Chirac hails UN's Annan as man of 'integrity'

7th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 6 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that UN chief Kofi Annan - who is under fire from some US politicians for alleged UN corruption - was a man of "integrity".

PARIS, Jan 6 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that UN chief Kofi Annan - who is under fire from some US politicians for alleged UN corruption - was a man of "integrity".

Speaking to an annual New Year's gathering of foreign ambassadors in Paris, Chirac praised Annan for his "determined and tireless action" and called him "a man of peace, of conviction, of courage and of integrity."

US Republicans, angry at Annan calling the US war on Iraq "illegal" under the UN charter, have called for his resignation, saying alleged corruption in the UN oil-for-food programme that made up part of the sanctions on pre-war Iraq showed he was unfit for office.

Those allegations, which have implicated Annan's son, are being investigated by former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

The oil-for-food programme was in force from 1996 to 2003 and allowed Iraq to sell oil for food and medicine. It was subject to oversight by the UN Security Council members: the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia.

Evidence has emerged that Saddam Hussein may have diverted some of the funds raised by the programme for his own uses and possibly to pay foreign politicians dealing with his country.

Chirac told the ambassadors: "In a world seeking stability and solutions to global challenges, the United Nations - the only global body for regulating international relations - must continue to reform in line with the principles and goals of its charter."

He called for the next UN summit in September to make the needed changes, among which are changes to the makeup of the UN Security Council being pushed by France, Germany, India and other countries.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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