Sunday, September 09, 2012

U.N.'s "Man In The Middle"

Kofi Annan: The man in the middle
September 9, 2012 - After years as the U.N.'s "Man In The Middle," Kofi Annan is taking a break. First as Secretary-General, and most recently as special envoy to Syria, he has wrestled with some of the world's most difficult problems. Now, in an interview in Geneva with Clarissa Ward, Kofi Annan looks back:

He is one of the most well-known players on the world stage, respected for his unwavering commitment to international diplomacy, but also fiercely criticized for failing to stop the bloodshed in Rwanda, Bosnia, and most recently in Syria.

In his new book, "Interventions," former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan attempts to shape how history will remember his 40 years at the United Nations: "Well, I hope that it will be said that, 'He made a contribution.'"


It was the 2003 war in Iraq that perhaps proved the greatest threat to the U.N.'s authority. The Security Council was pushed out of the way by the U.S. and its allies. The war commenced without the Council's permission.

"Today, despite the best efforts of the international community and the United Nations, war has come to Iraq for the third time in a quarter-century," Annan said in 2003.

Ward asked him, "Do you think that the invasion of Iraq, in some ways, almost jeopardized the very existence of the United Nations?"

"It brought very serious tensions in the organization, and tensions that took quite a while to heal," he replied. "But I think that was the finest moment of the Council, to refuse to support a war that, in my judgment, was illegal."


"When you look back at all the lessons that were learned from Rwanda, from Bosnia in the mid '90s, and yet here we are in 2012 in Syria, and it feels like we're back to square one," said Ward.

"Yeah, says something about us human beings, doesn't it?" Annan replied. "Do we ever learn? Is it in our DNA to keep fighting each other?" read more>>>

No comments: