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Profile: Kofi Annan

 
  

Positions that Kofi Annan has held:

  • UN Director


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, November 7, 2002

   “Iraq has a new opportunity to comply with all these relevant resolutions of the Security Council. I urge the Iraqi leadership for sake of its own people...to seize this opportunity and thereby begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people.” [Associated Press, 11/8/02]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Kofi Annan actively participated in the following events:

 
  

May 6, 2002      Treaties + UN

       The Bush administration effectively withdraws the US signature from the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC). In a letter to Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton writes: “This is to inform you, in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on July 17, 1998, that the United States does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, the United States has no legal obligations arising from its signature on December 31, 2000. The United States requests that its intention not to become a party, as expressed in this letter, be reflected in the depositary's status lists relating to this treaty.” [New York Times, 5/7/2002; United Nations, n.d. Sources: Letter from US to UN, 5/6/2002] The Bush administration defends its action, contending that the treaty infringes on US sovereignty because under its provisions an international prosecutor answerable to no one could initiate politically motivated or frivolous suits against US troops, military officers or officials. [New York Times, 5/7/2002; BBC, 7/13/2002] Bolton's letter is also intended to relieve the United States of its obligations under the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. That agreement prohibits the signatories of international treaties from taking steps to undermine the treaties they sign, even if they have not ratified them. [New York Times, 5/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, John R. Bolton, Bush administration
          

June 2002      Treaties + UN

       The Bush administration submits a proposed resolution to the UN Security Council that would grant indefinite immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) (see July 17, 1998) to all UN peacekeeping military personnel who are from nations that do not accept the court's jurisdiction. The proposal appeals to Article 16 of the Rome Statute which stipulates that the UN Security Council can grant deferrals on a temporary, case-by-case basis for nationals accused of war crimes who are from countries not party to the treaty. The US recommends that this provision for conditional immunity be universally pre-applied to all cases involving US military personnel engaged in UN peacekeeping. Immunity would be granted for a period of 12 months—but automatically and unconditionally renewed every year. As such, US troops would effectively be exempt from the jurisdiction of the ICC since it would take a UN Security Council resolution to end the automatic renewals and since the US holds veto power in the council. [Boston Globe, 7/1/2002; Independent, 7/4/2002; New York Times, 7/11/2002; Boston Globe, 5/23/2002] The US proposal is backed by threats that the US will withdraw its troops from international peacekeeping missions, starting with Bosnia (see June 30, 2002), and block funds to those missions as well. [Boston Globe, 5/23/2002; Agence France Presse, 7/10/2002]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, John R. Bolton, Bush administration
          

September 16, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Arab League Secretary-General Amir Moussa and gives them a letter expressing Baghdad's willingness to readmit the UN weapons inspectors without conditions. The offer is made after Saddam Hussein convened an emergency meeting in Baghdad with his cabinet and the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). [Associated Press, 9/16/02a; Independent, 9/17/02; New York Times, 9/17/02 Sources: Iraq's September 16, 2002 letter accepting the unconditional return of weapons inspectors] Iraq's letter is effectively an agreement to December 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1284. [New York Times, 9/18/02] Kofi Annan tells reporters after the meeting, “I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of the inspectors without conditions to continue their work and has also agreed that they are ready to start immediate discussions on the practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors to resume their work.” Annan credits the Arab League, which he says “played a key role” in influencing Saddam Hussein's decision to accept the inspectors, and suggests that Bush's speech also played a critical part in influencing Baghdad's decision. [UN, 9/16/02] UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix also meets with Iraqi officials and it is reportedly agreed that weapons inspectors will return to Iraq on October 19. UNMOVIC spokesman Ewen Buchanan tells the BBC, “We are ready to discuss practical measures, such as helicopters, hotels, the installation of monitoring equipment and so on, which need to be put in place.” [BBC, 9/17/02] The Bush administration immediately rejects the offer, calling it “a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong UN Security Council action,” in a statement released by the deputy press secretary. [Associated Press, 9/16/02; White House, 9/16/2002] And Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, tells reporters: “We've made it very clear that we are not in the business of negotiating with Saddam Hussein. We are working with the UN Security Council to determine the most effective way to reach our goal.” He then claims Iraq's offer is a tactic to give “false hope to the international community that [President Saddam] means business this time,” adding, “Unfortunately, his more than decade of experience shows you can put very little into his words or deeds.” Two days later Bush will tell reporters that Saddam's offer is “his latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations,” adding: “He's not going to fool anybody. We've seen him before. . . . We'll remind the world that, by defying resolutions, he's become more and more of a threat to world peace. [The world] must rise up and deal with this threat, and that's what we expect the Security Council to do.” [Independent, 9/17/02; Agence France Presse, 9/19/02] Later that night, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice reportedly hold a conference call with Kofi Annan and accuse him of taking matters into his own hands. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 285] Britain supports the US position and calls for a UN resolution backed with the threat of force. [BBC, 9/17/03] Other nations react differently to the offer. For example, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, says: “It's important that, through our joint efforts, we have managed to put aside the threat of a war scenario around Iraq and return the process to a political channel ... It is essential in the coming days to resolve the issue of the inspectors' return. For this, no new [Security Council] resolutions are needed.” [Independent, 9/17/02; BBC, 9/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Amir Moussa, Condoleezza Rice, Hans Blix, Dan Bartlett, Kofi Annan, Colin Powell, Naji Sabri, Scott McClellan  Additional Info 
          

September 23, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Three retired four-star generals testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee and warn Congress that a unilateral strike against Iraq without UN approval might limit aid from allies, create more recruits for al-Qaeda and subvert long-term US diplomatic and economic interests. A fourth general urges the committee to support the use of military force against Iraq. [New York Times, 9/24/02]
People and organizations involved: Amir Moussa, Kofi Annan, Naji Sabri, Wesley Clark  Additional Info 
          

November 2002-March 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush administration disagrees with the United Nations and other member states over what precisely should qualify as a “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441. The UN and other nations believe that only serious violations should count. The US, however, takes the position that any violation, no matter how small, should be considered a material breach and thus sufficient cause for using military force against Iraq. The difference in opinion is acknowledged by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who says, “The US does seem ... to have a lower threshold than others may have” to justify the use of military force. He also says, “I think the discussion in the council made it clear we should be looking for something serious and meaningful, and not for excuses to do something.” President Bush, reflecting the stance of his hawkish advisors, says the Security Council should have “zero tolerance,” implying that even minor infractions could be considered a “material breach.” [Washington Post, 11/17/02 Sources: US and UN officials] Colin Powell and Vice President Cheney contend that the delay of, or omissions and inaccuracies in, Iraq's early December declaration would constitute a breach. And Iraq is warned to this effect. During a dinner meeting on November 18, Hans Blix reminds a close aide to Saddam Hussein that a failure to meet the deadline would be considered by the United States to be a “material breach.” [US Department of State 11/21/02; Observer, 12/8/02; Independent, 11/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush
          

November 18, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       US and British warplanes attack sites northeast of Mosul after Iraqi defense forces fire anti-aircraft artillery at coalition aircraft patrolling the so-called “no-fly” zones. In a separate incident, warplanes attack two Iraqi air defense communications facilities and one air defense radar site in southern Iraq in Wassit and Dhi Oar after “Iraqi air defenses fired multiple surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery at coalition aircraft.” [New York Times, 11/19/2002; Scotsman, 11/19/02; Associated Press, 11/20/02; Reuters, 11/19/02] According to Iraqi authorities, four Iraqi civilians were wounded as a result of the attacks in southern Iraq. [Associated Press, 11/20/02] White House spokesperson Scott McClellan says in a press briefing, “The United States believes that firing upon our aircraft in the no-fly zone, or British aircraft, is a violation—it is a material breach.” [White House, 11/18/02; New York Times, 11/19/02] And Donald Rumsfeld, who is in Chile, says: “I do find it unacceptable that Iraq fires. It is for the President of the United States and the UN Security Council to make judgments about their view of Iraq's behavior over a period of time.” [New York Times, 11/19/02; Telegraph, 11/19/02; CNN, 11/23/02] This is the second time the US has bombed Iraq since the passing of UN resolution 1441. The US will conduct at least 22 more aerial attacks on Iraq before the March 19, 2003 invasion. [Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace] UN officials disagree with Washington's assessment. Secretary-General Kofi Annan states, “Let me say that I don't think that the council will say this is in contravention of the resolution of the Security Council.” [Independent, 11/20/02; Associated Press, 11/20/02; Peoples Weekly World News, 11/23/02; Reuters, 11/19/02; Reuters, 11/19/02] Responding to Annan's remarks, Rumsfeld argues, “I don't know that he (Annan) necessarily reflects the UN, the center of gravity of the Security Council, on any particular issue at any particular time.... Whenever resolutions are passed, they tend to be compromises, and there tend to be calculated ambiguities written into them to gain votes. So it does not come as a surprise to me.... The United Nations sat there for years with 16 resolutions being violated. So, just as we've seen a pattern of behavior on the part of Saddam Hussein, we've seen a pattern of behavior on the part of the United Nations.” [US Department of Defense, 11/19/02; CNN, 11/19/02] No comments supporting the US position are made by the British. [Telegraph, 11/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Scott McClellan, Kofi Annan  Additional Info 
          

December 3, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       One day after Bush asserts that signs of Iraqi cooperation are so far “not encouraging,” UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix tells the Associated Press, “I think we have started in the manner we expected and we have not had any impediments in the visits of plants.” By this date, notes the Associated Press, “UN inspectors have reported unimpeded access and Iraqi cooperation” in “more than a dozen field missions.” [AP, 12/3/02; Guardian, 12/11/02; Fox News, 12/3/02; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/3/02] Similarly, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says, “It's only been a week and obviously the cooperation seems to be good, but this is not a one-week wonder. They have to sustain the cooperation and the effort and perform.” [Associated Press, 12/3/02; Washington Post, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, Hans Blix
          

December 8, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell successfully pressures the UN Security Council's president, Colombian ambassador to the United Nations Alfonso Valdivieso, to override the Council's December 6 decision (see December 6, 2002) that no country be permitted access to an unabridged copy of Iraq's declaration. “The United States had initially accepted the argument Friday but then changed its mind over the weekend, holding consultations between capitals,” reports the Associated Press. “Eventually US officials instructed Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the current Security Council president, to hand over the complete copy of the declaration, which to the astonishment of many in the UN halls, he did.” [Associated Press, 12/9/02b; New York Times, 12/10/02; New York Times 12/21/02] The Council president normally makes decisions only when there is a consensus of all 15 members. Notably, the US had promised Colombia a substantial increase in military aid less than a week beforehand. [New York Times, 12/10/02] Under the new “decision,” only those countries with “the expertise to assess the risk of proliferation and other sensitive information” will be permitted to access the documents. The only countries that are considered qualified according to this criteria are the five permanent members. The other 10 council members, including Syria, will only be allowed to view the declaration after translation, analysis and censorship of “sensitive material.” Syria and Norway are infuriated by the move. [Associated Press, 12/9/02; Associated Press, 12/9/02b; New York Times, 12/10/02; Washington Times, 12/12/02] The photocopying of the documents will be done exclusively by the US. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will later acknowledge that the job should have been delegated to a less partial party. [Times of London, 12/10/02; Washington Times, 12/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, Colin Powell, Alfonso Valdivieso  Additional Info 
          

December 31, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in an interview with Israel's Army Radio that Saddam's government is cooperating with UN weapons inspectors and that he sees no reason for the use of force against Iraq. “Iraq is cooperating and they [inspectors] are able to do their work in an unimpeded manner and therefore I don't see an argument for a military action now,” the secretary-general says. “They may give an interim report before the [January] 27 [deadline] and I really do not see any basis for an action until then, particularly as they are able to carry out their work in an unimpeded manner.” The Independent of London call his remarks “a blunt warning to Britain and the United States that they will need clear evidence of clandestine weapons programs in Iraq to win support from other nations for any military campaign against Saddam Hussein this winter.” [BBC, 12/31/01; Deutsche Welle, 1/1/03; Independent, 1/1/03; New Zealand Herald, 1/1/03; Reuters, 12/31/01]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan
          

January 14, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expresses optimism that the Iraq conflict could be resolved peacefully. In stark contrast to Bush's statements, Annan says that Saddam's level of cooperation has improved since the UNSCOM inspections of the late nineties and therefore there is reason to hope that war can be avoided. He also states very clearly that it is premature to discuss whether or not the use of military force will be needed. “I am both optimistic and hopeful that if we handle the situation right, and the pressure on the Iraqi leadership is maintained and the inspectors continue to work as aggressively as they are doing, we may be able to disarm Iraq peacefully,” he says. [New York Times, 1/15/03a; Washington Post, 1/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan
          

February 2003-March 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The US and British conduct a spy operation targeting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other top UN officials. But news of this will not surface until February 2004. “[T]he UK ... was ... spying on Kofi Annan's office and getting reports from him about what was going on,” former British cabinet member Claire Short will tell BBC Radio 4's Today. When asked to elaborate, she says, “Well I know—I've seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations.” [BBC, 2/26/04; Independent, 2/26/04; New York Times, 2/27/04; Guardian, 2/28/04 Sources: Claire Short] And in an interview with The Guardian one day later, Hans Blix will say that he believes he too was bugged. [Guardian, 2/28/04 Sources: Hans Blix] Under international treaties, it is illegal for member states to spy on UN offices. [Sydney Morning Herald, 2/28/04; New York Times, 2/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Claire Short, Kofi Annan, Hans Blix
          

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