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MORE ACCOMMODATIONS OVER IRAQ = LESS EMBARRASSMENT OVER FOOD FOR OIL.

25 June 2004

It may not be a deal; just a tacit understanding which would go along the following lines: You would like us to be more accommodating on Iraq. You suspect us of effectively wishing for you to lose and the other side to win. How can we demonstrate to you otherwise. The proof will be in helpful statements and in nudging the Security Council to go your way. It could also be in collaboration on the ground, that is, in Iraq and through joint positions handling Iraqi groups. We are not wedded to a specific viewpoint nor committed to a particular individual. However you will appreciate that in order to strengthen our hand -- and effectively yours -- we have to be credible, we have to look good. All those awkward stories about Food for Oil only erode our credibility and weaken our ability to be useful. We understand that which was done is done. Sevan is already toast. Leave it there. Let a most highly regarded person like Paul Volcker go through available details and sort things out. His staff can inspect Sevan's office, go though everything in his boxes, including his childhood photos -- there may be a hidden clue there between Cyprus and Iraq. The distinguished banker could also get a copy of a thorough investigation by the internal oversight Under Secretary General, proving that there was no impropriety in the Cotecna contract. The dates are there to prove it. If in doubt, contact Mr. Messih (the name in Arabic means "Jesus Christ").

This, of course, is mere fantasy. Check with the editors of the Wall Street Journal. Otherwise, tap William Safire on the shoulder and ask if you could have a word with him. In fact, there is no tacit understanding.