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From the news

*       New UN Report (Kofi Annan) on oil-for-food: dismal performance -
only half of the $540 million worth of drugs and medical supplies
delivered to Iraq since 1996 have reached hospitals and clinics
(Associated Press)
*       Panel examines Iraqi disarmament: council remains deeply divided
on policy, and "It is likely to take weeks, if not months, for council
members to agree on key issues such as the lifting of sanctions"
(Associated Press)
*       Iraq to ban imports from US and Britain under the oil-for-food
programme (Associated Press)
*       Iraq Dilemma Erodes Annan's Bond With U.S. (Washington Post)
[fairly lengthy article about Annan's relationship with the US and their
differences over Iraq policy]

Iraq Humanitarian Program Assessed 
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, February 23, 1999; 9:05 p.m. EST

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a bleak
report Tuesday on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, saying
bureaucratic delays and low oil prices were preventing Iraqis from
getting the food and medicine they need.  Chief among Annan's concerns
is that medicine imported through the U.N. oil-for-food program is
languishing in Iraqi warehouses.  The secretary-general's report to the
Security Council also said malnutrition among infants and children under
five remains at ``unacceptably high levels.'' 

The oil-for-food program allows Baghdad to buy humanitarian goods to
care for its people suffering under U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq
invaded Kuwait in 1990.  Only half of the $540 million worth of drugs
and medical supplies delivered to Iraq since the program was launched in
1996 have reached hospitals and clinics, the report said. 

Even though child malnutrition is unacceptably high, the Iraqi
government has contracted for only $1.7 million worth of high-protein
biscuits for pregnant women out of a total allocation of $8 million,
according to the report. And Baghdad has submitted contracts for only
260 tons of infant milk, even though the United Nations has approved
deliveries of 1,500 tons, the report said. 

With pressure to lift or ease economic sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990
rising, the Security Council has formed a special panel to make
recommendations on improving the humanitarian situation in the country.
The panel is scheduled to meet March 1-2.  Still, even Annan seemed to
acknowledge that significantly upgrading the oil-for-food program is out
of his hands. ``The most serious issue facing the implementation of the
program at present is the growing shortfall in revenues,'' the
secretary-general said. ``Regrettably, there seems little scope for
optimism in regard to oil revenues in the immediate future.'' 

The United Nations began oil-for-food in 1996 in an effort to counter
the devastating effects of sanctions on Iraqis, particularly children.
Iraq is allowed to sell $5.2 billion in oil over six months, but low oil
prices mean that it will probably only generate $3.1 billion by May, the
report said.  Since one-third of every oil-for-food dollar goes into a
fund to compensate Gulf War victims, only about $2 billion is left for
humanitarian aid.

Panel Examines Iraqi Disarmament 
By Edith M. Lederer,  Associated Press Writer, Tuesday, February 23,
1999; 10:44 p.m. EST

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- An international panel of experts met for the
first time Tuesday to take a fresh look at ways to complete the
disarmament of Iraq, which has been stymied for the last six months.
With a stack of technical reports in front of them, the 20-member panel
opened four days of meetings, which will start by assessing the state of
the eight-year U.N. effort to rid Iraq of its nuclear, chemical and
biological weapons and long-range missiles.  ``I'm very hopeful ... that
the panel will be able to have a fresh look at this dossier and enable
the Security Council to take the policy decisions,'' Brazil's U.N.
Ambassador Celso Amorim, the panel's chair, said before the closed-door
meeting started.  The council, however, remains deeply divided on what
that policy should be. 

It is likely to take weeks, if not months, for council members to agree
on key issues such as the lifting of sanctions against Iraq, the future
of the U.N. Special Commission, which is charged with overseeing Iraq's
disarmament, and the best way to ensure that Baghdad doesn't resume
building banned weapons.  The council agreed Jan. 30 to create three
panels as a first modest step to breaking the diplomatic impasse that
followed U.S. and British airstrikes on Iraq in mid-December. After the
strikes, Iraq refused to allow inspectors from the Special Committee,
known as UNSCOM, to return. 

On the disarmament panel's first day, officials from UNSCOM and the
International Atomic Energy Agency described how their experts have
tried to verify that Iraq isn't rebuilding banned weapons and how that
monitoring can continue in the future, Amorim said at the end of the
meeting.  The panels are expected to make recommendations by April 15 on
reestablishing an effective disarmament program, on improving the
humanitarian situation in Iraq, and on what to do about looted property
and hundreds of people who disappeared after Iraq's 1990 invasion of

The humanitarian panel will meet March 1-2 and the Kuwait panel on March
3-4. Diplomats said the disarmament panel would reconvene March 22.
Iraq says it is disarmed and demands the oil embargo be lifted
immediately. U.N. weapons inspectors say Iraq still has to provide more
information about its weapons programs before they can give Baghdad a
clean bill of health.

UNSCOM has 12 members on the panel, but its chairman, Richard Butler, is
not among them. Russia and China have demanded his ouster.  The panel
also includes experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N.
undersecretary-general for disarmament, Jayantha Dhanapala.

Iraq to ban imports from U.S., Britain under U.N. deal
February 23, 1999,  Web posted at: 8:40 AM EST (1340 GMT) 

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq plans to halt all purchases from the United
States, Japan, Britain and Switzerland under the U.N. approved
oil-for-food program, a government newspaper reported Tuesday.  The
al-Ittehad weekly said the government has prepared a list of 33
countries that could supply Iraq food, medicines and other humanitarian
goods. The list includes Saudi Arabia, which has in the past angered
Baghdad by abetting U.S. and British airstrikes against Iraq.  Japan
also fell out of favor with Iraq for supporting America and Britain in
their military policy toward Iraq. It is not clear why Iraq wants to ban
Swiss imports. 

Iraq had said in the past that it prefers to deal with countries that
support its demand for lifting the sanctions. A U.N. spokesman said Iraq
is free to deal with any country it wants.  "Iraq has signed many
contracts with American companies in the past despite conflicts and they
can choose countries they want to buy products from," said Onukaba A.
Oja, a spokesman for the oil-for-food program in Baghdad.  The program
initially allowed Iraq to sell $2.2 billion worth of oil every six
months and the amount was later raised to $5.2 billion.  But a U.N.
statement said that even though the latest, fifth phase that began in
December 1998 is about to reach the halfway point, Iraq has been able to
export only $1.3 billion worth oil.  Iraq blames the low revenue on the
slump in world oil prices and the dilapidated state of its oil wells.

Iraq Dilemma Erodes Annan's Bond With U.S.
By John M. Goshko, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, February 23,
1999; Page A13

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 22—The Clinton administration plucked Kofi
Annan from the ranks of U.N. career diplomats and steered him into the
job of secretary general primarily in hopes of gaining a forceful
advocate for reforming U.N. bureaucracy. But as Annan approaches the
halfway mark of his five-year term, his reputation has become tied
instead to his differences with the United States over how to deal with
President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

Although Annan serves a constituency of 185 member states, the political
and financial support of the United States is so important to giving the
United Nations relevance in world affairs that the secretary general
cannot afford to ignore what is on Washington's mind. At present, that
is Iraq, where Clinton administration officials seem fixated on
eliminating what they see as the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. But
Annan-backed by what increasingly seems to be a majority sentiment among
other U.N. members-has moved farther and farther from the administration
in judging how best that can be done. "Managing the ties with the United
States always has been one of the secretary general's most important
jobs, and this split on an issue of such centrality to American
interests shows how precarious the U.S.  relationship is with the United
Nations," said John R. Bolton, who served as assistant secretary of
state for U.N. affairs in the Bush administration. "We're not talking
here about conservative Republicans who always have been skeptical of
Annan. We're talking about the vast difference traveled by the Clinton
administration from a man with whom it originally had an
identification closer than that between Washington and any previous
secretary general."

No one expected it to be that way when Annan moved to the top job here
in 1997. But in the past year, what to do about Iraq has overwhelmed
just about everything else on the world body's agenda. Inevitably,
frustrations generated by the failure to find an answer have caused the
between Annan and the United States to go into free fall. Despite the
chill, Annan still has more entree than his predecessors.  Where past
U.S. administrations dealt with U.N. leaders through their ambassadors
here or second-rank State Department officials, Annan talks frequently,
sometimes two or three times a week, to Secretary of State Madeleine K.
Albright and national security adviser Samuel R.  "Sandy" Berger. 

Annan plans to be in Washington Tuesday and Wednesday, giving a speech
at Georgetown University on peacekeeping, meeting with House and Senate
majority and minority leaders, seeing Berger and attending a White House
dinner for President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, his homeland.
Still, sources say, these exchanges appear limited to non-Iraq issues,
such as the crisis in Kosovo. On the central issue of Iraq, it is clear
that beneath the surface politeness, there no longer is much trust
between the White House and Annan's executive suite on the 38th floor of
the U.N. secretariat building. That is in marked contrast to the
situation last February, when Annan electrified the world with an
11th-hour intervention in a dispute that saw Iraq blocking arms
inspections and the United States threatening to attack. With the
blessing of the Clinton administration, which realized belatedly that it
had little domestic or international backing for military strikes, Annan
flew to Baghdad and convinced the Iraqis to cooperate in exchange for
some largely cosmetic restrictions on the inspectors.

The situation has gone steadily downhill ever since, not the least
because of Washington's air strikes last December. Annan's thinking, as
he has described it to intimates in recent months, is that Baghdad's
unyielding opposition to intrusive U.N. inspections inevitably will
prevent the world from learning whether Iraq is fully disarmed. He
believes a realistic fallback is to concentrate on ensuring that Iraq
has disarmed sufficiently to no longer pose a danger to its Persian Gulf
neighbors and that it is unlikely to produce new weapons of mass
destruction. To make that possible, Annan advocates lifting the U.N.
embargo in place since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and taking other
steps to end Iraq's decade-long isolation in exchange for cooperation
with a more limited, less confrontational inspection system. With this
view, Annan is in step with most U.N. members, including permanent
Security Council members France, China and Russia.

Annan, a Ghanaian educated at Macalester College in Minnesota and the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spent most of his adult life
climbing the rungs of the U.N. career bureaucracy. As secretary general,
he started out much as U.S. officials had hoped and was in line with the
administration's goals of improving the United Nations' sagging image on
Capitol Hill. During his first year and a half, he concentrated on
institutional reform and trying to win the confidence of suspicious
congressional Republicans who blocked payment of more than $1 billion in
U.S. back dues.
He was keenly disappointed when antiabortion Republicans tied payment to
President Clinton's acceptance of restrictions on how U.S. aid money is
used in overseas family planning programs. The president refused to go
along, the dues remain unpaid and the United Nations continues to teeter
on the edge of bankruptcy. "Kofi feels that he kept his end of the
bargain by pursuing reform and then
was met with bad faith from all sides in Washington," one senior aide
said. Nevertheless, he has continued to heed the admonition to be "more
secretary than general." In that light, he put a lot of effort into
streamlining the top-heavy and unwieldly U.N. bureaucracy. That involved
some personnel
cuts-although fewer than congressional Republicans called for-but his
main emphasis was on reorganizing the secretariat into a cabinet-style
system intended to promote clearer lines of authority and quicker
responses to events.

That has encountered opposition from some members who see the reforms as
a threat to their patronage and priorities. Generally, though, his
reform efforts have been given good grades by most U.N. diplomats.  Some
add that an even more enduring part of his legacy may rest in some of
the more
intangible things he has done. In particular, they cite his appointment
or support for the election of
women to important U.N. positions-among them Louise Frechette of Canada
as deputy secretary general, Mary Robinson of Ireland as U.N.  high
commissioner for human rights and Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway as
head of the World Health Organization-as establishing a strong female
presence in the top ranks of the formerly male-dominated bureaucracy.
Less impressive is the balance sheet on U.N. work in major crises during
his tenure. That is, first and foremost, the fault of the most powerful
U.N. organ, the 15-nation Security Council, where intractable policy
differences among the five permanent members with veto powers -- the
United States, Russia, China, France and Britain-have paralyzed the
council to the point where it is unable to agree on anything but
marginal and noncontroversial subjects.

Where most global flashpoints are concerned, the United Nations casts
little or no shadow. This dichotomy is particularly evident, for
example, in Annan's home continent of Africa, where his calls for the
United Nations to take a leading role in helping African nations realize
long-frustrated hopes
of modernization have run up against increasingly bloody and pervasive
civil wars. It is the same in other areas of tension, from Kosovo to
Cambodia. That is one reason Iraq looms so large in the U.N. scheme of
things.  It is the only active hot spot where the United Nations still
has a chance to
demonstrate that it can confront and defuse a threat to international
peace. And for Annan, it could well be the last chance to show that he
can play a leading role in the effort.

But first Annan and Washington have to smooth over such nasty rifts as
the one caused by recent leaks that the United States had been using the
U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM), created by the Security Council to
oversee Iraqi disarmament, as a cover for gathering intelligence to
further its
campaign against Saddam Hussein. Although Annan categorically denied any
knowledge or responsibility for the leaks, they are known to have come
from his advisers, as furious U.S. officials were quick to point out
during attempts to assert that U.S. intelligence help to UNSCOM had been
intended primarily to aid the search for prohibited weapons.

For his part, Annan has adopted a strategy of hugging the background.
There seems no chance for movement on Iraq, he says, until the council
finds a way to bridge the chasm between U.S. insistence on a continued
hard line and the Russian, French and Chinese advocacy of ending
intrusive inspections and easing sanctions. Annan also has dodged
discussion of his problem with Washington, refusing to talk about it or
blandly waving it aside as he did recently in an interview
with Irish TV. "I have solid and good relations with the U.S. government
and the U.S. authorities," he said.  "And I'm not too worried about what
the press is saying." His one effort to meet the issue head-on came last
month in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. Although he did
not mention the differences over Iraq directly, he asked pointedly: "By
what standard does one measure the words or the deeds of a secretary
general? By that of a head of government or a minister of foreign
affairs? Surely not, for their duty is prescribed by the interest of
their state, and their state alone. . . . They
are the servants only of their cause and not of the 185 member states
that make up the United Nations."

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