INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan took his criticism of the
Bush administration to the nation's heartland Monday, saying America must not
sacrifice its democratic ideals while waging war against terrorism.
In the hometown of President Harry
Truman, who helped found the United Nations, Annan said "human rights and the
rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity."
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi
Annan addresses the crowd as he makes his farewell address at the Truman
Library in Independence, Mo. Monday, Dec. 11, 2006. [AP]
When the US "appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends
abroad are naturally troubled and confused," Annan told a packed audience at the
Truman Presidential Museum and Library.
Annan also said the UN Security Council should be expanded to better reflect
Annan, an increasingly vocal critic of the war in Iraq, leaves the United
Nations on Dec. 31 after 10 years as secretary-general. He chose the Truman
museum for his final major speech in part because it is dedicated to a president
who was instrumental in the organization's founding.
In response to a question after his remarks, Annan said he was appealing for
cooperation and leadership, not criticizing the United States.
"What I am saying here is that when the US works with other countries in a
multilateral system, we do extremely well," Annan said.
The US has a special responsibility to the world because it continues to have
extraordinary power, he said.
In Washington, the State Department was reserved in its reaction to Annan's
"There's no secretary general of the United Nations that's going to be in
lockstep with the United States or any other country with regard to its
policies," spokesman Sean McCormack said. "It's not that person's job."
Annan said last week's report by the Iraq Study Group clarified many issues,
but he said the world first needs to find a way to get Iraqis to reconcile with
"We need to be as active on the political front as we are on the military
front," he said.
Annan said it was also important to get nearby countries, including Iran and
Syria, involved in finding a solution to regional problems.
Annan never mentioned President Bush by name in his speech but drew clear
contrasts with the Truman administration.
Truman "believed strongly that henceforth security must be collective and
indivisible. That was why, for instance, that he insisted when faced with
aggression by North Korea against the South in 1950, on bringing the issue to
the United Nations," Annan said.
"Against such threats as these, no nation can make itself secure by seeking
supremacy over all others," he added.
Annan also called for expanding the Security Council by adding members from
parts of the world with less of a voice. He said today's makeup "still reflects
the reality of 1945," when the United Nations was founded.