15 December 2004

For a senator, however influential, to believe that he could fire the U.N. Secretary General verges on the ludicrous. For the U.N. to reach that derogative point is tragically disappointing. The resignation of Kofi Annan may not have been the real purpose. The objective may have been to shake, rattle and roll; he would be placed where desired.

There is no mechanism for withdrawing confidence from the Secretary General. There is no reason -- as far as we know -- for the current Secretary General to resign on his own. His half-hearted attempt at humour during the Correspondent's dinner that he "resigned" himself to having a good time was -- quite bluntly -- out of place. He may have been under great strain or reading someone else's text. He usually has a sensitive grasp of what could be a timely quip.

Many of Kofi Annan's detractors are not supporters of the U.N. They are using him as its symbol to undercut the Organization. Many others are true believers truly disappointed at the current state of affairs. Particularly distressing is that new culture of arrogant unaccountability where a select few brazenly evade established practice at the expense of the rest.

We stand unflinchingly behind the Secretary General in facing the attempt to disgrace the Office and discredit his person. It is fervently hoped that someone with his experience and sensitivity will focus more effectively on the destructive internal divide to face external challenges. It is time for the first Secretary General to rise from the ranks to touch base with his supportive grassroots and decisively cleanse the U.N. from individuals and cases that soiled its great name. Yes the campaign to clean the U.N. is worth the effort. In leading by example, Kofi Annan will find that the U.N. staff are not his problem. They are part of his solution.