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Statement by UNF President Timothy E. Wirth On Interim Volcker Report

Washington, DC - "What we have learned from yesterday's report from the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) is that Paul Volcker will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the problems with the Oil for Food Program. From Secretary-General Kofi Annan's response we learned that he will hold UN staff accountable and fix any and all problems Mr. Volcker identifies. The Secretary-General is using the opportunity of this independent evaluation of UN process and procedures to enact serious and wide ranging reforms. It is a testament to his dedication and determination to reform the UN that he is seizing this moment. "Not only has the Secretary-General ordered immediate initiation of disciplinary action against two UN officials named in the report as having violated the institution's rules but he has also begun to adopt recommendations that the IIC has made in its two interim reports. These include new management leadership to strengthen the capability and effectiveness of the OIOS [the UN's Inspector General's office]; the creation of an Oversight Committee to ensure action is taken when recommendations are made by the Board of Auditors and Joint Inspection Unit; and making internal audits and reports available to member states."
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10,000 Troops Proposed for Peace-Support in Sudan

"Secretary-General Kofi Annan today formally recommends that the United Nations establish a peace-support mission in southern Sudan, and calls on Member States to contribute more than 10,000 troops and 700 civilian police to the operation, warning that the civil war that has just ended there "cannot quickly or easily be dispatched to history."
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WHO: Efforts to Eradicate Polio on Track

Significant progress in the fight to eradicate polio: "The number of polio cases reported in Asia almost halved last year, meaning that efforts to eradicate the disease on the continent by the end of 2005 are on course, the World Health Organization said Friday." Learn more...
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Ten Points to Consider

21st Century Vision: "At a time when the United States is trying to forge a global coalition against terrorism and garner more international support in Iraq, the United States should be trying to fix the United Nations system, rather than destroy it. In an article in "Common Dream," Michael Pan, Senior Analyst for National Security at the Center for American Progress lists ten points about the Oil For Food programme that we should consider."
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GUEST POST: George Lopez on Interim Volcker Committee Report

"I am both surprised and encouraged by the far-reaching interim report of the Volcker Committee. Surprised in that at this stage of a complex investigation the Report provides us with such a thorough description into certain irregularities. The Report carefully documents how the failure of a few officials to follow established UN procedures combined with a weak, under-staffed auditing system to lead to the awarding of certain contracts in the Oil for Food system. I am rather encouraged, however, that in this report the Committee has not found the 'system' to be corrupt or incompetent. Rather, with a number of new reforms that the Secretary-General can put in place, member states can be assured that procurement, monitoring and other important aid procedures will proceed with integrity and transparency at the UN. George A. Lopez co-author The Sanctions Decade Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame
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UNF Statement on Oil-for-Food Report

STATEMENT BY UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION PRESIDENT TIMOTHY E. WIRTH ON THE RELEASE OF THE UNITED NATIONS OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAM REPORT WASHINGTON, D.C. - "Mr. Volcker's interim report on the Oil-For-Food Program will bring us a step closer to identifying the problems in the program and will give the UN a blueprint to fix them. The Secretary-General took responsibility to ensure the investigation is independent, thorough and public. The Secretary-General has also stated he will hold any wrong-doers fully accountable, and to fix the problems identified by Mr. Volcker as quickly as possible. And, he already has begun to make the necessary changes. As 70 Nobel Laureates recently stated, 'Kofi Annan has never failed to take a critical look at the UN to examine its weaknesses and recommended improvements.'" Read more...
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Demagogue: “Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity”

Eugene Oregon of Demagogue: "I fear that I, like many others, am getting distracted by the question over the legal determination of genocide [in Darfur] and overlooking the massive and irrefutable evidence of crimes against humanity. The report has 8 pages dedicated to chronicling evidence of rape and other forms of sexual violence, filled with case studies and testimony from victims. It is heartbreaking, yet I sense that the debate over genocide is overshadowing the report's assertion that "rape or other forms of sexual violence committed by the Janjaweed and Government soldiers in Darfur was widespread and systematic and may thus well amount to a crime against humanity."
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Mercury Rising

"Phoenix Woman" of Mercury Rising, on the new CNN report: "CNN: Bush Allowed Saddam To Smuggle Oil - As CNN notes, this makes the alleged UN Oil-for-Food Scandal look positively insignificant in comparison."