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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #76 - 2 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Brahimi sets out new Iraq leadership plan (Daniel O'Huiginn)
   2. Annan refutes criticism of UN Role in Oil-for-Food Program (ppg)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 14:14:00 +0100 (BST)
From: Daniel O'Huiginn <>
Subject: Brahimi sets out new Iraq leadership plan

Brahimi sets out new Iraq leadership plan
Wed 28 April, 2004 04:10

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says an interim
Iraqi government could be chosen by the end of May despite the "extremely
worrying" security situation in Falluja and elsewhere.

Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister persuaded by the United States
to help in the transition to Iraqi rule, laid out to the U.N. Security
Council plans for a new government, due to take power on June 30.

"Though it will certainly not be easy, we do believe that it shall be
possible to identify by the end of May a group of people respected and
acceptable to Iraqis across the country, to form this caretaker
government," Brahimi said on Tuesday.

The 15-nation council issued a statement welcoming Brahimi's "provisional
ideas" for an interim Iraqi regime that would be made up of nonpartisan
technocrats. He intends to return to Iraq shortly, the statement said.

But Brahimi warned about the "increase in violence up and down the
country" and especially in the besieged city of Falluja.

"It is extremely worrying," he said. The U.S.-led coalition knew "better
than everyone else that the consequences of such bloodshed could be
dramatic and long-lasting."

"Is it possible for the process to proceed under such circumstances? Will
it be viable? Will it be credible?" Brahimi asked. "I put it to (the
Security Council) that there is no alternative but to find a way of making
the process viable and credible."

Brahimi made clear there were many powers the new government would not
have until elections in January 2005. He said it should reach "crystal
clear understandings" on sovereignty with the United States before June

"You want 150,000 soldiers to disappear at midnight on the 30th of June?
Those soldiers are going to be there," he told reporters later.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Monday the interim Iraqi
government would have to give up some of its sovereignty to allow a free
hand to U.S.-led armed forces.

And Washington's ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte,
expected to be the new U.S. ambassador in Iraq after June 30, told
reporters foreign forces had to control security because a transitional
government would not be capable of doing so immediately.


Brahimi has proposed that the current U.S.-selected Iraqi Governing
Council be dissolved and an interim government made up of nonpartisan
experts take its place until the elections.

He said the United Nations would "help" select the government, along with
the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority and the Governing Council.

But Brahimi said it was important that members of the caretaker government
shunned partisanship. "It is best if the members of the caretaker
government, including the interim president, vice presidents and prime
minister, were to choose not to stand for elections," he said.

He proposed organising a national conference in July of at least 1,000
people to draw Iraqis together. This conference would elect a
"consultative council" to provide advice to the government and receive
reports from ministers.

The United States is currently drawing up a Security Council resolution,
expected to be circulated next month, that would bless an interim

The resolution is to approve a U.S.-led multinational force, part of which
would be designated to protect U.N. staff, and outline the duties of a
more robust U.N. mission in Iraq.

Some diplomats believe there may be problems with approving an interim
government that will not control Iraqi security.

But Chile's U.N. Ambassador, Akram Munoz, said, "Everybody knows that
there will have to be military forces on the ground for some time."


Message: 2
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: Annan refutes criticism of UN Role in Oil-for-Food Program
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:46:26 -0400

Kofi Annan Calls Some Criticism of UN Role in Oil-for-Food Program
Peter Heinlein
United Nations
28 Apr 2004, 22:08 UTC
 VOA website:

Listen to Peter Heinlein's report (RealAudio)
Heinlein report - Download 382k (RealAudio)

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has lashed out at critics of the world
body's role in the Iraq oil-for-food program, describing some of the charges
as outrageous and exaggerated. Mr. Annan categorically rejected allegations
that his son may have been involved in any illegal activities.
Asked Wednesday about the effect of the oil-for-food scandal on the world
body's reputation, the secretary general rose immediately to the defense of
his son. Kojo Annan worked in the mid-90s for Cotecna, a Swiss-based company
chosen to monitor what Iraq was importing under the humanitarian program.

Speaking at a news conference, Mr. Annan said there is nothing to the
accusations that his son somehow benefited illegally from oil-for-food
contracts. "He joined the company even before I became secretary general, as
a 22-year old, as a trainee in Geneva and then he was assigned to work for
them in West Africa, mainly in Nigeria and Ghana," he said. "Neither he nor
I had anything to do with contracts for Cotecna. That was done in strict
accordance with U.N. rules and financial regulations."

On the broader issue of the U.N. role in alleged fraud in the oil-for-food
program, Mr. Annan was equally outspoken. "Some of the comments that I have
read have been constructive and thoughtful," he added. "Others have been
rather outrageous and exaggerated. If you read the reports, it looks as if
the Saddam regime had nothing to do with it. They did nothing wrong. It was
all the U.N. You take the oil smuggling. There was no way the UN could have
stopped it."

Mr. Annan noted that smuggling accounts for the majority of the illegal
profits Saddam Hussein allegedly made from the oil-for-food program. He
suggested member states, in particular the United States and Britain, were
in the best position to prevent smuggling.

"There was a maritime task force that was supposed to do that, they were
driving the trucks through northern Iraq to Turkey," he said. "The U.S. and
the British had planes in the air. We were not there. Why is all this being
dumped on the U.N.?"

The secretary general said he is deeply concerned about the potential damage
to the world body's reputation from the oil-for-food scandal. Describing the
accusations "serious," he pledged to cooperate with investigations and said
in some cases, diplomatic immunity of U.N. staff may be lifted so as not to
impede the judicial process.

The oil-for-food program was launched in 1996 to allow Saddam Hussein's
government to sell some of Iraq's oil to purchase food and other goods to
ease the burden of U.N. sanctions on ordinary Iraqis. Investigators allege
Saddam's regime pocketed more than $10 billion in proceeds from smuggling
and imposing illegal surcharges on oil sales.

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