Chirac and Schroeder back embattled Annan

2nd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

LUEBECK, Germany, Dec 2 (AFP) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac pledged their support here on Thursday for embattled UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

LUEBECK, Germany, Dec 2 (AFP) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac pledged their support here on Thursday for embattled UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"Germany and France reiterate their full support for Kofi Annan whose commitment to the aims of the United Nations is total," Chirac said at a press conference after holding talks with Schroeder.

Schroeder also pledged his support for Annan, whose resignation is being sought by a US senator over the scandal-plagued Iraq oil-for-food program.

US Senator Norm Coleman, the Republican chairman of the Senate investigations subcommittee that is conducting its own probe of the oil-for-food program, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Annan should step down because of fraud that occurred "on his watch."

The oil-for-food program, launched in December 1996 and terminated in November 2003, was intended to ease the effects on Iraqis of the international sanctions imposed on the regime of Saddam Hussein.

But US congressional investigators say Saddam's regime may have skimmed billions of dollars from the program, and allegations have surfaced of pay-offs to officials and private individuals from around the globe.

US President George W. Bush, speaking in Washington on Thursday, called for a "full and fair and open" probe into the UN oil-for-food scheme in which Annan's son is implicated.

Bush did not sign on to Coleman's call for Annan to resign but nor did he distance himself from the demand.

A French official said on the sidelines of the press conference here that Schroeder and Chirac had telephoned Annan to offer their "friendship and support".

The two leaders also welcomed the proposals for a radical reform of the United Nations which were published this week.

German, French leaders pledge support for embattled Annan

LUEBECK, Germany, Dec 2 (AFP) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac pledged their support here on Thursday for embattled UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"Germany and France reiterate their full support for Kofi Annan whose commitment to the aims of the United Nations is total," Chirac said at a press conference after holding talks with Schroeder.

Schroeder also pledged his support for Annan, whose resignation is being sought by a US senator over the scandal-plagued Iraq oil-for-food program.

US Senator Norm Coleman, the Republican chairman of the Senate investigations subcommittee that is conducting its own probe of the oil-for-food program, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Annan should step down because of fraud that occurred "on his watch."

The oil-for-food program, launched in December 1996 and terminated in November 2003, was intended to ease the effects on Iraqis of the international sanctions imposed on the regime of Saddam Hussein.

But US congressional investigators say Saddam's regime may have skimmed billions of dollars from the program, and allegations have surfaced of pay-offs to officials and private individuals from around the globe.

US President George W. Bush, speaking in Washington on Thursday, called for a "full and fair and open" probe into the UN oil-for-food scheme in which Annan's son is implicated.

Bush did not sign on to Coleman's call for Annan to resign but nor did he distance himself from the demand.

A French official said on the sidelines of the press conference here that Schroeder and Chirac had telephoned Annan to offer their "friendship and support".

The two leaders also welcomed the proposals for a radical reform of the United Nations which were published this week.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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