Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny," says Kofi Annan to journalist

Okay, the title of my post isn't actually correct, but it could be. How else is one supposed to understand Kofi's reaction to a legitimate journalist who keeps pressing him to come clean about his son's dishonest dealings -- all of which seemed to occur under Annan's aegis. In an article that starts with these three wonderful paragraphs, journalist James Bone details Kofi's little problem and his school yard response:

Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general and Nobel peace laureate, is normally the meekest of diplomats. He is so accommodating he once described Saddam Hussein as a man 'I can do business with.' These days he spends a good deal of time on the phone with Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Yet he seems to have a problem with me. It was with some amusement that I found myself the target of a decidedly undiplomatic tirade by the U.N. chief at a news conference last week. The usually mild Mr. Annan erupted in an ad hominem attack, calling me 'cheeky' and belittling me as an 'overgrown schoolboy.' Although I have covered the U.N. in minute detail for The Times of London since 1988, and have known Mr. Annan for almost all that time, he suggested I was not a 'serious journalist.' The cause of Mr. Annan's ire was a question I put to him about a Mercedes car that his son Kojo had imported into Ghana (and which cannot, now, be traced). The facts indicate that Kojo had bought the car in his father's name, thereby obtaining a diplomatic discount and a tax exemption totaling more than $20,000. The question about the car -- to which Mr. Annan again refused to give a satisfactory answer -- is part of the wider probe into his role in the U.N.'s Oil for Food scandal. Despite months of investigation, important questions about the integrity of public officials remain unanswered. If we are serious about U.N. reform -- as Mr. Annan claims to be -- they must be resolved.