Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ghanaian to Be New U.N. Leader

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ghanaian to Be New U.N. Leader

Article excerpt

Kofi Annan of Ghana, an urbane, soft-spoken insider who runs U.N. peacekeeping operations, was chosen Friday by the Security Council to become the world body's seventh secretary-general.

Council President Francesco Paolo Fulci of Italy said the 15-member council agreed on Annan, 58, to succeed Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt.

The council made its decision after France dropped its opposition to Annan. It reached accord on a new secretary-general Friday morning and then convened again Friday evening to formalize the decision. Annan's name will be referred to the 185-member General Assembly for ratification, probably Tuesday. Ratification is merely a formality. His five-year term would begin Jan. 1. Annan's unanimous selection defused what could have been a wrenching succession struggle after the United States defied the rest of the council and vetoed Boutros-Ghali, 74, on Nov. 19. The United States contended that Boutros-Ghali had been sluggish in promoting reform. The United States, France and the other permanent council members - Britain, China and Russia - have veto power in council votes. France, which supported Boutros-Ghali, opposed the U.S.-educated Annan, in part because he was Washington's favorite. The French dropped their opposition after the rest of the council, including Egypt, lined up behind him. After the U.S. veto of Boutros-Ghali, France had backed Ivory Coast Foreign Minister Amara Essy. Annan said his main goal would be to work closely with the member states to decide "what sort of U.N. we want in the 21st century and in a climate where financial resources are diminishing." "I also want to work closely with the member states to put the U.N. on a sound financial basis," Annan said. "I hope to make the U.N. an organiz ation of `we the people' by opening it up to the public with good programs and seeking their support. …

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