Annan: US must not sacrifice democracy in war on terror

In farewell address, UN sec.-gen. says when the US "appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives," its friends abroad are "troubled and confused."

annan cries 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
annan cries 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's farewell address on Monday criticized the administration of US President George W. Bush, warning that America must not sacrifice its democratic ideals while waging war against terrorism. In remarks prepared for delivery Monday at the Truman Presidential Museum and Library, Annan also said the Security Council should be expanded. "Human rights and the rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity," Annan's text said. When the US "appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused," his text said. Annan, who leaves the United Nations on Dec. 31 after 10 years as secretary-general, has become an increasingly vocal critic of the war in Iraq. He said in the text the US has a special responsibility to the world because it continues to have extraordinary power. Annan summed up five principles he considers essential: collective responsibility, global solidarity, rule of law, mutual accountability and multilateralism. He chose the Truman museum for his final major speech in part because it is dedicated to a president who was instrumental in the founding of the United Nations. His text repeatedly praised the Harry Truman administration but never mentioned Bush by name. "As President Truman said, 'The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world,"' Annan said. "He believed strongly that henceforth security must be collective and indivisible. That was why, for instance, that he insisted when faced with aggression by North Korea against the South in 1950, on bringing the issue to the United Nations," Annan said. "Against such threats as these, no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others." Annan also called for a reform of the Security Council, saying its membership "still reflects the reality of 1945." He suggested adding new members to represent parts of the world with less of a voice. He said the permanent members, the world powers, "must accept the special responsibility that comes with their privilege." "The Security Council is not just another stage on which to act out national interests," he said in another jab at Bush. Annan has had a strained relationship with the Bush administration and with outgoing US Ambassador John Bolton. He was criticized by some in the administration and in Iraq after saying earlier this month that the level of violence in Iraq is much worse than that of Lebanon's civil war and that some Iraqis believe their lives were better under Saddam Hussein. He also has urged the international community to help rebuild Iraq, saying he was not sure Iraq could accomplish it alone. Bolton also is leaving this month. He resigned in the wake of the November elections, which gave Democrats control over the next Congress and made his Senate confirmation unlikely. After a private dinner Tuesday night at the White House for Annan, Bolton joked that "nobody sang 'Kumbaya."' Told at the time of Bolton's comment, Annan laughed and asked: "But does he know how to sing it?"