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'Volcker's admission confirms report is meaningless'
November 07, 2005 10:43 IST
Last Updated: November 07, 2005 11:36 IST
Seizing on the admission of Paul Volcker, whose report has landed him at the centre of a political storm -- claiming that he had shielded the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan -- External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh on Monday said that this only confirmed that the report was 'meaningless' and without any credibility.
Terming as 'dead' the Volcker committee report on the UN's oil-for-food scam, Singh Monday sought to equate it with the Central Intelligence Agency's findings on the possible presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which turned out to be false later.
India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ronen Sen "has now told me that the Volcker report is dead" in the wake of Paul Volcker's admission that he agreed to change the language used against UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's son Kojo's business dealings, Singh told UNI.
It was now clear that the Volcker report "is a meaningless document," the minister said.
Charging that Volcker, appointed mainly to go into possible omissions and commissions by Annan in the wake of reports of a scam in the UN programme for the now desposed Saddam Hussein regime, had bailed out the "culprit number one", Singh firmly ruled out his resignation.
Volcker, former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, is quoted as having admitted in a Los Angeles Times interview that he had agreed to change the language of his controversial report on Iraqi oil-for-food scandal that referred to Annan's son Kojo's business dealings. He had felt 'uncomfortable' when he realised that Annan's job hung on his words and had therefore agreed to change the language of the report.
"I have steadfastly maintained that the Volcker report had no validity. His own admission underlines this. The report was and is meaningless more so after what Volcker himself has conceded," the minister said.
Ruling out his resignation because his name was mentioned in the annexure to the Volcker report, Singh said, "What should I resign for? The report has no validity."
Singh said he had spoken to India's Ambassador to the United Nations Nirupam Sen four times in recent days asking him to find out the basis on which he and the Congress had found a mention in the annexure to the Volcker report.
"The ambassador told me that even at the UN the view was that the report is a dead document," he added.
"The Volcker report was not on the agenda of the UN Security Council or the General Assembly," he said.