Annan calls for dialogue to ease cartoon tension

UN Sec.-Gen. Kofi Annan called for dialogue to calm the uproar over the Prophet Muhammad drawings in a TV interview. "Right now there's megaphone diplomacy," Annan said in the interview, which aired late Sunday on Denmark's national DR television. "And I think we should turn off the megaphones and begin to talk quietly to each other." Annan condemned the drawings, first published in a Danish newspaper, as "insensitive and rather offensive," and also denounced the violent reactions in some Muslim countries. He said the drawings, one of which shows Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, could be seen as vilifying a religion with more than 1 billion adherents. He placed the outrage over the cartoons in a wider perspective, saying it was a result of tensions that had been growing since the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.