1 September 2003

Sergio was drafted to go to Baghdad. He reluctantly agreed and only for four months. It is known -- as reported in earlier UNFORUMS -- that influential characters around Kofi Annan had other candidates in mind. He was too independent-minded, too charismatic, attracting too much media interest and too much of a competition. He was already mentioned internally among staff and diplomats as a strong candidate for Secretary General. With his success in Kosovo and East Timor and then Iraq, he became more visible and more "Secretary Generable." Iraq for them was not the issue of concern. What mattered was keeping the habit of the ambush, if possible without leaving a trace. But Sergio had impressed the U.S. Administration -- and held a private audience with President Bush -- as he had impressed other countries big and small throughout his career. However, those against his nomination -- for varied reasons including future prospects -- leaked stories that made him appear as if he was solely a U.S. imposition. The French -- who opposed the war -- loved him. He is married to a French citizen and will be buried in Thonon-Les-Bains, across from Geneva. All members of the Security Council admired him, to the point of going along with his approach. But the gang spread the word, not only in New York but, unscrupulously through their appointed proxies in the volatile region. They whispered his name accompanied with a grimace, a grin, or a headturn (some of them speak with their heads moving) that he was "working for the Americans." Never mind that any member of that gang, with a reputation for licking any powerful hand, would love to be asked for a favour by Washington. The purpose was to irresponsibly get at Sergio's reputation and credibility, fingering him out as he was doing the bidding of the occupation forces. The tragic outcome should be an incentive for Kofi Annan to curb their influence. Yet shamelessly some of those who were habitually hostile to Sergio's prospects are now exploiting his death to promote themselves and push their agendas. So, don't hold your breath. Who are they? Maybe we should ask.