UN's Annan Fears 'Worst'
In 1999: All-Out Wars
In Iraq And Kosovo

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned on Monday of all-out wars in Iraq and Kosovo and told Baghdad to tone down its "megaphone diplomacy." "The best we can say is that in Kosovo, and in Iraq, all-out war has been avoided for the time being," he said in his introductory comments at a news conference.
"But unless people abide by their commitments, and unless they redouble their efforts to find peaceful solutions, we have every reason to fear the worst in 1999," he said.
He did not expand on Kosovo where a fragile truce prevails between Yugoslavia and leaders of the province's ethnic Albanian majority.
On Iraq, Annan distanced himself from hardline American policies in his answers to questions but also chastised Baghdad for its shrill rhetoric.
"There should be no rhetoric when we have serious and hard work to do. I don't believe in megaphone diplomacy," he said.
"I do not condone what Iraq has been saying. I just want them to get on with the job, get on with disarmament, cooperate with UNSCOM and get it done," he said in reference to the U.N. Special Commission, in charge of Iraqi disarmament.
UNSCOM is about to submit a report to the Security Council on whether Iraq has cooperated with the inspectors over the last few weeks. The council then will decide whether to conduct a "comprehensive review" of its relations with Iraq that could eventually lead to the lifting of the oil embargo.
Annan suggested that the review was worthwhile for the council, regardless of Iraqi actions, so it would "know where it stands, what has been achieved, what needs to be done."
He said one example of where Washington's policies diverged from other U.N. members' was on requirements for a lifting of sanctions against Iraq, which include oil. The Security Council resolutions linked the lifting to a clean bill of health for Baghdad on its weapons of mass destruction."
"American policy goes beyond that but I am guided only by U.N. policy," he said. "There are areas where Washington's policies diverge from that of the United Nations."
The United States has said all requirements for lifting sanctions, which include more than disarmament demands, need to be honored before any of the embargoes on exports or imports can be abolished.
Iraq has been under stringent U.N. sanctions since August 1990 after its troops invaded Kuwait.
On other issues:
* Annan was pessimistic about the idea of a U.N. peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo if an agreement to stop fighting was secured. U.N. officials have planned for a minimum of 15,000 troops, but he noted that governments would not contribute soldiers unless they were assured of payment. The United States owes the world body $1.3 billion, most of it for arrears in past peacekeeping operations.
* In Angola, Annan admitted the United Nations could not do much more to shore up the faltering peace process and that the Security Council would have to decide soon whether the world body should stay in the southwest African country.
Political negotiations with opposition UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi had been cut off by the government, making U.N. negotiations nearly impossible.
* On the Lockerbie controversy, Annan remained upbeat, saying he believed Libya was "near a decision" in surrendering the two men accused of planting a bomb on a Pan American airliner that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988, killing 270 people.