I had been wondering about why the administration had come out in support of Annan in spite of the widespread criticism of some here, including Congress, who have called for his resignation. Simon Tisdall at the Guardian explains it:
The Bush administration has distanced itself for the time being from congressional demands for the resignation of the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan.
But acute US-UN tensions persist over oil-for-food corruption investigations, UN handling of Iran’s nuclear programmes, and Iraq’s US-sponsored elections next month.
US resentment over what officials regard as lack of UN support for the Iraq polls is barely contained. The issue topped the agenda in talks yesterday between Mr Annan, the US secretary of state Colin Powell and his designated successor, Condoleezza Rice.
The US craves the legitimacy and expertise that only the UN can give the process. Because of security concerns, only 19 UN electoral staff are in Iraq, compared with 266 who oversaw Afghanistan’s polls in October.