- 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
- 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,"
- "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
- 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
- * 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