UN board supported Saddam Hussein's regime, says Iraq's ambassador

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Sunday, February 6, 2005

NEW YORK, United States — At UN World Headquarters in New York on Friday, February 4, 2005, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Samir Sumaidaie, declared to reporters that the international body of the United Nations helped the regime of Saddam Hussein. This allegation came one day after the former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker delivered a preliminary report of the investigation into the United Nation's Oil-for-Food program with Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Sumaidaie says he has serious doubts about the role of the former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali although there is no charge against him in the report.

In an interview with Voice of America reporter Peter Heinlein, Sumaidaie said: "In the early days, the secretariat bent over backwards to please the Saddam regime. At that time it was Boutros Boutros-Ghali who was the Secretary-General. And the report asserts that he tried to please the Saddam government by accommodating its requests which laid the basis for most things that went wrong later.... What's clear to me is that Saddam and his regime were able to manipulate things in such a way as to get what they wanted out of this program."

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Sumaidaie said the inquiry's investigators were ignorant of the UN system and that their allegations were silly.

After being questioned by journalists, the current UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said: "Each Secretary-General has to do things his way and in accordance with the circumstances that he finds himself in. I think Mr. Boutros-Ghali has indicated in the report, the environment and the circumstances in which he was taking those decisions and I don't want to second-guess him."

On Friday, Annan said there were some hard knocks in the report and said he would take action promptly: "We do not want this shadow to hang over the UN, so we want to get to the bottom of it."

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