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Last Updated: Monday, 5 September 2005, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
Annan ready for oil-for-food flak
Kofi Annan during the BBC interview
Mr Annan touched on a number of issues during the interview
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says he is braced for more criticism when the final report on the Iraqi oil-for-food programme is published on Wednesday.

In a BBC interview, Mr Annan said no-one had emerged from dealing with Iraq "entirely covered in glory".

But he said many aspects of the scheme had lain outside his area of authority.

The programme was set up in the 1990s, when Iraq was under economic sanctions, and allowed Iraq to sell enough oil to feed its people.

"I suspect that there will be lots of criticism," Mr Annan said in the exclusive interview with the BBC World Service.

I wish the UN would never be asked to take that kind of a programme again
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

He also expressed regret over the UN's involvement in the scheme.

"Oil-for-food was an extra programme we were asked to undertake. Honestly, I wish we were never given that programme."

Previous reports into the programme's administration by an independent panel headed by former head of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, have identified examples of corruption and mismanagement.

The reports have not accused Mr Annan himself of wrongdoing.

However, it is an uncomfortable topic for Mr Annan, especially as his son is likely to be very much in the firing line, the BBC's Stephen Cviic says.

On other issues raised in the interview, Mr Annan:

  • warned that no nation would be able to get everything it wanted at next week's World Summit, referring to last-minute US amendments to plans for tackling world poverty

  • expressed concerns that many Muslims had felt "victimised in their own society... victimised in the West"

  • said it was important for the UN to give urgent help to those affected by Hurricane Katrina, rather than discuss why there were delays with aid delivery.

Hear Kofi Annan voice his regret over UN involvement

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