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Ban Ki-Moon Announces Candidacy For Second Term

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo)
UNITED NATIONS -- Ban Ki-moon has announced that he is seeking a second five-year term as secretary-general of the United Nations.

Ban made the announcement at a press conference at UN headquarters in New York on June 6.

"This morning, I sent a letter to the membership of the General Assembly and the Security Council, offering humbly myself for consideration for a second term as secretary-general of the United Nations," Ban said.

"It has been an enormous privilege to lead this great organization. If supported by the member states, I would be deeply honored to serve once more."

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, has led the global body since January 1, 2007, and his term ends on December 31.

When he took office he presented a stark contrast to his charismatic predecessor, Kofi Annan of Ghana, and the unassuming South Korean was not initially considered a strong leader of the world body.

But with perseverance and skilful negotiation he turned the tide of opinion in his favor. Even when announcing his bid for reelection, the always diplomatic Ban reiterated the importance of finding "common ground."

"Throughout my time in office, I have sought to be a bridge builder -- among the member states, within the United Nations system and among a rich diversity of global partners," Ban said. "Finding common ground is central to delivering results."

Strong Support

Among the factors that contributed to Ban's strong standing within the United Nations were his decision early on to appoint a higher number of representatives from developing countries, particularly women, to senior management positions within the UN; his strong support for women's rights; his consistent policy toward nuclear disarmament; and his decisive pro-democracy stand on the recent revolutionary events in North Africa and the Middle East.

China and France, two of the UN Security Council's five permanent members, or P5, expressed full support for Ban's reelection.

China was the first of the P5 to endorse Ban's candidacy for reelection., Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong praised what he said were Ban's contributions to global peace and security.

"He is a person that has demonstrated a strong leadership, and he is a person of action, and he is a person with a vision for a better world and a better UN," Li said.

In a statement, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called Ban's decision to run for a second term "very good news" and said the secretary-general would have France's "full support."

Ban's announcement has been anticipated for some time and diplomats at the UN say it's virtually certain that the other three P5 members, Britain, Russia, and the United States, will also support his bid for reelection.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner welcomed Ban's announcement and said the White House would officially announce its position on his reelection in the coming days.

Once the P5 and remaining 10 members of the Security Council agree on a candidate for the post of secretary-general, they submit their recommendation to the General Assembly for a vote.

In the UN's 66-year history, every candidate proposed by the Security Council has been elected.

written by Nikola Krastev
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