A Man, A Plan, Annan, UN

  • Share
  • Read Later

NEW YORK: Secretary-General Kofi Annan today unsheathed his bureaucratic knife, calling his long-awaited plan for reforming the bloated UN the "most extensive and far-reaching" shakeup in the body's 52-year history. But U.S. lawmakers who were hoping for a sweetheart deal from the man they installed in office must have been bitterly disappointed. Annan's plan ignored two key U.S. demands: reduction of the American share of the UN budget and crediting funds that the US pays toward peacekeeping operations against the $870 million Washington owes in back membership fees. Republican Sen. Rod Grams of Minnesota issued a statement saying the plan "represents nothing more than the status quo and that is unacceptable." But Annan, in a speech before the 185-member General Assembly, hardly sounded cowed. "These unilateral demands do not impress, they do not intimidate," he said, grasping his 95-page report for reassurance. "In fact, they offend." Annan's plan is mostly a bureaucratic reshuffle, featuring several consolidations of overlapping agencies, plus the creation of a deputy secretary-general to relieve Annan of some cumbersome administrative duties. But though the package got a hearty endorsement from U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson, the suddenly boisterous Annan may find that some members of Congress, like the mob, always want a favor in return.