Sri Lanka backs Korea’s candidate for UN secretary general

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 October 2006, 04:21 GMT]
Having pulled its own candidate, Jayantha Dhanapala, out of the race to succeed Kofi Annan as UN secretary general, Sri Lanka is backing has thrown its backing behind South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon, AFP reported this weekend. Annan has served two five-year terms and his successor is widely expected to come from Asia under an unwritten rule of regional rotation. Apart from Mr. Ban, other Asian candidates are India's Shashi Tharoor, Annan's under secretary general for communications and Surakiart Sathirathai, a deputy prime minister of the recently ousted Thai regime.

Sri Lanka’s candidate, Jayantha Dhanapala announced his withdrawal after finishing last in three informal polls among members of the UN Security Council over who will succeed Annan, who steps down at the end of the year.

Dhanapala, 67, is an adviser to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse. His exit leaves Ban and five other candidates in the race.

Apart from India's Tharoor and Thailand’s Sathirathai, Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Jordan's UN ambassador Prince Zeid Al-Hussein and former Afghan finance minister Ashraf Ghani are vying for the job.

"Sri Lanka ... has now decided not to further pursue the candidature of Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala in the interest of ensuring a consensus in electing an Asian candidate," the foreign ministry said on Saturday.

The government said it hoped its action would help Ban, the South Korean foreign minister and front-runner for the UN's top job.


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