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NEWS - Annan Steps Up Pressure to Choose Iraq Arms Chief

Does anybody know anything about the other men being considered for this
position? Other than Ekeus, I mean.


Friday January 14 1:20 AM ET 

Annan Steps Up Pressure to Choose Iraq Arms Chief

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Secretary-General Kofi Annan told key Security
Council members to agree by Friday on one of three candidates to head a new
U.N. disarmament agency for Iraq or come to another conclusion quickly,
diplomats said.

Annan had hoped to announce on Friday his choice of a new executive
chairman for the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission
(UNMOVIC) created by the Security Council on Dec. 17.

Aides said he was concerned by the failure of the council's five permanent
members to agree on a candidate and meet their own Sunday deadline, a
reflection of the deep divisions that paralyzed policy toward Iraq for a year.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters after Annan held a Thursday
meeting with the five permanent council members -- the United States,
Russia, Britain, China and France -- he would meet the five again on
Friday. He then plans to meet the council's 10 nonpermanent members.

According to a senior Chinese diplomat, the three candidates mentioned by
Annan were:

-- Celso Amorim, Brazil's former U.N. ambassador, now at the United Nations
in Geneva, who chaired several panels last year on U.N. policy toward Iraq.
The United States and Britain last week opposed him on the grounds that he
did not have a disarmament background.

-- Pasi Patokallio, a Finnish disarmament expert and now his country's
ambassador to Israel and Cyprus. The U.S. and Britain backed him, but
others were against his candidacy.

-- Rolf Ekeus, who headed the first U.N. Iraq disarmament body, the U.N.
Special Commission (UNSCOM), from its inception in 1991 until 1997, when he
became Sweden's ambassador in Washington. Iraq is said to oppose Ekeus, and
diplomats indicated Russia and China would follow suit.

UNSCOM has been in limbo for the past year and was replaced by the new
commission, created by the council in a resolution last month. That
measure, which drew abstentions from Russia, China and France, holds out
the prospect of a suspension of the sanctions in force against Iraq since
its invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, provided it cooperates with UNMOVIC.

U.N. weapons inspectors have not been allowed back in Iraq since December
1998, shortly before the United States and Britain launched four days of
air strikes against Iraqi targets on the grounds that Baghdad had failed to
cooperate with U.N. weapons teams.

Iraq says it has long been rid of any weapons of mass destruction and
sanctions should be completely lifted. 

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