NEW YORK, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Seventy Nobel laureates say they support U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his work.
"We express our deepest respect and support for Kofi Annan and the values he has embraced in his lifetime of work for peace and security," they said in a statement released in New York Thursday by the Better World Campaign, funded by the U.N. Foundation that was established by U.N. benefactor Ted Turner.
"We commend ... Annan for effectively leveraging his moral authority, independence, and wisdom to elevate the United Nations to meet its highest principles," said the laureates in Peace, Medicine, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, and Economics in the signed statement.
The support for the secretary-general comes amid criticism of the implementation of the Oil-for-Food program -- a program established by the U.N. Security Council in 1995 that provided food and medicine to 25 million Iraqis" under sanctions, said the release.
The laureates included former presidents Jimmy Carter of the United States, Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia and Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea and several authors, such as Elie Wiesel, Toni Morrison and Seamus Heaney.