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Annan Rejects Bush Claim That World Is Safer Now

The world is no safer than it was three years ago, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Wednesday, countering President Bush’s claims he had made the world a safer place. Annan, at a news conference, also criticized a Bush administration decision to withhold $34 million from the U.N. Population Fund, saying the agency was saving women’s lives. Annan’s remarks could renew strains on ties between the United States and United Nations, which — while devastated by Bush’s inability to win U.N. backing for the U.S.-led war on Iraq — had improved following U.N. help in setting up a new government in Baghdad in time for the U.S. occupation to end. “No, I cannot say the world is safer today than it was two, three years ago,” the U.N. leader said. He was responding to a reporter who asked for comment on the Bush funding move and also whether Annan felt the world had become safer in the last two or three years. Full Story

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