//India nominates Tharoor for UN top post

India nominates Tharoor for UN top post

At 50, Tharoor has written eight books and has received several journalism and literary awards, includingnd the Asia states who were up for the seat did not challenge the reelection.

India nominates Tharoor for UN top post - News India
Thursday, June 15, 2006 (New Delhi, New York):

India has nominated UN Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor for the post of the UN secretary general.

The final decision on Kofi Annan's successor is expected in October or November.

It has been 35 years since the UN was headed by an Asian secretary general, U Thant from Burma.

India has reason to be hopeful. The post of the secretary general is usually rotated between African, Asian, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, and western European and Other states after two five-year terms.

Kofi Annan, who succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt in 1997, was re-elected in 2001 aThis time, the African states have confirmed their support for an Asian candidate.

However, Tharoor is facing stiff competition from other candidates from the region, including South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and Sri Lankan diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala.

Long innings

Tharoor is presently handling the post of Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information in the UN.

He has also led the Department of Public Information (DPI) since January 2001.

He has been with the UN since 1978. He started with the UNHCR in 1978 and was involved during the Vietnamese boat people crisis.

He has served as head of peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia, as special assistant to the secretary general, and is also a well-known author. a Commonwealth Writers' Prize.

Educated in India and the United States, he completed a Ph D in 1978 at the age of 22 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Required support

India will now lobby hard for Tharoor with other nations.

The country will need nine of the 15 votes in the Security Council with no vetoes from the five permanent members.

US support for Tharoor's candidature will be crucial as he is considered close to Annan, and Washington doesn't see eye-to-eye with the current Secretary General.

"As far as we are concerned the support of his candidature is on his impeccable credentials, considerable achievements and tremendous experience in the UN," said MEA Spokesperson Navtej Sarna.

Clear stand

Tharoor is bullish on UN reforms as well as India's candidature for the UN Security Council. Speaking to NDTV in New York, Tharoor said he was extremely pleased to accept the privilege of the nomination.
"I am greatly honoured. I have been serving the United Nations for most of my adult life, and I've been working in various fields of the UN, so to be given an opportunity now to lead the institution is one that I consider a great privilege," he said.

He also said there was no magic wand that India could use to get a permanent seat on the Security Council.

"The Security Council issue is not new. There has been a process of reform of the Security Council. Its expansion, the question of membership, all of this has been on the anvil," he said.

"For 14 years various formulae have been discussed and so far there has been no consensus on the formula that would see this sort of expansion. My belief is that India will continue its excellent diplomatic work with other countries to find a formula that's acceptable to the vast majority of the members. But that is not something for today or tomorrow. That issue is very much for the long term," he added.

Tharoor also underlined how he would handle the problems between the US and the UN.

"The US is so indispensable to our functioning that there can be no secretary general who says he or she can do without the US. The US remains a fundamental partner and we would definitely look forward to working with the US, both in the process of working on this election and well beyond," he said.

It now remains to be seen whether his nomination will lead to his selection for the prestigious post.