[ 2006-10-08 08:54 ]
|South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, seen
here in September 2006, who is expected to be confirmed as UN
secretary general on Monday, would be willing to visit North Korea
to negotiate an end to its nuclear program, foreign ministry
officials in Seoul said.[AFP]|
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, set to be formally endorsed
as UN chief Kofi Annan's successor Monday, is the only candidate left in
the race as all other contenders withdrew, a UN spokeswoman said.
All six rivals who initially threw their
hats into the ring have informed the Security Council that
they were withdrawing their candidacies, UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe
The last to pull out were Indian diplomat Shashi Tharoor, the UN
undersecretary general for communications and public information who
finished second to Ban in informal straw
polls, and former Thai deputy prime minister Surakiart
Earlier Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Jordan's UN ambassador
Prince Zeid al-Hussein, Afghanistan's former finance minister Ashraf Ghani
and Sri Lankan diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala also withdrew.
Last Monday Ban, 62, won a decisive fourth straw poll in the Security
Council after securing crucial backing from its five veto-wielding
permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States).
He had already won three previous polls by a wide margin.
Under the UN Charter, the secretary general is elected by the
192-member General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.
After its formal vote next Monday, the Security Council is widely
expected to recommend that the 192-member General Assembly in turn endorse
Ban to succeed Annan when the Ghanaian UN chief steps down at the end of
December after 10 years in office.
throw their hats into the ring: