Annan said he agreed with Iraqis who say that life is worse now than it was under Saddam.
|The violence in Iraq is continuing to claim |
hundreds of lives every month
"I think they are right in the sense of the average Iraqi's life," he said.
"If I were an average Iraqi obviously I would make the same comparison - that they had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, 'Am I going to see my child again?" Annan said.
"And the Iraqi government has not been able to bring the violence under control."
"When we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war - this is much worse"
Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general
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Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was not approved by the UN Security Council and Annan subsequently called "illegal", divisions among UN members have sharpened.
"I really believed that we could have stopped the war and that if we had worked a bit harder, given the inspectors a bit more time, we could have," Annan said.
He said that the US Iraq Study Group, which is about to release its report, recognised that "things are not working the way they had hoped and that it is essential to take a critical review - take a critical look at what is going on and, if necessary, change course".