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China: Thai Coup Complicates UN Race

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2006-09/22/content_694437.htm China: Coup Complicates UN Race In the United Nations, China s UN ambassador said the coup
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 25, 2006
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      http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2006-09/22/content_694437.htm

      China: Coup Complicates UN Race

      In the United Nations, China's UN ambassador said the
      coup complicates Thaksin's candidacy to be the next UN
      secretary-general.

      The race to succeed Secretary-General Kofi Annan,
      whose second five-year term ends Dec. 31, is one of
      the hottest behind-the-scenes issues at the UN General
      Assembly.

      Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai was
      the first candidate to enter the race, and he won
      backing from the 10-member Association of Southeast
      Asian Nations at last year's General Assembly
      ministerial meeting.

      Surakiart was in New York with Prime Minister Thaksin
      Shinawatra when the military launched a bloodless coup
      Tuesday. He flew to London with the former prime
      minister, and was due back in Thailand Thursday.

      "The interim government has already said that they
      continue to back Dr. Surakiart as the
      secretary-general," Sihasak Phuangketkeow, the Thai
      Foreign Ministry's deputy permanent secretary said
      after a meeting on the sidelines of the General
      Assembly.

      But China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said Wednesday
      that, "I think definitely the situation in Thailand
      makes this issue more complicated."

      Traditionally, the United Nation's top job rotates
      every 10 years by region.

      Africa, in theory, should have handed over the
      secretary-general's spacious office to Asia on Jan. 1,
      2002. But Annan was selected for a second term in
      2001, in part because Asia could not agree on a
      candidate, giving Africa an unprecedented 15 years at
      the helm of the world body.

      When Annan was elected, African and Asian nations
      agreed that the next secretary-general should be
      Asian, though US Ambassador John Bolton has said the
      job should go to the best-qualified candidate.

      There are currently seven candidates and more could
      emerge. The newest, Afghanistan's former finance
      minister Ashraf Ghani, officially entered the race on
      Wednesday when he was nominated by President Hamid
      Karzai.

      The Afghan government said Ghani, the chancellor of
      Kabul University who spent 10 years working in China,
      India and Russia for the World Bank, "is uniquely
      equipped" to lead the UN now, when imagination and
      leadership are needed to promote security and
      development.

      In addition to Surakiart, he faces South Korean
      Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon; UN
      undersecretary-general for public affairs Shashi
      Tharoor of India; Jordan's UN Ambassador Prince Zeid
      al Hussein; former UN disarmament chief Jayantha
      Dhanapala of Sri Lanka; and Latvian President Vaira
      Vike-Freiberga, the only non-Asian.

      In an informal, secret poll of the 15 Security Council
      members on Thursday, before Vike-Freiberga entered the
      race, South Korea's Ban came in first followed by
      India's Tharoor. Surakiat was third, with Jordan's
      Zeid fourth and Dhanapala fifth.

      Thailand's Sihasak said "ASEAN has indicated that they
      continue to back Surakiart as the new
      secretary-general."

      "I think the strength of Dr. Surakiart is first of all
      his qualifications. Second Thailand, our country, has
      always played a moderating role in international
      affairs, a bridge builder," he said.
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