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October 17, 2004

Testimonial from the Kleptocrat General

Kofi Annan, Kleptocrat General of the United Nations, defends the countries that Saddam appears to have bribed through the Oil-for-Food Program.

Annan also dismissed any suggestion that France, Russia and China had been prepared to ease sanctions on Saddam Hussein's Iraq in return for oil contracts.

Iraq tried to manipulate foreign governments by awarding contracts - and bribes - to foreign companies and political figures in countries that showed support for ending sanctions, in particular Russia, France and China, the final report by the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group said earlier this month.

But Annan said it was "inconceivable" Saddam's activities could have influenced policy in the countries concerned.

"I don't think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow itself to be bought..." Annan said.

"I think it's inconceivable. These are very serious and important governments. You are not dealing with banana republics."

Mr. Annan knows a banana republic when he sees it. And we can be confident he also knows bribery when the U.N. is up to its neck in it.