United Nations members have given their backing to their Secretary General Kofi Annan with a long, standing ovation. He has been under pressure from conservative US lawmakers to resign over claims of corruption in the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq. He has also been caught up in controversy with staff over claims that various complaints and scandals have not been handled properly.
UN members gave Annan their support, however, when he briefed them on a report on how the organisation should be reformed. “I interpret this long ovation as an acknowledgement of your actions,” said the General Assembly’s President, Jean Ping. “It is also an expression of confidence in yourself and of the work you’ve undertaken at the helm of the UN.” The independent report on reforms includes more than a hundred proposals for changing the way the UN reacts to world events. It also criticises UN bodies ranging from the Security Council to the Human Rights Commission, and proposes that management offers early retirement to many of its ageing staff.