Outgoing Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali served his final day as U.N. chief Tuesday, expressing regret over the U.N.'s budget woes but insisting he feels no bitterness over his U.S.-orchestrated ouster.
The Clinton administration vetoed Boutros-Ghali's attempt to serve a second term. Kofi Annan of Ghana, a longtime U.N. bureaucrat, takes over Wednesday as the new head.Boutros-Ghali said his biggest failure during his five-year term was his inability to "overcome the U.N. financial crisis."
Congress, angry over the slow pace of reforms to streamline the world body, has withheld more than $1 billion in dues, forcing the United Nations to leave unessential bills unpaid.
It is not known if Congress will pay U.S. dues after Boutros-Ghali's departure. However, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., extended Annan a warm greeting earlier this month.
Boutros-Ghali said he had "no bitterness at all" over his removal from the U.N.'s top job.
Walking through the lobby of U.N. headquarters, he shook the hands of department heads and staff, smiling and wishing all a "Happy New Year."