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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

14 October 2006

U.S. Welcomes Ban Ki-moon as Next U.N. Leader

White House thanks Kofi Annan for supporting U.N. reforms

Washington – President Bush welcomes the appointment of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon as the next secretary-general of the United Nations, according to a White House press statement.

“Foreign Minister Ban assumes his role at a time of great challenge and opportunity at the United Nations,” the statement says. “We will rely on his leadership to help steer the U.N. Organization through the reforms already underway, and to propel the Organization even further on the path of reform.” 

The White House also extends appreciation to the outgoing U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, and describes him as “a tireless advocate for the ideals and promise of the United Nations Organization” whose “vision, initiatives, and strong support for reforming the United Nations have been essential for the progress achieved thus far.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton also welcomed Ban Ki‑moon’s appointment. 

"The United States has had the privilege to work with Foreign Minister Ban throughout his distinguished career, in Seoul, in Washington, and here in New York," Bolton said in a press release.  "We believe he is the right person to lead the United Nations at this decisive moment in its history, particularly as the U.N. struggles to fulfill the terms of the reform agenda that world leaders agreed to last fall."

The 15-member U.N. Security Council recommended Ban, one of seven candidates, for the post of secretary-general October 9.  The Korean diplomat also had been chosen in earlier informal polls.  (See related article.)

The U.N.’s 192-member General Assembly approved Ban's appointment by acclamation.  He will succeed Kofi Annan as the eighth secretary-general when Annan's second five-year term expires on January 1, 2007. 

Bolton encouraged the organization's member states to give Ban their support and extended appreciation to the other six candidates for the position -- Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai of Thailand, U.N. Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor of India, Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, and Ambassador Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan.

For more information on U.S. policy, see The United States and the United Nations.

The full text of the White House press statement is available on the White House Web site.

The full text of Ambassador Bolton's press release can be found at the Web site of the United States' Mission to the United Nations.  The full text of a related press statement is available on the State Department’s Web site.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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