White House U-turn on UN

In his first major foreign-policy rebuff since re-election, President Bush has reluctantly backed Kofi Annan after an unprecedented worldwide rally around the beleaguered UN Secretary General.

After 10 days in which the Bush administration pointedly refused to support Mr Annan against Congressional calls for his resignation, the US ambassador to the UN, John Danforth, said: "We are expressing confidence in the Secretary General and in his continuing in office."

Mr Bush himself twice refused to support the Secretary General, in what is believed to have been revenge for Mr Annan's opposition to the Iraq war.

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