Image: Kofi Annan in Ireland
John Cogill  /  AP file
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan reviews a Guard of Honour during his visit to the Irish Defence Forces at McKee Barracks in north Dublin Friday.
updated 10/17/2004 12:00:15 PM ET 2004-10-17T16:00:15

The U.S.-led war in Iraq hasn’t made the world any safer, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a British TV interview aired Sunday.

“I cannot say the world is safer when you consider the violence around us, when you look around you and see the terrorist attacks around the world and you see what is going on in Iraq,” Annan told the ITV network.

“We have a lot of work to do as an international community to try and make the world safer,” he said.

Annan has previously described the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein as “illegal.”

He told ITV that Iraq was on track to hold elections at the end of January and said he would speak out if he was not satisfied with the way they are conducted.

“If that sort of judgment or any decision which is made which we think detracts from the credibility and viability of the elections, we will be duty bound to say so,” he said.

Dismisses allegations against France, Russia and China
Annan also dismissed any suggestion that France, Russia and China had been prepared to ease sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in return for oil contracts.

Iraq tried to manipulate foreign governments by awarding contracts — and bribes — to foreign companies and political figures in countries that showed support for ending sanctions, in particular Russia, France and China, the final report by the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group said earlier this month.

But Annan said it was “inconceivable” Saddam’s activities could have influenced policy in the countries concerned.

“I don’t think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow itself to be bought...” Annan said.

“I think it’s inconceivable. These are very serious and important governments. You are not dealing with banana republics.”

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