Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2001

Annan tapped for second term as U.N. chief

June 28, 2001

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— Both powerful and impoverished nations on the Security Council gave Kofi Annan a unanimous vote of confidence on Wednesday, nominating him for a second five-year term as secretary-general of the United Nations.

The official nomination by the 15 council members more than six months before Annan's first term expires on Dec. 31 paves the way for his re-election Friday by the 189-member General Assembly, now just a formality.

The speed and ease of Annan's nomination was a far cry from 1996 when the United States blocked his predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, from serving another five years.

The Egyptian was perceived as anti-American in Washington.

After announcing his candidacy in March, Annan quickly won support from the five veto-wielding council members the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China which is the key to victory, as well as from every regional group.

Traditionally, the U.N.'s top job rotates every 10 years by region, and Africa should in theory be handing over the spacious office on the 38th floor of the U.N. Secretariat building to Asia on Jan. 1.

But Annan, the 63-year-old son of a Ghanian businessman and Ashanti chief, will remain in the office, thereby giving Africa an unprecedented 15 years at the helm of the world body.

"I am deeply honored by the vote that has just taken place in the Security Council and I'm grateful for the trust and the support they have given me," Annan said Wednesday, shortly after the vote was announced.

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