Assume the Position
Monday, October 18, 2004
Two Plus Two Equals…?
What do you get when you take United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan's recent remarks about the 'coalition of the bribed' allegations…
Annan also dismissed suggestions that France, Russia and China had, before the recent Iraq war, been prepared to ease sanctions on Iraq in return for oil contracts.
Disputing claims made in the final report of the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group which suggested Saddam Hussein had manipulated the U.N.'s oil-for-food program in an attempt to win Security Council support for lifting sanctions, Annan said it was "inconceivable" the three countries were influenced.
"I don't think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow itself to be bought because some of his companies are getting relative contracts of the Iraqi authorities. I don't believe that at all," he said.
"It's inconceivable. These are very serious and important governments. You are not dealing with banana republics."
China is trying to stop the United Nations imposing sanctions on Sudan over the crisis in the Darfur region to protect its oil imports from the country, say western diplomats.
For the past six years Beijing has been the Sudanese government's main backer, buying 70 per cent of its exports, servicing its $20bn debt and supplying the Khartoum government with most of its weapons.
Beijing oil imports jumped 35 per cent this year and its reliance on a growing number of rogue states to meet its needs is putting it on a collision course with the United States. Sudan and Iran together supply 20 per cent of China's oil imports, and if economic sanctions were applied to either, Beijing would be unable to sustain its high growth rates.
China was identified by diplomats as the member responsible for watering down last month's Security Council resolution which threatened to halt Sudan's oil exports if it did not stop atrocities in the Darfur region, where Arab militias are terrorising African villagers.
The answer is left as an exercise for the reader, but I will give you one hint: apparently Anan's definition of "inconceivable" falls in the same category as CBS's definition of "unimpeachable."