A UN spokesman said Mr. Annan met with IIC officials for more than 90 minutes this afternoon, marking the third such interview. The Secretary-General spoke previously to IIC members on 9 November for an hour and 45 minutes and on 3 December for 25 minutes.
The Secretary-General may continue to be questioned as the investigation proceeds, the spokesman added.
The IIC - under the leadership of former United States Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker - is widely considered the most authoritative of several ongoing probes of the humanitarian programme because the UN has handed over all documentation to that panel and UN staffers have been ordered to cooperate with its investigation on pain of dismissal.
Mr. Annan set up the IIC last year in response to allegations of corruption and mismanagement during the life of the programme, which from 1997 until 2003 was responsible for halting a deterioration of living standards among some 27 million Iraqi civilians. The Security Council offered its full backing to the IIC in a resolution calling on all countries to cooperate fully with its work.
Mr. Volcker's panel is expected to issue an interim report sometime in the next few weeks.
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