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  • The Scriptorium

    4/22/2005

    Annan Exoneration Claim Too Hasty: U.S.

    Filed under: — Jennifer Rast @ 8:02 pm

    Kofi Annan may have jumped the gun when he said he’d been exonerated by Volker’s report on the Oil for Food scandal. Mr. Annan isn’t out of the woods yet. If there is any justice in this world, he’ll be held accountable for presiding over one of the biggest scandals in history.

    The Bush administration said on Thursday U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had been too hasty to claim he had been exonerated in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal and would not rule out he might eventually resign.

    “That report did not exonerate him,” said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mark Lagon, referring to the findings of an inquiry into the U.N. oil-for-food program led by Paul Volcker, the former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman.

    On the possibility Annan might one day resign, Lagon said, “His future is not certain.”

    But he added: “It’s his decision. He’ll be deciding. We’re not calling for his resignation.”

    The Bush administration has been careful not to call for the resignation of Annan since the oil-for-food probe began last year.

    The U.S. official, the deputy head of the State Department office for international organizations, which includes the United Nations, made the remarks in an interview with Reuters and in a briefing with a small group of reporters during a visit to U.N. headquarters.

    The Volcker panel’s latest report, issued on March 29, concluded that Annan did not influence the award of a U.N. contract to a firm that employed his son but it faulted him for conducting a superficial probe of the controversy. . . . . . . .

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