UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan refused today a US demand that he repudiate
his deputy for accusing Washington of relying on the United Nations but failing
to defend it against domestic critics.
UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan (L) and his deputy Mark Malloch Brown listen are seen at the
United Nations in New York, October 27, 2005. Annan refused on Wednesday a
U.S. demand that he repudiate Brown for accusing Washington of relying on
the United Nations but failing to defend it against domestic critics.
An outraged US Ambassador John Bolton, while not demanding the resignation of
UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, called his remarks "a very very
"Even though the target of the speech was the United States, the victim, I
fear, will be the United Nations," Bolton told reporters after speaking with
Malloch Brown, a Briton named deputy secretary-general in March after serving
as Annan's chief of staff and head of the UN Development Programme, delivered on
Tuesday what he called a "sincere and constructive critique of US policy towards
the UN by a friend and admirer."
"The prevailing practice of seeking to use the UN almost by stealth as a
diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics is
simply not sustainable," Malloch Brown told a New York political conference.
"You will lose the UN one way or the other," he said.
Bolton accused Malloch Brown of employing "a condescending, patronising tone
about the American people" and said, "My hope is he looks at the potential
adverse effects that these intemperate remarks would have on the organisation
and repudiate it."
Annan, however, agrees with his deputy's views, UN chief spokesman Stephane
"The secretary-general stands by the statements made by his deputy. So there
is no question of any action to be taken against the deputy secretary-general,"
The dispute arose as the United Nations neared a June 30 deadline for
management reforms eagerly sought by Washington.
Bolton has warned of a possible budget cut-off unless adequate reforms are in
place by the end of the month.
Washington pays about a quarter of the UN budget and Bolton has repeatedly
criticised poor nations who contribute small amounts for obstructing the will of
major dues payers.
By "stealth diplomacy," Malloch Brown said he meant Washington's practice of
looking for UN support to deal with global hot spots without letting the US
heartland know, while allowing conservative UN-bashers to attack the world body
without offering any defense.
"The UN's role is in effect a secret in middle America even as it is
highlighted in the Middle East and other parts of the world," he said.
The United States is working through the United Nations in the dispute over
Iran's suspected nuclear weapons programme. But memories are still fresh in the
world body of how the United States and its allies disregarded the United
Nations in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
Malloch Brown later said he meant the speech as "pro-US," meant to appeal for
"more consistent public leadership at the United Nations." His views were not
uncommon in diplomatic circles, he said.
He was driven by the looming crisis over UN reforms, he said, fearing he
could later be accused "of not having spoken up and warned people that we face a
very difficult moment in this organisation's life."