- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 4, 2005

Life after the U.N.

Congratulations to Deputy U.N. Ambassador Anne Patterson, who will leave the U.S. Mission to the United Nations this year to run the State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

She is said to be delighted about the job, which will be based in Washington and help develop drug policy from Latin America to Afghanistan.

Mrs. Patterson became the acting permanent representative here in January, just six months after arriving at the United Nations as the deputy to Ambassador John C. Danforth, who resigned. She has held the fort for the past seven months, a turbulent period dominated by issues such as U.N. reform and the investigations into the Iraq oil-for-food program.

If things go off without a hitch, Mrs. Patterson may be the first deputy U.S. ambassador in years to leave here with a smile. Previous career Foreign Service deputies who have filled in for long spells between permanent ambassadors have been a cursed lot lately.

Peter Burleigh, who served a seamless transition between Bill Richardson and Richard C. Holbrooke, was named by President Clinton to be ambassador to the Philippines. But his nomination never reached the Senate floor after anonymous holds were placed against him for unrelated political reasons. He has since retired.

And James Cunningham, who filled in between John D. Negroponte and Mr. Danforth, was earmarked by the Bush administration to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, but members of the administration later deemed him to be insufficiently tough on arms control. After a lengthy process, the amiable Mr. Cunningham was made U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong.

A native of Fort Smith, Ark., the petite Mrs. Patterson has served as ambassador to El Salvador and Colombia, and more recently as the State Department’s deputy inspector general.

There is no word on who will replace her.

Oil-for-food tome

The independent inquiry into the scandal-plagued oil-for-food program for Iraq will release the centerpiece of its research Wednesday morning — an examination of U.N. systems and personnel that is expected to run 800 to 1,000 pages.

That’s bigger than this month’s Vogue magazine, with larger text but none of the pictures.

The committee, chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, is expected to complete its investigation into the role of Kojo Annan, son of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in the award of a key contract to his employer, Cotecna Inspection SA of Switzerland. Of wider global interest is the report’s naming of companies that paid bribes or kickbacks to U.N. officials or Saddam Hussein’s regime to win contracts to buy oil or sell humanitarian goods over the life of the seven-year, $69 billion program.

U.N. officials are awaiting the report with bated breath, as much for its content as for whether its reverberations will taint the summit on U.N. reform that is scheduled to open Sept. 16 and draw more than 170 world leaders to New York.

The first casualty, from a publicity standpoint, is the unrelated Human Development Report, published semiannually by the U.N. Development Program.

The statistics-driven HDR is a scorecard of the efforts of governments to improve the quality of life for their people, based on indicators such as longevity, education, income and access to everything from sanitation to mass media.

“We’ve suicidally put our own launch at 10 a.m. on Wednesday,” conceded William Orme, a UNDP spokesman who calculates as “slim” the likelihood of coverage in the English-language press. Kemal Dervis, the new administrator of UNDP, and the authors of the report will present it to the Secretariat, although last week there was talk about the presentation to a world capital where the press would be more focused.

Mr. Orme said it’s impossible to change the date of the main report because it’s coordinated with regional releases in Johannesburg; Moscow; Tokyo; Brussels; Mexico City; Copenhagen; Stockholm; Oslo; Paris; New Delhi; Abuja, Nigeria; Sydney, Australia; and Brasilia, Brazil.

Betsy Pisik can be reached by e-mail at bpisik@washingtontimes.com.

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