Annan criticised for continuing vacation despite tsunami
WASHINGTON: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is being criticised for having continued his vacation for three days after the giant tsunami devastated a dozen countries rather than return to his UN headquarters. Annan was vacationing at the ski resort of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Reminded at his news conference that before the disaster he had called 2004 a horrible year and also whether he had thought about coming back earlier from his ski vacation, he replied, “Let me say that at my last press conference, when I said this has been a horrible year, I didn’t expect anything like this to happen before the year ended. It was bad enough up to that point. But this has been a real tragedy and disaster for those in that region. Ever since the disaster struck, as I have indicated, I have been on the line with the leaders of the region, discussing what should be done and also been constantly in touch here with my team and Jan. And, of course, that also explains the reason why I am back now.”
When another reporter persisted with the question, pointing out that “a lot of people are asking exactly why you waited three days on vacation before deciding to fly back to New York in the face of this extraordinary crisis and what kind of signal the 72-hour delay sends to the nations to which you are now appealing for greater help,” Annan answered, “First of all, there was action. It wasn’t inaction. We live in a world where you can operate from wherever you are. You know the world we live in now. You don’t have to be physically here to be dealing with the leaders and the governments I have been dealing with.” khalid hasan