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UN Chief Of Staff To Washington; Deputy Resigns

UN Chief Of Staff Heading To Washington For Talks With Lawmakers; Deputy Resigns

In the wake of an independent panel's interim report on the United Nations' handling of the Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq, Secretary General Kofi Annan's new chief of staff is scheduled to visit Washington tomorrow for talks with Congressional leaders involved with investigations and international relations.

Among those Mark Malloch Brown is to meet are Senators Norm Coleman and Carl Levin, the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat, respectively, of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Representatives Henry Hyde and Tom Lantos of the House International Relations Committee, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told journalists at the daily briefing in New York.

"This is a follow-up to the interim report by [former US Federal Reserve Board Chairman] Paul Volcker's [Independent Inquiry] Committee. It is to report to the US lawmakers what the United Nations has done in recent years to reform its administrative and management practices," the spokesman said in reply to a question.

Despite recent reforms, the report, released last week, raised questions about UN management practices concerning the multi-billion dollar humanitarian operation, which permitted the sanctions-bound regime in Baghdad to purchase relief supplies with oil revenues.

Mr. Eckhard said he thought "any lawmaker anywhere in the world" would like a briefing on what the UN, under Mr. Annan, had been doing quietly over the years, such as reforming the procurement, personnel and budget processes.

Senator Coleman has previously called for Mr. Annan's resignation in connection with the US Senate's investigation into the Oil-for-Food programme. At the time Mr. Eckhard said the Secretary-General had turned over all documents and made available all UN staff to the Volcker panel.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chef de Cabinet, UN veteran Elisabeth Lindenmayer, has resigned.

"Ms. Lindenmayer served the United Nations with exceptional loyalty, competence and diligence since 1977," Mr. Annan said in a statement, saying he accepted her decision "with sadness."

He was deeply grateful for her unstinting support and her steadfast commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, Mr. Annan said, and he knew that her many friends throughout the UN family and around the world joined him in wishing her all the best in the years to come.

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