United States backs Annan

March 30, 2005 at 8:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 30 (UPI) -- The United States Wednesday refused to support the call for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to resign.

"We support the Secretary General in his work. That was our position yesterday -- it's our position today," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli told a briefing in Washington.

An independent commission, headed by Paul Volcker, a former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, cleared Annan of wrongdoing in the U.N.'s corrupted Oil-for-Food program in Iraq. The inquiry found no evidence Annan influenced bidding for a contract to under the $67 billion program to a Swiss firm that employed Annan's son, Kojo.

The report said the firm and Kojo Annan, a businessman in Nigeria, had both misled his father on his continued relationship with the firm.

But the report also said Annan and U.N. officials failed to thoroughly investigate the potential conflict-of-interest andAnnan's former chief of staff and long-time ally shredded possibly relevant documents.

Some observers say the allegation of shredding has left Annan nearly as vulnerable as before.

There's still speculation about how much longer Kofi Annan can remain at the head of the world body.

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