Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Niranjan Deva-Aditya nominated by Fiji

September 6, 2006

From a press release from one of Deva’s aides:

It is announced today, 6th September 2006, that Niranjan Deva-Aditya has become an official candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary-General of the United Nations when he retires at the end of this year. Ambassador Deva-Aditya was nominated by the Republic of Fiji.

It includes excerpts from the letter itself:

I am writing to request you to add the name of Niranjan Deva-Aditya, Ambassador-at-Large of Sri Lanka to your list of Candidates. Ambassador Deva is a unique Candidate – a Sri Lankan citizen with family, roots, and businesses in Sri Lanka – he has become a global personality, making a significant contribution to global politics, aid and development at the multilateral level.

Regarding Dhanapala, a fellow Sri Lankan, Deva says:

Although I am an Asian and a Sri Lankan citizen, I do not seek to be a Sri Lankan nominee, as Sri Lanka fielded an excellent candidate as long ago as December 4th 2004.

Note that Deva claims to have more support and he has recently been to China.

Who else is out there? Annan has been talking about a female successor again.

Immediate consequences:

Dhanapala’s candidacy is even more impossible. To do this, Deva has to have evidence that there has been a collapse of Dhanapala’s support. He already has some support inside his own country.

Three South Asian Candidates. Why? And why have two more candidates entered? What do they know about Ban Ki-moon’s support and Shashi Tharoor’s support that others do not know?

Prince Zeid enters UNSG race

September 5, 2006

Count us surprised. The Associated Press has the most interesting coverage that we have seen. In its coverage, they quote his status as a Muslim candidate:

“We believe there is considerable scope to be given by the Security Council and the General Assembly to a Muslim candidate who is familiar with the UN but not of the UN,” Zeid told The Associated Press.

He said considering a Muslim candidate was especially important in light of recent events, which include the Israeli-Hizbullah conflict, an upsurge in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in Gaza, and Iran’s refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

Note, not much word of “North versus South” here. We still don’t have the announcement and there is nothing on the Foreign Ministry’s website.
What are the implications? Surely the US has expressed dissatisfaction with the field of candidates and support for Zeid in particular. But can a candidate openly supported by the US and royalty go far?

More details soon.

Uganda and Kenya support Shashi

September 4, 2006

The Indian Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs was in Africa recently and claims to have Uganda’s and Kenya’s support for Shashi Tharoor, reports the Indian press:

Two key African countries Uganda and Kenya have expressed their support to India’s claim for permanent membership of UN Security Council and Shashi Tharoor’s candidature for the post of UN Secretary General.

The support was conveyed to Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi during his visit to these countries which concluded yesterday.

Recently, Ravi has committed India’s support for Uganda’s hydro-electrical sector. It appears that he has also asked both of these countries to help get support from other African Union countries.

Note that last week, there was quite a lot of activity involving Ghana.

What’s up with Ghana?

August 30, 2006

Ban Ki-moon and Surakiart Sathirathai are actively wooing Ghana right now.

A special envoy of the President of South Korea was in Ghana today to deliver a message about the UNSG race:

According to a Ghanaian news agency the content of the message was not disclosed but was believed to be bordering around South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki- Moon’s campaign bid to head the United Nations.

At the same time, Sathirathai was meeting with the VP of Ghana in Bangkok:

He used his one-and-half-hour meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Surakiart Sathirathai in Bangkok to explain why the two developing countries should share expertise in cassava and fish production with emphasis on tuna in Ghana for the economic advantage of the two countries.

What is all the excitement about? Does Ghana want their money?

Bangladesh pushes for a single SAARC candidate

July 1, 2006

Yesterday, Morshed Khan, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, argued for a single SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation – essentially the geographic Indian subcontinent) candidate for UN Secretary General. This is an interesting development, given that both India and Sri Lanka, SAARC members, have nominees, and it is our understanding that Mr. Khan favours one of the unannounced candidates. Khan echoes similar concerns from Asian countries such as China, who worry about the lack of Asian unity in deciding upon a candidate.

UNSG race as North versus South

June 22, 2006

Bloomberg has an interesting article on the UNSG race today. It seems to argue that this race is simply North versus South or P5 versus GA. The Egyptian Ambassador says that the GA may reject the UNSC's pick:

We want a greater say. The General Assembly made a mistake by never turning down a candidate from the Security Council. It might happen this year.

The Indian Ambassador says:

"Things have to be different … This is a year of reform. The world has changed. The Cold War has ended and democracy is expanding. This should be reflected in the selection process.

This is interesting from Shashi's campaign manager. Of course, Shashi is running an incredibly public campaign. While still primarily in India, he is speaking to the press about his candidacy, something that other candidates simply are not doing in the same way. He is making policy statements to the microphone, not in papers or meetings.

The article also points out the management fights:

The U.S., EU and Japan, which together contribute 80 percent of the UN's budget, have threatened to cut their support unless the General Assembly — which consists of the world body's 191 members — cedes more control to the secretary- general over spending and the hiring and firing of employees.

In this context, Shashi is talking about his own management at the UN:

I am absolutely convinced that reforms are essential. I set about reforming my own department, which was in a bad shape and even shut down eight offices in the West. It's a model for the rest of the secretariat

Perhaps Pakistan is saying it best now:

it will be critical that the new guy come in and put the building back together.

Shashi on his own candidacy

June 20, 2006

The day after his nomination, Shashi spoke to UNA-USA on UN reform:

Mr. Tharoor believes his nomination – in particular the way it was presented – is the first example of the new, more open process of nominating a Secretary General. The process has started out much more transparently and openly than in the past, when decisions were made in secret conversations held in 'smoke-filled rooms'.  States are hoping the change the process in other ways as well – suggestions have emerged for having hearings or consultations with candidates, in front of member states or regional groups.

Unfortunately, UNA-USA did not report many of his comments on reform. It seems that making statements on reform is a necessary part of the campaign (see Ban's and Dhanapala's). We do not believe we've heard anything from Sathirathai.

With the evidence suggesting that Shashi is the candidate of the NGO and UN insider crowd, we wonder how many more events like this will be sponsored by UN related groups.

It’s all about Asia

May 2, 2006

Given the previous announcements of Greece, China, Russia, and other Security Council candidates, it is clear that the next Secretary-General will be of Asian origin. It is equally clear that candidates such as Suriakart Sathirathai and Shashi Tharoor are dead on arrival (one for failing to maintain democracy in his home country, the other due to his status as Kofi Annan's protege). Therefore, we have Ban Ki-Moon, who has campaigned astutely (with the notable failure of his overtly eager courtship of the US as evinced by http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=36833), Jayanatha Dhanapala, who, in his year of campaigning, has failed to excite or garner the endorsement of another country, and several unannounced candidates.

This is bolstered by a recent declaration. The 114-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the largest single political coalition at the United Nations, has now joined the Asian Group and the African Group in declaring its public support for an Asian as the new SG.

In a letter to NAM members, the current chair, Ambassador Hamidon Ali of Malaysia, said last week that "the Non-Aligned Movement at its meeting at the ambassadorial level has decided that the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations, who will succeed Kofi Annan of Ghana, shall be selected from a state member of the Organization (NAM) from the Asian region."

Even though South Korea is part of the Asian Group at the United Nations, the NAM decision rules out their support for the South Korean candidate, Ban ki Moon because Seoul is not a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. Ban's apparent support for the war in Iraq is another potential Achilles' heel.

It also rules out their support for a Turkish candidate (nor is Turkey even a member of the Asian Group at the UN).

In the scuttlebutt section, the Indian foreign ministry is apparently reassuring politcians that Shashi Tharoor will not be their candidate for UNSG. Sources from China have apparently doubled-back on the reputed endorsement of Suriakiart Sathirathai as UNSG due to the recent situation in Thailand, and the foreign minister of a major Muslim country has had an extremely favourable meeting with one of the unannounced candidates.

Ban’s campaign trips

April 6, 2006

Ban Ki-moon is taking a lot of trips.

Registan.net has details of the trip in Uzbekistan, including a list of agreements signed. The Korea Times reports that this included a $30m loan for IT training. Is Mr. Ban passing out foreign aid to gather support?

Given that he has the support of North Korea and Egypt, two other human rights violators, one also wonders what his stands are on human rights. How does he feel about Human Rights Council reforms?

Next he goes to Europe. Pravda says:

Ban will begin his tour of Europe on Thursday, which will take him to Austria , Denmark , Greece , Slovakia and the Vatican . At the Vatican , Ban said he will deliver an invitation from South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun for the pope to visit South Korea . Ban has also been traveling recently as part of his campaign for the position of U.N. secretary-general.  

This is transparently a campaign trip. Greece, Slovakia, and Denmark are on the Security Council. Austria is the current President of the EU. And the Vatican is an opinion leader in the Catholic world, including Latin America.

The Korean press is also reporting a trip to Morocco in the future.

We imagine that Sathirathai will have a more restricted travel schedule. What about Deva and Dhanapala?

Vote Count

April 5, 2006

Part of the reason that this blog was started was to make it easier to follow the race. Therefore, we are going to keep an ongoing list of the endorsements. This list is surely incomplete, so we urge our readers to correct and supplement it:

Ban:

North Korea (and here)

Uzbekistan

Egypt

Dhanapala:

Sri Lanka

Sathirathai:

ASEAN

Malaysia

China