about its effectiveness" and raised the possibility of withholding U.S. funds, a move that could spark a new financial crisis for the world body.
But after what Annan called a "horrible year" in 2004, he is starting to fight back.
Annan, whose term expires Dec. 31, 2006, is revamping his top team starting with new chief of staff Mark Malloch Brown, the respected head of the U.N. Development Program who formerly oversaw public relations for the World Bank (news - web sites).
Since Malloch Brown moved to the 38th floor of U.N. headquarters, near Annan's office, he has been coordinating the fight, focusing on communication and accountability.
Immediately after Volcker released his interim report, it was Malloch Brown who gave a long news conference with the U.N. response. This week, he went to Washington to tell key U.N. supporters and opponents in Congress that the United Nations wants to get to the bottom of oil-for-food and is undertaking major management and administrative reforms.
"We've got to hit back at the worst calumnies of oil-for-food, and yet at the same time we've got to reach out to ... our critics who are at least willing to listen and dialogue about how we can deal with the undoubted management weaknesses that this has all exposed," Malloch Brown, a Briton, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
When Volcker and others criticize U.N. systems of management accountability, he said, "we've got to show that we take it deadly seriously, and are going to take action to address these problems."
The secretary-general retains strong support around the globe, including from British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites), the closest U.S. ally, who made a point Thursday of introducing Annan to a London audience with a ringing endorsement.
Noting that it has been a tough time for the international community and for the secretary-general, Blair said, "I happen to think in that very tough time that he has handled himself with great distinction, with a lot of wisdom and in difficult circumstances has been a tremendous unifier."
Those words were heartening to Annan, who thanked Blair "for that remarkable introduction."
But it was Blair's introduction that drew the headlines, not Annan's speech, which focused on the two issues he is pushing during his last two years on the job:
_ Persuading all 191 U.N. member states to reform the organization so it can tackle threats to global security in the 21st century, including terrorism and proliferation of weapons of destruction.
_ Achieving U.N. goals of reducing poverty and disease and ensuring that all children have at least an elementary school education.
Trying to focus global attention on these issues, and the summit of world leaders he has called for September 2005 to address them, is proving difficult for Annan, because of Volcker's investigation as well as half a dozen others by U.S. congressional committees and a continuing stream of revelations about other U.N. programs.
Only this week, the World Meteorological Organization (news - web sites) said a former employee of the U.N. weather agency is under investigation for allegedly embezzling up to $3 million of its funds. And the sexual exploitation of women and girls by U.N. peacekeeping forces in Congo was again in the spotlight, with Annan calling for at least 100 military police to help prevent further abuses.
But human rights groups say sexual abuse by U.N. troops isn't limited to Congo, and allegations of rape and attacks are likely to continue.
Annan has also faced criticism over his decision to clear U.N. refugee chief Ruud Lubbers of sexual harassment allegations, and the head of the U.N. watchdog, Dileep Nair, of alleged favoritism and corrupt practices in his office. Last year, a resolution by the U.N. Staff Union expressed a lack of confidence in senior management.
Annan's son, Kojo Annan, has come under scrutiny by Volcker over work he did for a company that had a contract in the oil-for-food program and the secretary-general's own involvement with the Iraq program is also being investigated.
To try to tackle the negative fallout from all these issues, the secretary-general has also been talking up the internal reforms he has undertaken, as has Malloch Brown, who also met the head of the U.N. Staff Union.
The reforms include increased transparency of U.N. operations, strengthened audit and procurement practices, and protection of whistle-blowers key demands of congressional critics that Malloch Brown met on Wednesday.
U.N. associate spokeswoman Marie Okabe said Malloch Brown's solo visits to Washington something his predecessor as chief of staff never did will continue.
"I'm sure that this will be a first in a dialogue that he has now initiated in his new capacity," Okabe said Thursday.
Why are we still paying for these free loading chumps?
How the UN was forced to tackle stain on its integrity
Yeah, right....TYRANTS and MONEY Launderers Anonymous might help them......rrriiiiiigggghhhhttttt!
we've got to reach out to ... our critics who are at least willing to listen and dialogue about how we can deal with the undoubted management weaknesses that this has all exposed,"
management weaknesses? lol
You are a bunch of incompetent corrupt ivory tower idiots who need to be imprisoned for your crimes.
In other news:
Nigerian Internet conmen vow to give back millions to American Churches.
The numerous dictators in Africa and the Middle East vow to enact reforms in the pursuit of FREEDOM for their people.
The religious scholars in the Middle East have vowed to consider REFORMING Islam so that the people are free to choose their destiny.
All of the corrupt businessmen in Eastern Europe and Russia have vowed to REFROM their business practices for the betterment of their citizenry.
China has vowed to end government corruption.
And more importantly, the male dominated third governments on the planet have vowed to treat woman as equals.
ONZ/UN news information ping I do not want write what I feel you write America friend Thank you
I know what Annan's answer to the corruption at the UN will be. Another meaningless UN RESOLUTION.
H.R. 1146 will WITHDRAW the USA from the United Nations madhouse/cesspool.
Go to: http://www.getusout.org/un/index.html . Then go lobby at http://www.conservativeusa.org/megalink.htm .
The United Nations is a corrupt disgrace and it is time for the USA to WITHDRAW from and defund the United Nations. Please tell your senators, congressmen and everyone you know to support Representative Ron Pauls bill H.R. 1146 which would WITHDRAW the USA from the United Nations, prohibit US funds going to the UN and prohibit US troops serving under UN command. H.R 1146 is the American Sovereignty Restoration Act.
The whole mission of the UN is to take power, money and national sovereignty from the USA. Thus the United States must withdraw from and defund the UN and if we go, if we are lucky, the whole thing will implode.
LOOK another UN failure.
Yeah, put in a PR guy. Next thing we'll hear is the problem is simply that the UN hasn't been getting its message out.
That stuff should be called KAAR (Koffi Anan African Republic). Just look at those Rwandan terrorists murdering millions of other Africans in the Congo, those mysterious planes landing and taking off each day from Eastern Congo with minerals and the UN (excuse me KAAR) troops watching while having illegal and immoral fun with Congolese women. Time for our Dear Condoleeza Rice to tell those Tutsis and Hutus criminals and KAAR troops it's time to stop their messy game there with Congolese women. Shall that game season (Hutus hunting Tutsis annd Tutsis hunting Hutus) be over now? Dr. Rice, help stop those Rwandan genociders in the Congo. Let's spread democracy, freedom and all our values everywhere,and put Rwanda's leadership behind bars or let's starve them to death (NO US-taxpayers dollars to fund Rwanda's state budget)!
The perfect guy for the UN PR job: Baghdad Bob.