U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is giving an optimistic assessment of the Madrid donors' conference on Iraq. Mr. Annan is predicting further contributions as security conditions improve.
On his return Friday from Madrid to New York, the secretary-general cautioned reporters not to read too much into the amounts pledged at the Madrid conference on Iraqi reconstruction. He noted that the conference is only the beginning of a process.
"One shouldn't expect governments to indicate all they're going to do for Iraq today in Madrid," he said. "It's a process, and over time, governments will do more. I also indicated security was a constraint, and we need to do something about that issue. We should not judge the success of the Iraqi reconstruction by the contributions that are announced today."
U.N. organizations charged with providing assistance to Iraq say the money already pledged in Madrid will be enough for the next year's needs. Spokesman Fred Eckhart said the U.N. Development Program will need about $9 billion for infrastructure and social services, plus several billion more for security.
"The U.N. Development Program tells us that the pledges announced so far should meet what the U.N. considers the most critical issue being addressed, the need for immediate grant assistance to Iraq, from now through 2004," said Mr. Eckhart.
On a related matter, Secretary-General Annan said Friday he is considering a top-to-bottom overhaul of the U.N. security system. He was responding to a report issued by an independent panel he appointed to study security following two recent attacks on U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.
The panel, headed by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, concluded that responsibility for security lapses went right to the top of the United Nations. Mr. Annan Friday skirted the issue of accountability, but told reporters changes would have to be made.