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Kofi Annan on NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia

Kofi Annan on NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia


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On March 24, 1999, NATO began bombing Serbian military points after receiving reports of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo by Serb forces. Unable to get Yugoslav authorities to agree to a political settlement, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan ordered NATO's action. In a speech before the United Nations, Annan explains that there are times when one must use force in the pursuit of peace.


Kofi Annan on NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia - HISTORY

NATO's intervention in Kosovo aimed to reverse the Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing in the province and ensure the safe return of Kosovar Albanians. Fundamental principles of international relations - state sovereignty, non-use of force, and respect for human rights - were brought into conflict with each other, sparking off considerable public debate. The author argues that there is an urgent need for a doctrine on humanitarian intervention to be formulated, building on the emerging international norm that gives precedence to the protection of human rights over sovereignty in certain circumstances, and that NATO should take the lead on this.


Having been forced out of Kosovo by the Serbs, Kosovar Albanian refugees in the northern Albanian border town of Kukes are transported to safety further south by NATO peacekeepers on 25 May.
(AP photo - 46Kb)

During the Allied bombing campaign against strategic targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, there was a conspicuous absence of legal argumentation in defence of the NATO position from NATO itself. When a group of international law students from Stockholm University visited NATO headquarters in Brussels in April 1999, they were told that there was no consolidated NATO position, but that it was up to the governments and capitals of the participating member states to assess the international law situation and produce the justification(s) they saw fit.

From a political and legal point of view, this was not satisfactory at the time, nor is it now - when the NATO campaign has achieved its goal of establishing an international presence in Kosovo for the protection of human rights in the province. NATO as an organisation, or its members acting jointly, should - for the benefit of the international community - formulate the rationale behind this collective action, which probably will go down in history as a case of humanitarian intervention.

Any group of states that detracts from the fundamental non-use of force principle of the United Nations Charter(1), will find itself expected to explain its position legally. The question is whether NATO's action should be looked upon as illegal, or as:

  • an exceptional deviation from international law
  • an action based upon a new interpretation of the UN Charter in line with modern international law
  • an attempted shift of international law to a new position where, in humanitarian crises, the sovereignty of states has to yield to the protection of peoples.

It is in the interest of NATO (and, I submit, of the international community as a whole) that the illegality view should not prevail. In whatever way the NATO action may be explained, as deviating from the law, as conforming to the law, or as progressively developing the law, the international community has so far not received a clear answer. By producing such an answer NATO could influence the legal situation. It has already contributed in practice, but it still needs to articulate the principle behind it. "Quiet diplomacy" is an unfortunate method in this case, since it risks giving the impression that NATO itself perceives its action as illegal, and - although it successfully fought what was termed a "just war" - is not prepared to fight the intellectual battle for a more human rights-focused international order that harbours the concept of humanitarian intervention.

An emerging international norm

Most international lawyers would agree that the current law of the UN Charter does not accommodate the bombing of Yugoslavia, since the action was neither based on a Security Council decision under Chapter VII(2) of the UN Charter, nor pursued in collective self-defence under Article 51 of the Charter - the only two justifications for use of force that are currently available under international law.

Nevertheless, many of these same lawyers would also agree that there is a trend in today's international community towards a better balance between the security of states, on the one hand, and the security of people, on the other (as the Carlsson-Ramphal Commission on Global Governance(3) also recommended in its report Our Global Neighbourhood in 1995).


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, addressing the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on 7 April, expresses the "universal sense of outrage" provoked by the Yugoslav regime's repression of Kosovar Albanians.
(Belga photo - 35Kb)

Recent statements by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also support this view. Addressing the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on 7 April - in the early days of NATO's bombing campaign - and referring to the "universal sense of outrage" provoked by the repression of Kosovar Albanians by Milosevic's regime, he stated: "Emerging slowly, but I believe surely, is an international norm against the violent repression of minorities that will and must take precedence over concerns of sovereignty", and that the UN Charter should "never [be] the source of comfort or justification" for "those guilty of gross and shocking violations of human rights".

The issue of protecting human rights is growing steadily in importance. But there is a need to concretise the meaning of that protection. The main security threats in today's world are not to be found in the relations between states, but concern threats from governments towards their own citizens. International law is slowly adapting to these developments by establishing new global and regional structures for peacekeeping and peace-enforcement. The enunciation of new doctrines for the use of these structures would be helpful in the progressive development of the law.

"Uniting for Peace" resolution

The veto power of the five permanent members of the Security Council has been questioned in its present form. During the Korean War (1950-53), the then Western majority of the United Nations did not accept that the Security Council could be blocked out of action and influence by the use of the veto by the Soviet Union, at a time when peace was being threatened or broken. The so-called "Uniting for Peace" resolution, adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 1950, allowed a qualified majority of the Assembly to assume responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, whenever the Security Council was unable or unwilling to do so.

During the Kosovo crisis - when both Russia and China threatened to veto any enabling Council resolution - NATO could have appealed to the General Assembly under the "Uniting for Peace" mechanism for approval of its armed intervention. Since the Kosovo debate did not generate any North-South division (a Russian anti-NATO proposal was rejected in the Security Council on 26 March 1999 by, among others, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Gabon, Gambia and Malaysia), a qualified majority supporting and legitimising NATO action might well have been possible.

Law is often referred to as "a process", and international law as "a world social process" that encompasses concrete state practice, other governmental positions, group expectations, and value demands from different participants in the world community, including intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) and non-governmental (NGOs). The outcome of this process is influenced by the authority and persuasive arguments of the participants. Upcoming sessions of the UN General Assembly and other international fora will provide states with the opportunity to either accept or reject attempts to legitimise or criticise the Kosovo intervention. In the interest of the progressive development of international law, NATO and/or its member states should take part in this process by enunciating a doctrine on humanitarian intervention, in an objective attempt to make sense of the past for the benefit of the future.

A precedent for intervention


UN Security Council members approve the peace plan for Kosovo on 10 June, with only China abstaining.
(Reuters photo - 61Kb)

NATO officials may so far have been reluctant to consider NATO as a regional organisation under Chapter VIII(4) of the UN Charter, out of concern that such a categorisation would imply additional obligations in the UN context. This concern is unfounded. Chapter VIII codifies the legitimacy and usefulness of regional security organisations and arrangements, but imposes no obligations other than those that already lie upon states under the UN Charter (inter alia, under Chapter VII). NATO, as an organisation for collective self-defence, should accept itself as a regional security organisation in the collective security sense of Chapter VIII, which could be used as a platform to define its Kosovo action as a case of humanitarian intervention.

In this way, though not authorised by the Security Council as required by Article 53 of Chapter VIII, the Kosovo action could be described as a precedent for collective (not unilateral) humanitarian intervention conducted by a regional organisation after a process of collective decision-making. This precedent could also be characterised as one of non-passivity in humanitarian crises - a reflection of the need for international law to be related to international morality. A population in immediate danger of genocide should not be left alone to face its fate.

The General Assembly "Friendly Relations Declaration" (1970) reaffirmed "a duty to cooperate" as part of the Charter system. A modern interpretation of this principle should oblige states to do their utmost - including armed action, as a last resort - to avert a humanitarian crisis. A "duty" to intervene with armed force in such crises ("un devoir d´ingérence", as French Foreign Minister Dumas argued in relation to the Iraqi Kurds in 1991) is hardly conceivable. But a "duty to act", even in situations when the Security Council is veto-blocked, should make itself felt in the international community. An option for regional organisations to intervene when there is the political will and military capacity to do so, should be part of modern international law. Whenever necessary, the "Uniting for Peace" precedent should be used to put the matter before the General Assembly to mobilise UN approval outside the Security Council framework.

Setting strict conditions for intervention

As a number of legal scholars(5) have made clear, strict conditions for any forcible intervention in the absence of Security Council authorisation need to be set out in an emerging doctrine on the subject. The following requirements should be included:

  • it has to be a case of gross human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity
  • all available peaceful settlement procedures must have been exhausted
    u the Security Council must be unable or unwilling to stop the crimes against humanity
  • the government of the state where the atrocities take place must be unable or unwilling to rectify the situation
  • the decision to take military action could be made by a regional organisation covered by Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, using the "Uniting for Peace" precedent to seek approval by the General Assembly as soon as possible or the decision could be taken directly by a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly in accordance with the "Uniting for Peace" procedure
  • the use of force must be proportional to the humanitarian issue at hand and in accordance with international humanitarian law of armed conflict
  • the purpose of the humanitarian intervention must be strictly limited to ending the atrocities and building a new order of security for people in the country in question.

NATO members should take the lead

There is a ground-swell of opinion in the international community in favour of intervention in cases of gross and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Such acts cannot go unchallenged 50 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

The formulation of a doctrine on humanitarian intervention would be the desirable legal outcome of the Kosovo crisis and would represent a huge step forward in the international order. NATO countries should take the lead in this worthy endeavour by setting out the issues involved and bringing them to the appropriate international fora.


NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson has finally provided limited details of the Alliance's use of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition during its war against Serbia last year. Robertson disclosed the information in a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last month—four months after it was first requested.

DU is a waste product of the process used to enrich natural uranium ore for use in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. It is 1.7 times as dense as lead and is used in the tips of a bullet or a round to pierce armour plating. It can also be used in cruise missile nose cones and has been used in the armour of tanks. DU breaks into tiny particles on impact, which can be easily ingested and/or inhaled. Numerous studies have linked DU ammunition to the increase of cancer in Iraq, following the 1991 Gulf War, and to the number of army personnel in the US and the UK suffering from "Gulf War Syndrome".

Annan had requested detailed information on NATO's use of DU during its 78-day bombardment of Yugoslavia, following a UN investigation by the Balkan Task Force (BTF). The results of the BTF investigation—which included members from the World Health Organisation, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Swedish Radiation Protection Institute—were reported last October. Investigators concentrated on four environmental "hot-spots" in Kosovo—Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad and Bor—but complained that the lack of official confirmation from NATO of its use of DU "during the Kosovo conflict distorted the prerequisites for the group's work". The report concluded that whilst the Kosovo conflict did not cause an environmental catastrophe for the whole of the Balkan region, pollution at the four spots investigated was "serious and poses a threat to human health". It urged an investigation into the impact of DU ammunition on human health.

Robertson wrote that the United States Air Force A-10 "tankbuster" aircraft had concentrated their operations "in an area west of the Pec-Dakovica-Prizren highway, in the area surrounding Klina, in the area around Prizren, and in an area to the north of a line joining Suva Reka and Urosevac”. He added, "However, many missions using DU also took place outside these areas.”

The UN Environmental Programme (UNep) complained that "the information provided [by Robertson] is not of sufficient detail to facilitate an accurate field assessment of the environmental and human health consequences of its use at the present time". This meant it was not possible "to comprehensively carry out an objective and scientifically based environmental and human health impact assessment in Kosovo".

Whilst claiming that Robertson's admission "should not be a cause of widespread alarm", UNep urged that its October 1999 recommendations should be followed—including preventing access to all places where contamination has been confirmed, informing the local populace of the possible risks and taking "appropriate precautionary measures".

The lack of detailed information in Robertson's letter is not surprising. NATO pursued a strategy of "carpet-bombing" towns and cities across Yugoslavia during its offensive. Some 700 planes flew almost 35,000 sorties, destroying large parts of the country's industrial and social infrastructure. During the latter stages of the air campaign, NATO moved to 24-hour bombing, targeting industrial plants, airports, electricity and telecommunications facilities, railways, bridges and fuel depots, schools, health clinics, day care centres, government buildings, churches, museums and monasteries.

A comprehensive list of those areas targeted with DU ammunition would probably mean declaring much of Serbia and Kosovo contaminated, as well as raising serious concerns over the environmental and health dangers for surrounding countries.

It is unlikely that a detailed breakdown will be forthcoming. Following Robertson's admission, Francois LeBlevenac, a NATO spokesman, said that the alliance had "no direct control" over the use of DU ammunition during the war. Whilst NATO had overall control of the campaign against Serbia, "it had no jurisdiction over the choice of armaments used by member nations," LeBlevenac said.

Both the US and the UK were known to have used DU ammunition during the war. Whilst both have denied that the weapons posed any significant risk to human health, numerous studies have revealed significant dangers. The US Army's Environmental Policy Institute reported in 1995: "If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with DU are both chemical and radiological."

UK Ministry of Defence personnel in Kosovo have been warned to stay clear of any sites targeted with DU munitions, unless they are wearing full radioactive protective clothing. The National Radiological Protection Board advises UK nationals visiting or working in Kosovo to avoid disturbing areas contaminated with DU. Last April, radiation physicists at the University of Maryland submitted evidence to the US Department of Energy, recommending that DU never be used in warfare because of the health hazards. Last week German KFOR troops designated an area of approximately 5,000 square metres in Kosovo-Metohija as radioactive, leading the Defence Ministry to promise it would conduct health checks on all its personnel in the vicinity.

The consequences of DU munitions have been most clearly revealed in Iraq. The US fired almost 944,000 rounds of DU ammunition in Iraq and Kuwait during the 1991 war. Congenital birth defects in Iraq are reported to have increased to three times their post-war levels and there has been a dramatic increase in cancers and childhood leukaemia. Last year, British experimental biologist Roger Cohill warned that the use of DU weapons against Yugoslavia was likely to result in an additional 10,000 fatal cancer cases in the region.

As in Iraq, NATO sanctions against Serbia are undermining the medical profession's ability to detect and treat the disease. At a public meeting convened in London on March 24 to commemorate the first anniversary of the NATO bombing, Labour MP's Alice Mahon and Bob Marshall-Andrews reported on their recent visit to Yugoslavia as part of a campaign to lift western sanctions.

The two reported that they had spoken with refugees from Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia and met patients at the Bazanijska Kosa hospital in Belgrade. Cancer experts at the hospital had informed them that sanctions were seriously undermining cancer prevention and the quality of care. Radiotherapy equipment often does not have all the required parts and chemotherapy drugs are unavailable. Already this has meant that the number of early-detected cancer cases has dropped from 35 percent in 1990 to 13 percent. Doctors told them that, in comparison to the rest of Europe, Serbia is now bottom of the league table for five-year survival rates for lung, breast, colon, rectum, prostate, testicular, ovarian, stomach and cervical cancers.


United Nations Security Council Resolution 1239

United Nations Security Council resolution 1239, adopted on 14 May 1999, after recalling resolutions 1160 (1998), 1199 (1998) and 1203 (1998), the Council called for access for the United Nations and other humanitarian personnel operating in Kosovo to other parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). [1]

  • China
  • France
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Argentina
  • Bahrain
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Malaysia
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • Slovenia

The Security Council recalled the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international agreements and conventions on human rights, the Conventions and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and other instruments of international humanitarian law. It expressed concern at the humanitarian catastrophe occurring in and around Kosovo as a result of the continuing crisis. Furthermore, there was concern for the influx of Kosovan refugees into Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries. In this regard it noted the intention of the Secretary-General Kofi Annan to send a mission to Kosovo to assess humanitarian needs.

The resolution commended efforts already undertaken by Member States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian relief organisations. They were asked to extend assistance to the internally displaced persons in Kosovo, Montenegro and other parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Security Council called for access for United Nations and all humanitarian personnel operating in Kosovo and other parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, reaffirming the right of refugees to return home safely. It emphasised that, without a political solution, the humanitarian solution would continue to deteriorate consistent with principles adopted by the G8. [2]

Resolution 1239 was adopted by 13 votes to none against and two abstentions from China and Russia, which argued that the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, without authorisation of the Security Council, had contributed towards the crisis and regretted that this was not mentioned in the resolution. [1]


UN head voices deep rage

The UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, said yesterday he was 'profoundly outraged' by what he described in a statement as 'a vicious and systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing in flagrant violation of established humanitarian law'.

The UN was doing 'everything possible to alleviate the suffering', the secretary-general said in New York. Mr Annan called for all Kosovo's neighbours to keep their borders open and appealed to the international community to provide financial, material and logistical support.

'Once again, a civilian population is being made to pay the price for an unresolved political dispute. Civilian populations must never come under indiscriminate and deliberate attack,' Mr Annan said.

The UN refugee agency is heading international relief efforts to cope with up to 150,000 Kosovan refugees in Albania, and large numbers in Macedonia and Montenegro.

The focus on humanitarian issues in Mr Annan's statement only the second on Kosovo that he has made since the Nato bombing campaign against Yugoslavia began a week ago underlines an inescapable and humiliating fact. While its refugee and food agencies play the frontline role in coping with the human effects of the Kosovo tragedy, the UN itself has been sidelined by Nato from the politics of the continuing conflict in the Balkans.

When Nato began to bomb Serbia on March 24, Mr Annan issued a statement acknowledging 'that there are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace'. But his statement also contained an indignant rebuke to the Nato powers, by implication principally the United States, for bypassing the UN.

Mr Annan said he had many times pointed out that the UN charter assigns primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security to the UN security council. This was 'explicitly acknowledged' in the North Atlantic treaty.

'The council should be involved in any decision to resort to force,' Mr Annan's statement concluded.

Nato's view, as expressed in a speech to the security council by Britain's UN ambassador, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, on March 24, is that the action against Yugoslavia is justified as 'an exceptional measure to prevent an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe'.

Nato powers cite Yugoslavia's breach of UN security council resolutions as part of their justification of their military actions. However critics charge that in the weeks leading up to the Nato bombing and, even more, in the days that have followed the start of hostilities, the Nato powers made no attempt to bring the dispute before the security council.

Mr Annan 'does not see an opening' at present for him to play a role in negotiating an end to the dispute, his spokesman, Fred Eckhart, said in New York yesterday.

However, Mr Annan continues to feel that Nato should seek security council approval for military action. 'That's his reading, and most people's reading, of the UN Charter,' Mr Eckhart said.

The reason for Nato's reluctance to do so was to avoid giving Russia and China, the two permanent members of the council who oppose Nato action, any opportunity to use their veto and other influences to stay Nato's in effect Washington's hand.

A source at the British mission to the UN in New York said that Nato actions in Kosovo were justified on legal and humanitarian grounds, but added that 'there are political realities'.


NATO Planes Hit Chinese Embassy in Belgrade 2 Die

NATO warplanes pounded Belgrade early today, hitting the Chinese Embassy, setting it ablaze and killing two. The attack, hours after allied cluster bombs killed 15 civilians in the city of Nis, angered Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s government as it was signaling a willingness to discuss a peace plan for Kosovo province.

A report from a Chinese correspondent on the scene said the multistory embassy had been hit with three missiles from different angles, one that plunged down from the fifth floor of the embassy to the first floor. Another missile hit the side of the building on the fourth floor.

The New China News Agency said two people were killed, including one of the news service’s correspondents, and said more than 20 people were injured. Two people were missing.

As firetrucks converged on the smoking building, witnesses saw dazed employees running into the street and an unconscious person being removed on a stretcher. Two gaping holes were visible in the embassy building, and a 6-foot-deep crater was blown out at one corner.

The bombing was part of the heaviest NATO assault on the Yugoslav capital in four nights. Lights went out across the city of 2 million people shortly after 9 p.m. Friday, apparently after NATO sabotaged a power station for the second time this week.

After news of the bombing hit, the U.S., British, French and Russian ambassadors scurried to answer China’s angry call for an emergency session of the Security Council, which met into the early hours of today.

The attack could jeopardize the search for peace in Yugoslavia. China, a vocal opponent of the NATO bombing campaign since it began March 24, is a permanent member of the Security Council. Its support is necessary if the United States, Russia and other members of the Group of 8 industrialized nations are to gain U.N. approval for a plan they drafted Thursday to end the conflict in Yugoslavia.

In Beijing, the bombing topped the national noon newscast, with a statement read out expressing the Chinese government’s “utmost indignation” of “the barbarian act.” Beijing called it “a brutal violation of China’s sovereignty” that contravened international convention and law. The statement strongly condemned NATO’s action and said Beijing “reserved the right to take further action.”

China’s embassy is in New Belgrade near studios of the pro-government BK Television, a more obvious NATO target, which was also damaged in the attack and knocked off the air.

NATO officials said today that their warplanes did not target the Chinese Embassy. But they did acknowledge a daylight cluster bomb attack on Nis, where explosions ripped through a crowded outdoor market and a hospital complex.

Residents in Nis said bombs burst overhead and scattered scores of beer-can-size “bomblets” that floated to Earth on tiny white parachutes and exploded on impact, spraying fire and deadly metal fragments into homes, outdoor market stalls, cafes, cars and two hospital buildings. More than 30 people were seriously wounded, doctors said.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was “shocked and distressed” by the bombings in Belgrade and Nis, a spokesman said, and called for “an urgent political solution” in Kosovo.

NATO is demanding political autonomy and security for the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo, a province of Yugoslavia’s dominant republic, Serbia. Yugoslav forces have driven hundreds of thousands of Albanians from their homes before and since the bombing started.

On Friday, Yugoslavia’s state-run Tanjug news agency said Milosevic would consider--and might eventually accept--the plan outlined in principle by Russia and Western powers. The plan calls for an international peacekeeping force in Kosovo and a withdrawal of at least some Yugoslav troops.

But Tanjug repeated the government’s insistence that NATO first stop the bombing, and the government’s rhetoric turned angry after the bombings in Belgrade and Nis.

“Is it possible that something like this was done only a day after we came closer to a peace agreement?” asked Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Milovan Bojic, standing in front of the damaged hospital in Nis.

Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic called the embassy bombing “unbelievable.”

“Now I would like to see how NATO will justify this,” said Goran Matic, a government minister without portfolio. “It’s time to end this madness. Everybody has to sit and talk.”

In other developments Friday:

* The Clinton administration said its chief Russia strategist, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, would visit Moscow next week to attempt to hammer out the details of Thursday’s initiative. Officials said Russia and the West are still far apart, despite dramatic progress made during the talks in Bonn.

* The U.N.'s Annan named Sweden’s former prime minister, Carl Bildt, as one of two special envoys to help him search for a political solution to the crisis, diplomats said. The other envoy is Eduard Kukan, Slovakia’s foreign minister.

* The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees warned that it was running out of cash to handle the exodus of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. An estimated $12 million that was available earlier this week was used to pay off bills. The agency estimates that it needs $40 million more for May alone.

* The U.N. Security Council put off a vote on a resolution condemning the plight of Kosovo refugees because of discord among permanent members, including the United States and Russia.

* In Kukes, Albania, thousands of refugees convened in the main square Friday night for a rousing peace concert aimed at raising the spirits of those displaced from Kosovo.

* Under a 1994 agreement on European confidence and security-building measures, Russia asked to inspect the 16,000-troop contingent NATO is massing in Macedonia, just south of Kosovo.

U.S. officials cautioned that the Group of 8’s outline of a peace plan was only the beginning of a proposal that would go to Milosevic.

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said NATO and Russia still disagree on the composition of an international peacekeeping force, as well as on other significant details. Settling those disputes, Rubin said, “is going to be a difficult process.”

Nevertheless, he said the United States and its allies “are now operating on two tracks"--diplomatic as well as military--in looking for a common strategy for ending the conflict.

President Clinton told reporters that he envisions a NATO-led force like the one that has been keeping peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina since a 3 1/2-year war ended in that nation in 1995.

“I think it will work best if we have a system like we had in Bosnia, where there was U.N. approval, NATO was at the core of the force, but there was Russian participation, there was Ukrainian participation, there was participation from a lot of other countries,” Clinton said.

The remark prompted a flurry of speculation that Clinton was advocating an ethnic partition of Kosovo, similar to the partitioning of Bosnia. But administration officials insisted that NATO does not foresee any sort of partition in Kosovo.

U.S. officials said that NATO, like Russia, wants Milosevic to approve any deployment of peacekeeping troops. They said the bombing will continue in an effort to force that approval.

Milosevic “has only two choices--either to reverse course or to face an intensifying, punishing military campaign,” Rubin said.

NATO officials say the bombing assault is to intensify, with 176 more aircraft, including strike planes and tankers, set to join the operations soon.

“We will be in an even better position with these extra assets to operate seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” alliance spokesman Jamie Shea said. “It has never been so true that NATO never sleeps.

Already the number of daylight attacks is increasing--like the one Friday on Nis, a city of 250,000 people--but so is the number of wayward bombs.

Planes roared over the city, 140 miles south of Belgrade, about 11:50 a.m., 10 minutes after wailing sirens sounded an air raid alert, residents said.

Reporters escorted to the city by police found human carnage up and down the block of Aneta Andrejevic Street that abuts the city’s Central Market.

“It would be better if I had died than to see all this,” said Smilja Djuric, 73, as she emerged from her basement, stunned and quivering, to find three bodies near her doorstep amid burned-out cars, fallen tree branches and shattered glass.

One corpse was that of an elderly man who appeared to have been selling cardboard egg cartons that were stored flat in a box at his feet. He lay as stiff as a mannequin on his back, his mouth open in a dying gasp. Blood was caked between his eyes.

Nine dead were found near the market and three others on a residential street behind the hospital, about two miles away, doctors said. Three others died after being rushed to the hospital’s emergency room.

NATO acknowledged aiming cluster bombs, which are used to pierce tank armor and aircraft, at Nis’ military airport. NATO said it was “highly probable” that one cluster bomb hit a residential neighborhood. The airport is more than half a mile from the market or the hospital, but the hospital is a few hundred yards from an army barracks.

“There was a big explosion and after that a lot of smaller explosions that sounded like machine-gun fire,” said Cedo Kutlesic, general manager of the hospital, the largest in southern Serbia. One employee there said he heard about 50 small explosions.

“Those who fly those planes, I’m not sure they are human maybe they’re some kind of aliens,” Serbian Health Minister Lebosava Milicevic told reporters at the hospital. “To fly a plane in my country, you need a doctor’s certificate saying you’re normal. I can’t believe those pilots have such a document.”

The smell of gunpowder hung in the air around the hospital and the Central Market. Police warned residents to beware of about 50 unexploded “bomblets” that remained on the streets, and reporters counted half a dozen of the yellow canisters--clearly marked BLU-97, indicating they are part of CBU-87 cluster bombs.

Two heavier bombs fell on a village-like suburb of Medosevac, about 500 yards from Nis’ military airport, at 2:50 a.m. and 4:15 a.m., leaving an 8-foot-deep crater in a dirt road and destroying about 15 houses. Four people were wounded.

“This is not war, it’s a crime,” said Zoran Avramovic, 56, who survived the bombing in his basement, then dug himself, his wife and 77-year-old mother out from the ruins of his flattened house with a shovel. “War is fighting face to face. Let NATO come here and take us on.”

Stung by news of the civilian casualties in Nis, the Pentagon offered a new catalog of Yugoslav army atrocities.

“Our policy is to avoid civilian casualties,” Pentagon spokesman Kenneth H. Bacon said. “We know that we make mistakes from time to time. But Milosevic’s policy is to [inflict] civilian casualties.”

Bacon said 100,000 military-age Albanian men are “missing.” The figure was obtained by estimating the number of men that would have been expected to be among the refugees in neighboring countries if the refugee population had the same demographic profile as the prewar population.

Boudreaux reported from Belgrade and Dahlburg from Brussels. Times staff writers Norman Kempster in Washington Janet Wilson at the United Nations Alissa Rubin in Brussels Richard C. Paddock in Moscow Marc Lacey in Kukes David Holley in Podgorica, Montenegro and Henry Chu in Beijing contributed to this report.


Kofi Annan on NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia - HISTORY

Nato bombs hit hospital

Cluster bombs hit a residential area of Nis

Nato has confirmed that one of its cluster bombs aimed at an airfield target in the Yugoslav city of Nis may have mistakenly hit a civilian area.

Fifteen people died after the daylight Nato strike, which hit a hospital and market place.

"This morning [Friday] Nato aircraft carried out an attack against Nis airfield using combined effects munitions [cluster bombs]. Unfortunately, it is highly probable that a weapon went astray and hit civilian buildings," a Nato military statement said.

Serb media and witnesses described the attacks on Nis - Yugoslavia's third city - as the heaviest of the campaign.

On Friday night, air raid sirens sounded again in Belgrade, and a BBC correspondent in the city confirmed that an attack was taking place - the first on the capital for several days.

The Western alliance has been pressing ahead with its bombing campaign, as negotiations with Russia for a Kosovo settlement continue.

John Simpson: "The streets were full of shoppers when a bomb hit the market-place"
BBC Correspondent Mike Williams, who visited Nis, says 15 people were killed after bombs hit two areas of the city about 11am. on Friday.

Local officials say 60 have been injured.

Our correspondent says he saw bodies lying in the market place and in a residential street near a hospital, with unexploded cluster bombs lying in the gardens of people's homes.

The daylight attack hit crowded streets, as people were no longer in the bomb shelters where they had spent the night.

John Simpson: "The streets were full of shoppers when a bomb hit the market-place"
Nato says it had not targeted a civilian hospital, but is investigating the incident.

The airport outside Nis was hit during Thursday night's bombing.

Other targets on the 44th night of Nato's air offensive included a bridge on the main railway line from Belgrade to Bucharest, and targets in the second city, Novi Sad.

(Click here to see a map of last night's Nato strikes)

The strikes came as the United States announced it was sending a new wave of aircraft to join the campaign against Yugoslavia.

Defence Secretary William Cohen ordered the deployment of another 176 planes to Europe, bringing to more than 800 the number of US aircraft available for use by Nato.

The US House of Representatives approved more than $13bn in extra funds for the Yugoslav campaign, twice the amount requested by President Clinton last month. The Senate has yet to vote on the spending commitment.

The draft peace plan will provide for Kosovo refugees to return home
The Kosovo Liberation Army has rejected the draft peace plan agreed by Russia and the world's leading industrial countries on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Kosovo Albanian guerrilla force said several points in the agreement were "completely unacceptable".

He warned it was inconceivable that the KLA would agree to disarm after the events of the last few months.

The spokesman said the Balkans would be under threat as long as Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic remained in power.

He also said that moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova had no mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Kosovo Albanians.

Yugoslavia has not yet formally responded to the peace plan.

Belgrade's ambassador to the UN, Vladislav Jovanovic, said his country was still opposed to a foreign military presence.

The official Yugoslav news agency, Tanjug, said it was important that the UN Security Council adopt a resolution on a peaceful solution soon, but repeated that a key condition was an end to the Nato bombardment.

In another development, Yugoslavia has agreed to allow a team of UN humanitarian officials to visit Kosovo, after a request from the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.

The UN said an advance team of officials would leave for Belgrade in the next few days.


Further moves towards peace were held up when two delegates failed to attend a meeting in Bonn which had been intended to resolve details of a draft peace plan.

Nato and Russia agreed the plan on Thursday, but correspondents say big differences remain over the terms of the settlement.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said he was disappointed that Nato had not agreed to halt its bombardment of Yugoslavia.


Russia Floats Flagrant Falsehoods on the Anniversary of NATO’s Kosovo Air Campaign

“#OTD in 1999 #NATO started its military aggression against #Yugoslavia. During the barbaric bombings over 2000 peaceful civilians, incl children, lost their lives. That @NATO aggression became the first armed offense against a sovereign state in Europe since the end of #WWII.”

On March 24, 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) launched Operation Allied Force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) during the Kosovo War.

NATO said the large-scale air campaign was intended to halt Serbian forces’ ethnic cleansing against ethnic Albanian Muslims in Kosovo. The bombing came to an end on June 10, 1999, after FRY President Slobodan Milosevic agreed to withdraw troops from Kosovo and allow in peacekeepers.

Kosovo Albanian refugees were allowed to return home, and Kosovo was given self-rule, paving the way for full independence. Milosevic died in 2006 while standing trial for war crimes in The Hague.

This week, Russia, which has always condemned the NATO airstrikes in the FRY as illegal, issued a statement via its U.K. embassy on the 22nd anniversary of the NATO campaign.

“#OTD in 1999 #NATO started its military aggression against #Yugoslavia. During the barbaric bombings over 2000 peaceful civilians, incl children, lost their lives. That @NATO aggression became the first armed offence against a sovereign state in Europe since the end of #WWII,” the embassy tweeted.

Many aspects of this statement are false or lacking context.

Although there might be some debate over what constitutes a “sovereign" state, the Soviet Union launched several military offensives in Europe, outside the Soviet Union’s borders, prior to Operation Allied Force.

The targeted countries were members of the Warsaw Pact, a collective defense treaty established by the Soviet Union in 1955.

For example, in June 1953, the Soviet Union deployed an entire armored division, which includes tanks, to crush a workers’ uprising in East Germany. Three years later, on November 4, 1956, the Soviets launched "Operation Whirlwind” to stamp out a revolution in Hungary.

Employing heavy air strikes, artillery fire and tank-infantry attacks, an estimated 2,500 Hungarians died and 200,000 more became refugees in that assault. Hungary’s Prime Minister Imre Nagy was arrested, tried in secret, and executed.

On August 20, 1968, Soviet military forces, along with those of Warsaw Pact members Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary, invaded Czechoslovakia to crush attempts at liberalization known as the Prague Spring.

An estimated 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks were dispatched in what was called “the largest deployment of military force in Europe since the end of World War II.”

In 1974, Turkish forces invaded Cyprus, which had gained its independence from Britain in 1960 and later became the 99th member of the United Nations.

Russia’s description of the 1999 bombing campaign as “military aggression” does have weight. NATO did not have United National Security Council backing to launch the campaign. Nor had Yugoslavia attacked a NATO member, allowing collective self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. charter.

However, repeated attempts to force Milosevic to end attacks on Kosovar Albanians through diplomacy and targeted sanctions had no effect.

An estimated 250,000 Kosovar Albanians were driven from their homes by the autumn of 1998, and, with a humanitarian catastrophe looming, events like the January 1999 Racak massacre contributed to the decision to use military force.

Some analysts argue that NATO’s actions in Kosovo should be viewed in the context of “the largest act of mass killing in Europe” – the Bosnian genocide that Serbia and ethnic Bosnian Serbs had carried out a few years earlier.

Milosevic was accused of directly supporting Serb paramilitaries and directing Serb forces during those ethnic cleansing campaigns in Bosnia.

The day the NATO bombing campaign in the Kosovo War started, then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan characterized military action as a regrettable but necessary last resort:

“Throughout last year, I have appealed on many occasions to the Yugoslav authorities and to the Kosovar Albanians to seek peace over war, compromise over conflict. I deeply regret that in spite of all the efforts made by the international community, the Yugoslav authorities have persisted in their rejection of a political settlement which would have halted the bloodshed in Kosovo and secured an equitable peace for the population.

“It is indeed tragic that diplomacy has failed, but there are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace.”

Still, the legality of NATO’s bombing campaign in Kosovo remains murky.

In December 2014, the International Court of Justice dismissed on jurisdictional grounds complaints filed by Serbia and Montenegro, which constituted the FRY, against 10 NATO members for the bombing of Kosovo. The FRY, which was established in April 1992, was not recognized as the official successor to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. When asked to apply for U.N. membership, the FRY refused. Consequently, the FRY was not a member of the U.N., and had no standing before the top U.N. court.

Still, NATO was criticized for several of their bombing targets. Amnesty International called the NATO bombing of the Radio Television of Serbia headquarters, which killed 16 civilians, a war crime.

NATO rejected that charge. A report by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said that “the attack appears to have been justified by NATO as part of a more general attack aimed at disrupting the FRY Command, Control and Communications network, the nerve center and apparatus that keeps Milosevic in power.”

The ICTY further stated that “the civilian casualties were unfortunately high but do not appear to be clearly disproportionate.”

More broadly, a NATO report issued one year after the campaign listed its goals and challenges:

“The bulk of NATO’s effort against tactical targets was aimed at military facilities , fielded forces, heavy weapons, and military vehicles and formations in Kosovo and southern Serbia. Many of these targets were highly mobile and hard to locate, especially during the poor weather of the early phase of the campaign. Strikes were also complicated by the cynical Serb use of civilian homes and buildings to hide weapons and vehicles, the intermixing of military vehicles with civilian convoys and, sometimes, the use of human shields.”

The available data appears to confirm that NATO mainly targeted FRY military, not civilians.

During the 78-day air campaign, NATO aircraft flew 38,400 sorties, including 10,484 strike sorties, in which 23,614 air munitions were dropped. An extensive fact-finding mission by Human Rights Watch (HRW) concluded “that as few as 489 and as many as 528 Yugoslav civilians were killed.” HRW noted that 62% to 66% of the total civilian deaths occurred in twelve incidents.

Based on that bombing-to-civilian-casualty ratio, the ICTY determined: “These figures do not indicate that NATO may have conducted a campaign aimed at causing substantial civilian casualties either directly or incidentally.”

The U.N. tribunal also noted an FRY Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ publication, “NATO Crimes in Yugoslavia,” which included an estimate of “495 civilians killed and 820 civilians wounded in specific documented instances.”

Russia’s U.K. embassy did not explain how it arrived at the figure of 2,000 deaths caused by the NATO bombing campaign.

By contrast, the Kosovo Memory Book database, which documents deaths from 1998–2000, puts the overall number of war victims at 13,535. It said that “10,317 civilians lost their lives or went missing in connection with the war, of whom 8,676 were Albanians.”

In terms of civilian deaths, another 1,196 Serbs, and 445 Roma and other civilians lost their lives.

According to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, an NGO, the Kosovo Memory Book database “documents all or nearly all the human losses” during the conflict.

NATO was also criticized for its use of cluster munitions and depleted uranium projectiles during the Kosovo War. However, in both cases, the U.N.’s ICTY concluded that, based on the available evidence, the tribunal's Office of the Prosecutor “should not commence an investigation into their use.”

The ICTY did not address the legality of NATO’s decision to use force in Kosovo.


Contents

Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) on 8 April 1938. His twin sister Efua Atta, who died in 1991, shared the middle name Atta, which in the Akan language means 'twin'. [11] Annan and his sister were born into one of the country's Fante aristocratic families both of their grandfathers and their uncle were Fante paramount chiefs. [12]

In the Akan names tradition, some children are named according to the day of the week on which they were born, sometimes in relation to how many children precede them. Kofi in Akan is the name that corresponds with Friday, the day of which Annan was born. [13] Annan said that his surname rhymes with "cannon" in English. [14] the last name Annan in Fante means fourth born child.

From 1954 to 1957, Annan attended the elite Mfantsipim, an all-boys Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast founded in the 1870s. Annan said that the school taught him that "suffering anywhere, concerns people everywhere". [15] In 1957, the year Annan graduated from Mfantsipim, the Gold Coast gained independence from the UK and began using the name "Ghana".

In 1958, Annan began studying economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana. He received a Ford Foundation grant, enabling him to complete his undergraduate studies in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, in 1961. Annan then completed a diplôme d'études approfondies DEA degree in International Relations at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1961 to 1962. After some years of work experience, he studied at the MIT Sloan School of Management [16] (1971–72) in the Sloan Fellows program and earned a master's degree in management.

Annan was fluent in English, French, Akan, and some Kru languages as well as other African languages. [17]

In 1962, Kofi Annan started working as a budget officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations (UN). [18] From 1974 to 1976, he worked as a manager of the state-owned Ghana Tourist Development Company in Accra. [19] In 1980 he became the head of personnel for the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. Between 1981 and 1983 he was a member of the Governing Board of the International School of Geneva. [20] In 1983 he became the director of administrative management services of the UN Secretariat in New York. In 1987, Annan was appointed as an Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for the UN system. In 1990, he became Assistant Secretary-General for Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Control. [19]

When Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali established the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in 1992, Annan was appointed to the new department as Deputy to then Under-Secretary-General Marrack Goulding. [21] Annan was subsequently appointed in March 1993 as Under-Secretary-General of that department. [22] On 29 August 1995, while Boutros-Ghali was unreachable on an airplane, Annan instructed United Nations officials to "relinquish for a limited period of time their authority to veto air strikes in Bosnia." This move allowed NATO forces to conduct Operation Deliberate Force and made him a favorite of the United States. According to Richard Holbrooke, Annan's "gutsy performance" convinced the United States that he would be a good replacement for Boutros-Ghali. [23]

He was appointed a Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia, serving from November 1995 to March 1996. [24] [25]

Criticism Edit

In 2003, retired Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, who was force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, claimed that Annan was overly passive in his response to the imminent genocide. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (2003), Dallaire asserted that Annan held back UN troops from intervening to settle the conflict, and from providing more logistical and material support. Dallaire claimed that Annan failed to provide responses to his repeated faxes asking for access to a weapons depository such weapons could have helped Dallaire defend the endangered Tutsis. In 2004, ten years after the genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed, Annan said, "I could and should have done more to sound the alarm and rally support." [26]

In his book Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, Annan again argued that the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations could have made better use of the media to raise awareness of the violence in Rwanda and put pressure on governments to provide the troops necessary for an intervention. Annan explained that the events in Somalia and the collapse of the UNOSOM II mission fostered a hesitation among UN Member states to approve robust peacekeeping operations. As a result, when the UNAMIR mission was approved just days after the battle, the resulting force lacked the troop levels, resources and mandate to operate effectively. [27]

Appointment Edit

In 1996, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali ran unopposed for a second term. Although he won 14 of the 15 votes on the Security Council, he was vetoed by the United States. [28] After four deadlocked meetings of the Security Council, Boutros-Ghali suspended his candidacy, becoming the only Secretary-General ever to be denied a second term. Annan was the leading candidate to replace him, beating Amara Essy by one vote in the first round. However, France vetoed Annan four times before finally abstaining. The UN Security Council recommended Annan on 13 December 1996. [29] [30] Confirmed four days later by the vote of the General Assembly, [31] he started his first term as Secretary-General on 1 January 1997.

Due to Boutros-Ghali's overthrow, a second Annan term would give Africa the office of Secretary-General for three consecutive terms. In 2001, the Asia-Pacific Group agreed to support Annan for a second term in return for the African Group's support for an Asian Secretary-General in the 2006 selection. [32] The Security Council recommended Annan for a second term on 27 June 2001, and the General Assembly approved his reappointment on 29 June 2001. [33]

Activities Edit

Recommendations for UN reform Edit

Soon after taking office in 1997, Annan released two reports on management reform. On 17 March 1997, the report Management and Organisational Measures (A/51/829) introduced new management mechanisms through the establishment of a cabinet-style body to assist him and be grouping the UN's activities in accordance with four core missions. A comprehensive reform agenda was issued on 14 July 1997 entitled Renewing the United Nations: A Programme for Reform (A/51/950). Key proposals included the introduction of strategic management to strengthen unity of purpose, the establishment of the position of Deputy Secretary-General, a 10-percent reduction in posts, a reduction in administrative costs, the consolidation of the UN at the country level, and reaching out to civil society and the private sector as partners. Annan also proposed to hold a Millennium Summit in 2000. [34] After years of research, Annan presented a progress report, In Larger Freedom, to the UN General Assembly, on 21 March 2005. Annan recommended Security Council expansion and a host of other UN reforms. [35]

On 31 January 2006, Annan outlined his vision for a comprehensive and extensive reform of the UN in a policy speech to the United Nations Association UK. The speech, delivered at Central Hall, Westminster, also marked the 60th Anniversary of the first meetings of the General Assembly and Security Council. [36]

On 7 March 2006, he presented to the General Assembly his proposals for a fundamental overhaul of the United Nations Secretariat. The reform report is entitled Investing in the United Nations, For a Stronger Organization Worldwide. [37]

On 30 March 2006, he presented to the General Assembly his analysis and recommendations for updating the entire work programme of the United Nations Secretariat. The reform report is entitled: Mandating and Delivering: Analysis and Recommendations to Facilitate the Review of Mandates. [38]

Regarding the UN Human Rights Council, Annan said "declining credibility" had "cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system. Unless we re-make our human rights machinery, we may be unable to renew public confidence in the United Nations itself." However, he did believe that, despite its flaws, the council could do good. [39] [40]

In March 2000, Annan appointed the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations [41] to assess the shortcomings of the then existing system and to make specific and realistic recommendations for change. [42] The panel was composed of individuals experienced in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building. The report it produced, which became known as the Brahimi Report, after Chair of the Panel Lakhdar Brahimi, called for: [43]

  1. renewed political commitment on the part of Member States
  2. significant institutional change
  3. increased financial support.

The Panel further noted that in order to be effective, UN peacekeeping operations must be properly resourced and equipped, and operate under clear, credible and achievable mandates. [43] In a letter transmitting the report to the General Assembly and Security Council, Annan stated that the Panel's recommendations were essential to make the United Nations truly credible as a force for peace. [44] Later that same year, the Security Council adopted several provisions relating to peacekeeping following the report, in Resolution 1327. [45]

Millennium Development Goals Edit

In 2000, Annan issued a report entitled: "We the peoples: the role of the United Nations in the 21st century". [46] The report called for member states to "put people at the centre of everything we do. [47] No calling is more noble, and no responsibility greater, than that of enabling men, women and children, in cities and villages around the world, to make their lives better". [48] : 7

In the final chapter of the report, Annan called to "free our fellow men and women from the abject and dehumanizing poverty in which more than 1 billion of them are currently confined". [48] : 77

At the Millennium Summit in September 2000, national leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration, which was subsequently implemented by the United Nations Secretariat as the Millennium Development Goals in 2001. [49]

United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS) Edit

Within the "We the Peoples" document, Annan suggested the establishment of a United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS), a consortium of high-tech volunteer corps, including NetCorps Canada and Net Corps America, which United Nations Volunteers would co-ordinate. In the Report of the high-level panel of experts on information and communication technology (22 May 2000) suggesting a UN ICT Task Force, the panel welcomed the establishment of UNITeS, and made suggestions on its configuration and implementation strategy, including that ICT4D volunteering opportunities make mobilizing "national human resources" (local ICT experts) within developing countries a priority, for both men and women. The initiative was launched at the United Nations Volunteers and was active from February 2001 to February 2005. Initiative staff and volunteers participated in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in December 2003. [50]

The United Nations Global Compact Edit

In an address to The World Economic Forum on 31 January 1999, Secretary-General Annan argued that the "goals of the United Nations and those of business can, indeed, be mutually supportive" and proposed that the private sector and the United Nations initiate "a global compact of shared values and principles, which will give a human face to the global market". [51]

On 26 July 2000, the United Nations Global Compact was officially launched at UN headquarters in New York. It is a principle-based framework for businesses which aims to "Catalyse actions in support of broader UN goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)". [52] The Compact established ten core principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption, and under the Compact, companies commit to the ten principles and are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society to effectively implement them.

Establishment of The Global Fund Edit

Towards the end of the 1990s, increased awareness of the destructive potential of epidemics such as HIV/AIDS pushed public health issues to the top of the global development agenda. In April 2001, Annan issued a five-point "Call to Action" to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Stating it was a "personal priority", Annan proposed the establishment of a Global AIDS and Health Fund, "dedicated to the battle against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases" [53] to stimulate the increased international spending needed to help developing countries confront the HIV/AIDS crisis. In June of that year, the General Assembly of the United Nations committed to the creation of such a fund during a special session on AIDS, [54] and the permanent secretariat of the Global Fund was subsequently established in January 2002. [55]

Responsibility to Protect Edit

Following the failure of Annan and the International Community to intervene in the genocide in Rwanda and in Srebrenica, Annan asked whether the international community had an obligation in such situations to intervene to protect civilian populations. In a speech to the General Assembly on 20 September 1999 "to address the prospects for human security and intervention in the next century," [56] Annan argued that individual sovereignty—the protections afforded by the Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the UN—was being strengthened, while the notion of state sovereignty was being redefined by globalization and international co-operation. As a result, the UN and its member states had to consider a willingness to act to prevent conflict and civilian suffering, [57] a dilemma between "two concepts of sovereignty" that Annan also presented in a preceding article in The Economist, on 16 September 1999. [58]

In September 2001 the Canadian government established an ad hoc committee to address this balance between state sovereignty and humanitarian intervention. The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty published its final report in 2001, which focused on not on the right of states to intervene but a responsibility to protect populations at risk. The report moved beyond the question of military intervention, arguing that a range of diplomatic and humanitarian actions could also be utilized to protect civilian populations. [59]

In 2005, Annan included the doctrine of "Responsibility to Protect" in his report Larger Freedom. [59] When that report was endorsed by the UN General Assembly, it amounted to the first formal endorsement by UN Member States of the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect. [60]

Iraq Edit

In the years after 1998 when UNSCOM was expelled by the government of Saddam Hussein and during the Iraq disarmament crisis, in which the United States blamed UNSCOM and former IAEA director Hans Blix for failing to properly disarm Iraq, former UNSCOM chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter blamed Annan for being slow and ineffective in enforcing Security Council resolutions on Iraq and was overtly submissive to the demands of the Clinton administration for regime removal and inspection of sites, often Presidential palaces, that were not mandated in any resolution and were of questionable intelligence value, severely hampering UNSCOM's ability to co-operate with the Iraqi government and contributed to their expulsion from the country. [61] [62] Ritter also claimed that Annan regularly interfered with the work of the inspectors and diluted the chain of command by trying to micromanage all of the activities of UNSCOM, which caused intelligence processing (and the resulting inspections) to be backed up and caused confusion with the Iraqis as to who was in charge and as a result, they generally refused to take orders from Ritter or Rolf Ekéus without explicit approval from Annan, which could have taken days, if not weeks. He later believed that Annan was oblivious to the fact the Iraqis took advantage of this in order to delay inspections. He claimed that on one occasion, Annan refused to implement a no-notice inspection of the SSO headquarters and instead tried to negotiate access, but the negotiation ended up taking nearly six weeks, giving the Iraqis more than enough time to clean out the site. [63]

During the build-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Annan called on the United States and the United Kingdom not to invade without the support of the United Nations. In a September 2004 interview on the BBC, when questioned about the legal authority for the invasion, Annan said he believed it was not in conformity with the UN charter and was illegal. [64] [65]

Other diplomatic activities Edit

In 1998, Annan was deeply involved in supporting the transition from military to civilian rule in Nigeria. The following year, he supported the efforts of East Timor to secure independence from Indonesia. In 2000, he was responsible for certifying Israel 's withdrawal from Lebanon, and in 2006, he led talks in New York between the presidents of Cameroon and Nigeria which led to a settlement of the dispute between the two countries over the Bakassi peninsula. [66]

Annan and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disagreed sharply on Iran's nuclear program, on an Iranian exhibition of cartoons mocking the Holocaust, and on the then upcoming International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, an Iranian Holocaust denial conference in 2006. [67] During a visit to Iran instigated by continued Iranian uranium enrichment, Annan said "I think the tragedy of the Holocaust is an undeniable historical fact and we should really accept that fact and teach people what happened in World War II and ensure it is never repeated." [67]

Annan supported sending a UN peacekeeping mission to Darfur, Sudan. [68] He worked with the government of Sudan to accept a transfer of power from the African Union peacekeeping mission to a UN one. [69] Annan also worked with several Arab and Muslim countries on women's rights and other topics. [70]

Beginning in 1998, Annan convened an annual UN "Security Council Retreat" with the 15 States' representatives of the council. It was held at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) Conference Center at the Rockefeller family estate in Pocantico Hills, New York, and was sponsored by both the RBF and the UN. [71]

Lubbers sexual-harassment investigation Edit

In June 2004, Annan was given a copy of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) report on the complaint brought by four female workers against Ruud Lubbers, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, for sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and retaliation. The report also reviewed a long-serving staff member's allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Werner Blatter, Director of UNHCR Personnel. The investigation found Lubbers guilty of sexual harassment no mention was made publicly of the other charge against a senior official, or two subsequent complaints filed later that year. In the course of the official investigation, Lubbers wrote a letter which some considered was a threat to the female worker who had brought the charges. [72] On 15 July 2004, Annan cleared Lubbers of the accusations, saying they were not substantial enough legally. [73] The internal UN-OIOS report on Lubbers was leaked, and sections accompanied by an article by Kate Holt were published in a British newspaper. In February 2005, Lubbers resigned as head of the UN refugee agency, saying that he wanted to relieve political pressure on Annan. [74]

Oil-for-Food scandal Edit

In December 2004, reports surfaced that the Secretary-General's son Kojo Annan received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna Inspection SA, which had won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Programme. Kofi Annan called for an investigation to look into the allegations. [75] On 11 November 2005, The Sunday Times agreed to apologise and pay a substantial sum in damages to Kojo Annan, accepting that the allegations were untrue. [76]

Annan appointed the Independent Inquiry Committee, [77] which was led by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, [78] then the director of the United Nations Association of the US. In his first interview with the Inquiry Committee, Annan denied having had a meeting with Cotecna. Later in the inquiry, he recalled that he had met with Cotecna's chief executive Elie-Georges Massey twice. In a final report issued on 27 October, the committee found insufficient evidence to indict Kofi Annan on any illegal actions, but did find fault with Benon Sevan, an Armenian-Cypriot national who had worked for the UN for about 40 years. Appointed by Annan to the Oil-For-Food role, Sevan repeatedly asked Iraqis for allocations of oil to the African Middle East Petroleum Company. Sevan's behavior was "ethically improper", Volcker said to reporters. Sevan repeatedly denied the charges and argued that he was being made a "scapegoat". [79] The Volcker report was highly critical of the UN management structure and the Security Council oversight. It strongly recommended a new position be established of Chief Operating Officer (COO), to handle the fiscal and administrative responsibilities then under the Secretary-General's office. The report listed the companies, both Western and Middle Eastern, which had benefited illegally from the program. [78]

Nobel Peace Prize Edit

In 2001, its centennial year, the Nobel Committee decided that the Peace Prize was to be divided between the UN and Annan. They were awarded the Peace Prize "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world," [3] having revitalized the UN and for having given priority to human rights. The Nobel Committee also recognized his commitment to the struggle to containing the spread of HIV in Africa and his declared opposition to international terrorism. [80]

Relations between the United States and the United Nations Edit

Annan defended his deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, [81] who openly criticized the United States in a speech on 6 June 2006: "[T]he prevailing practice of seeking to use the UN almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics is simply not sustainable. You will lose the UN one way or another. [. ] [That] the US is constructively engaged with the UN [. ] is not well known or understood, in part because much of the public discourse that reaches the US heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News." [82] Malloch later said his talk was a "sincere and constructive critique of U.S. policy toward the U.N. by a friend and admirer." [83]

The talk was unusual because it violated unofficial policy of not having top officials publicly criticize member nations. [83] The interim U.S. ambassador John R. Bolton, appointed by President George W. Bush, was reported to have told Annan on the phone: "I've known you since 1989 and I'm telling you this is the worst mistake by a senior UN official that I have seen in that entire time." [83] Observers from other nations supported Malloch's view that conservative politicians in the U.S. prevented many citizens from understanding the benefits of U.S. involvement in the UN. [84]

Farewell addresses Edit

On 19 September 2006, Annan gave a farewell address to world leaders gathered at the UN headquarters in New York, in anticipation of his retirement on 31 December. In the speech he outlined three major problems of "an unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law", which he believed "have not resolved, but sharpened" during his time as Secretary-General. He also pointed to violence in Africa, and the Arab–Israeli conflict as two major issues warranting attention. [85]

On 11 December 2006, in his final speech as Secretary-General, delivered at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, Annan recalled Truman's leadership in the founding of the United Nations. He called for the United States to return to President Truman's multilateralist foreign policies, and to follow Truman's credo that "the responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world". He also said that the United States must maintain its commitment to human rights, "including in the struggle against terrorism." [86] [87]

Online access to Kofi Annan's archives Edit

The United Nations Archives and Records Management Section (UNARMS) provides full text access to Kofi Annan's declassified archives while he served as Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997–2006) Search Kofi Annan's Archives

After his service as UN Secretary-General, Annan took up residence in Geneva and worked in a leading capacity on various international humanitarian endeavors. [88]

Kofi Annan Foundation Edit

In 2007, Annan established the Kofi Annan Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organization that works to promote better global governance and strengthen the capacities of people and countries to achieve a fairer, more peaceful world. [89]

The organisation was founded on the principles that fair and peaceful societies rest on three pillars: Peace and Security, Sustainable Development, and Human Rights and the Rule of Law, and they have made it their mission to mobilise the leadership and the political resolve needed to tackle threats to these three pillars ranging from violent conflict to flawed elections and climate change, with the aim of achieving a fairer, more peaceful world. [90]

The Foundation provides the analytical, communication and co-ordination capacities needed to ensure that these objectives are achieved. Annan's contribution to peace worldwide is delivered through mediation, political mentoring, advocacy and advice. Through his engagement, Annan aimed to strengthen local and international conflict resolution capabilities. The Foundation provides the analytical and logistical support to facilitate this in co-operation with relevant local, regional and international actors. [91] The Foundation works mainly through private diplomacy, where Annan provided informal counsel and participated in discreet diplomatic initiatives to avert or resolve crises by applying his experience and inspirational leadership. He was often asked to intercede in crises, sometimes as an impartial independent mediator, sometimes as a special envoy of the international community. In recent years he had provided such counsel to Burkina Faso, Kenya, Myanmar, Senegal, Iraq and Colombia. [92]

Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process (KNDR) Edit

Following the outbreak of violence during the 2007 Presidential elections in Kenya, the African Union established a Panel of Eminent African Personalities to assist in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. [93]

The panel, headed by Annan, managed to convince the two principal parties to the conflict, President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) and Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), to participate in the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process (KNDR). [93] Over the course of 41 days of negotiations, several agreements regarding taking actions to stop the violence and remedying its consequences were signed. On 28 February, President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga signed a coalition government agreement. [94] [95]

Joint Special Envoy for Syria Edit

On 23 February 2012, Annan was appointed as the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, in an attempt to end the civil war taking place. [7] He developed a six-point plan for peace: [96]

  1. commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, and, to this end, commit to appoint an empowered interlocutor when invited to do so by the Envoy
  2. commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilise the country. To this end, the Syrian government should immediately cease troop movements towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centres, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres. As these actions are being taken on the ground, the Syrian government should work with the Envoy to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism. Similar commitments would be sought by the Envoy from the opposition and all relevant elements to stop the fighting and work with him to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism
  3. ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause and to co-ordinate exact time and modalities of the daily pause through an efficient mechanism, including at local level
  4. intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained, immediately begin organizing access to such locations and through appropriate channels respond promptly to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons
  5. ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them
  6. respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.

On 2 August, he resigned as UN and Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, [97] citing the intransigence of both the Assad government and the rebels, as well as the stalemate on the Security Council as preventing any peaceful resolution of the situation. [98] Annan also stated that the lack of international unity and ineffective diplomacy among the world leaders had made the peaceful resolution in Syria an impossible task. [99]

Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security Edit

Annan served as the Chair of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security. The commission was launched in May 2011 as a joint initiative of the Kofi Annan Foundation and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. It comprised 12 eminent individuals from around the world, including Ernesto Zedillo, Martti Ahtisaari, Madeleine Albright and Amartya Sen, and aimed to highlight the importance of the integrity of elections to achieving a more secure, prosperous and stable world. The Commission released its final report: Democracy, a Strategy to Improve the Integrity of Elections Worldwide, in September 2012.

Rakhine Commission (Myanmar) Edit

In September 2016, Annan was asked to lead the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State (in Myanmar) [100] [101] [102] [103] – an impoverished region beset by ethnic conflict and extreme sectarian violence, particularly by Myanmar's Buddhist majority against the Rohingya Muslim minority, further targeted by government forces. [104] [105] [106] [107] The commission, widely known simply as the "Annan Commission", was opposed by many Myanmar Buddhists as unwelcome interference in their relations with the Rohingya. [100]

When the Annan commission released its final report, [102] the week of 24 August 2017, with recommendations unpopular with all sides, violence exploded in the Rohingya conflict – the largest and bloodiest humanitarian disaster in the region in decades – driving most of the Rohingya from Myanmar. [107] [106] [108] Annan attempted to engage the United Nations to resolve the matter, [109] but failed.

Annan died a week before the first anniversary of the report, shortly after an announcement by a replacement commission that it would not "point fingers" at the guilty parties – leading to widespread concern that the new commission was just a sham to protect culpable Myanmar government officials and citizens from accountability. [103] [110] [108] [111]

In 2018, before Annan's death, Myanmar's civilian government, under the direction of State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi, made a gesture of acceptance of the Annan commission's recommendations by convening another board – the Advisory Board for the Committee for Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State – ostensibly to implement the Annan commission's proposed reforms, but never actually implemented them. Some of the international representatives resigned – notably the panel's Secretary, Thailand's former foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai, and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson – decrying the "implementation" committee as ineffective, or a "whitewash." [101] [112]

Other activities Edit

In March 2011, [113] Annan became a member of the Advisory Board for Investcorp Bank B. S. C. [114] Europe, [115] an international private equity firm and sovereign wealth fund owned by the United Arab Emirates. He held the position until 2018.

Annan became member of the Global Advisory Board of Macro Advisory Partners LLP, Risk and strategic consulting firm based in London and New York, for business, finance and government decision-makers, with some operations related to Investcorp. [116]

Non-profit organizations

In addition to the above, Annan also became involved with several organizations with both global and African focuses, including the following:

    , member of the board of directors (2008–2018) [117] , chancellor (2008–2018) [118]
  • School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University, global fellow (2009–2018) [119]
  • The Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University, fellow [120] at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Li Ka Shing Professor (2009–2018) [121] , member of the board of directors (2010–2018) [122][123] Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, chairman of the prize committee (2007–2018) [124] (AGRA), chairman (2007–2018) [125] , founder and president (2007–2018) [126] , founding commissioner. [127] The commission had declared in a 2011 report that the war on drugs was a failure. [128] Annan believed that, since drug use represents a health risk, it should be regulated, comparing it to the regulation of tobacco which reduced smoking in many countries. [129]

Annan served as Chair of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders who work together on peace and human rights issues. [130] [131] In November 2008, Annan and fellow Elders Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel attempted to travel to Zimbabwe to make a first-hand assessment of the humanitarian situation in the country. Refused entry, the Elders instead carried out their assessment from Johannesburg, where they met Zimbabwe- and South Africa-based leaders from politics, business, international organisations, and civil society. [132] In May 2011, following months of political violence in Côte d'Ivoire, Annan travelled to the country with Elders Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson to encourage national reconciliation. [133] On 16 October 2014, Annan attended the One Young World Summit in Dublin. During a session with fellow Elder Mary Robinson, Annan encouraged 1,300 young leaders from 191 countries to lead on intergenerational issues such as climate change and the need for action to take place now, not tomorrow. [134] [135]

"We don't have to wait to act. The action must be now. You will come across people who think we should start tomorrow. Even for those who believe action should begin tomorrow, remind them tomorrow begins now, tomorrow begins today, so let's all move forward." [136]

Annan chaired the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. As Chair, he facilitates coalition building to leverage and broker knowledge, in addition to convening decision-makers to influence policy and create lasting change in Africa. Every year, the Panel releases a report, the Africa Progress Report, which outlines an issue of immediate importance to the continent and suggests a set of associated policies. In 2014, the Africa Progress Report highlighted the potential of African fisheries, agriculture, and forests to drive economic development. [137] The 2015 report explores the role of climate change and the potential of renewable energy investments in determining Africa's economic future. [138]

Memoir Edit

On 4 September 2012, Annan with Nader Mousavizadeh wrote a memoir, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace. [139] Published by Penguin Press, the book has been described as a "personal biography of global statecraft". [140]

In 1965, Kofi Annan married Titi Alakija, a Nigerian woman from an aristocratic family. Several years later they had a daughter, Ama, and later a son, Kojo. The couple separated in the late 1970s, [141] and divorced in 1983. [11] In 1984, Annan married Nane Annan [sv et ru] , a Swedish lawyer at the UN and a maternal half-niece of diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. [142] She has a daughter, Nina, from a previous marriage. [143] His brother, Kobina Annan served as Ghana's ambassador to Morocco. [144]

Annan died on the morning of 18 August 2018 in Bern, Switzerland at the age of 80, after what his family described as "a short illness". [145] [146] António Guterres, the current UN Secretary-General, said that "Kofi Annan was a champion for peace and a guiding force for good." [147] [145] The body of Kofi Annan was returned to his native Ghana from Geneva in a brief and solemn ceremony at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, on 10 September 2018. [148] His coffin, draped in the blue UN flag, was accompanied by his widow Nane Annan, his children and senior diplomats from the international organisation. [148] [149]

On 13 September 2018, a state funeral was held for Annan in Ghana at the Accra International Conference Centre. [150] The ceremony was attended by several political leaders from across Africa as well as Ghanaian traditional rulers, European royalty and dignitaries from the international community, including the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. [151] Prior to the funeral service, his body lay in state in the foyer of the same venue, from 11–12 September 2018. [152] A private burial followed the funeral service at the new Military Cemetery at Burma Camp, with full military honours and the sounding of the Last Post by army buglers and a 17-gun salute. [153] [154] [155] [156]

The United Nations Postal Administration released a new stamp in memory of Kofi Annan on 31 May 2019. Annan's portrait on the stamp was designed by artist Martin Mörck. The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre and the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, both in Accra, are named in his honour. The Kofi Annan University of Guinea is also named after him.

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Stanley Meisler, Kofi Annan. A Man of Peace in a World of War (in English), Wiley, 2007.


Kofi Annan on NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia - HISTORY

Annan slates Serb forces

Kosovo refugees have lost homes and identities, said Mr Annan

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has accused Serb security forces of "shocking violations of human rights" in driving up to 400,000 Kosovo Albanians from their homes.

Using some of his most uncompromising language since the Kosovo crisis began, Mr Annan said: "The brutal persecution the refugees and displaced persons are suffering, the loss of their family members, their homes and even documentation of their identities, underline the urgency of their plight."

Mr Annan told UN Security Council members: "Yet again we face the abominable practice of 'ethnic cleansing' only a few years after it transformed the demography of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"The Serbian authorities must halt such actions."

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Irish President Mary Robinson, was "taking urgent steps to strengthen our capacity to monitor the shocking violations of human rights of the Kosovo population by Serb security forces", he said.

But Mr Annan acknowledged that it was "impossible" at present to send observers to the province.

The UN estimates that close to 400,000 refugees have left their homes in Kosovo since Nato began its air strikes on Yugoslavia on 24 March.

Those displaced include 226,000 people now in Albania, 120,000 in Macedonia and 35,700 in Montenegro.

Up to 400,000 people are thought to have left Kosovo
The UN secretary-general urged all countries to provide shelter for the refugees until they are able to return to their homes in security.

He said he had been in touch with many world leaders in recent days, including Macedonia's President Kiro Gligorov, who was concerned about the impact of the refugees on the "precarious internal situation in his country".

Mr Annan said he assured the Macedonian president that the international community would share the burden.

Nato on Sunday announced plans by most of its member states to temporarily take in refugees to ease the pressure on the region.

Mr Annan said the offer of the alliance's logistic resources in helping deal with the mass exodus "will make an enormous contribution".

But the UN secretary-general came under fire from Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic, who said Mr Annan would be party to undermining the UN if he made no attempts to halt Nato's "aggression".

"I have been deeply disappointed that, despite our appeal and the efforts of . peace-loving member states, the Security Council has failed to act in accordance with its responsibilities as set forth in the (UN) charter."

Nato member states have begun airlifting refugees
Mr Jovanovic called on the UN secretary-general to "urgently act within your powers . to put an end to the Nato aggression and the further endangerment of international peace and security without delay".

He told Mr Annan in a letter: "You are faced with a historic opportunity to take the side of justice and law, and, at the threshold of a new century, to protect the authority of the United Nations."

The alternative was that Mr Annan would become "an accomplice in undermining the system of the United Nations", Mr Jovanovic warned.

"I hope that it is still not too late for you to make the right choice."

The UN Security Council is divided over Nato strikes
The UN Security Council steered clear on Monday of blaming any party for the refugee exodus, although it did express "deepest concern at the grave humanitarian situation".

The 15-nation Security Council remains divided on the issue of Nato's bombing of Yugoslavia.

Only Russia, China and Namibia voted in favour of a Russian resolution on 26 March calling for an immediate end to the air strikes.

Twelve countries - including Nato members the US, the UK and France - opposed the resolution.