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USIS Washington 
File

06 January 1999

TEXT: UN SECRETARY-GENERAL'S STATEMENT OF JANUARY 6, 1999

(Annan denies he has evidence of misuse of UNSCOM)  (450)



United Nations -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement
January 6 in which he denied allegations of having evidence that UN
inspectors helped the United States collect intelligence used in
alleged American efforts to undermine the Iraqi regime.


The allegations were published in a front-page story published by The
Washington Post on January 6. (The article was headlined "Annan
Suspicious of UNSCOM Role: UN Official Believes Evidence Shows
Inspectors Helped US Eavesdrop on Iraq," by Barton Gellman, Washington
Post Staff Writer)


"We not only have no convincing evidence of these allegations; we have
no evidence of any kind," Annan's statement, attributable to his
spokesman, says. "We have only rumours. Neither the Secretary-General
nor any member of his staff has access to classified US intelligence,
although UNSCOM does."


The statement also denies allegations that the Secretary-General is
trying to pressure Richard Butler, who leads UN weapons inspections in
Iraq, to resign.


Following is the UN text:



(begin text)



STATEMENT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

RE THE WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE



All of you have seen the Washington Post story of today saying that
the Secretary-General is suspicious that UNSCOM assisted United States
intelligence efforts in Iraq.


1. Let me first remind you that the Secretary-General has no
operational oversight responsibility for the Special Commission --
that is the Security Council's job, because UNSCOM is a subsidiary
body of the Council. He therefore has little detailed information on
day-to-day operations.


2. The Secretary-General has, however, been aware for some weeks that
a number of journalists have been pursuing this story. When he first
heard of these allegations, he asked UNSCOM's Executive Chairman,
Richard Butler, about them. Ambassador Butler categorically denied
them.


3. We not only have no convincing evidence of these allegations; we
have no evidence of any kind. We have only rumours. Neither the
Secretary-General nor any member of his staff has access to classified
US intelligence, although UNSCOM does.


4. The Secretary-General therefore rejects the characterization of his
state of mind attributed to so-called "confidants", such as that he is
convinced of things, aware of facts, and so on.


5. Obviously, were these charges true, it would be damaging to the
United Nations' disarmament work in Iraq and elsewhere.


6. Finally, the Post says that the Secretary-General is trying to
pressure Richard Butler to resign. THIS IS NOT SO. In any case, the
issue is not the Executive Chairman; it is how to get on with the work
of disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.


(end text)