France and US lock horns over selection of UN chief
Thursday 12 December 1996
Further rounds of secret voting in the council yesterday confirmed Kofi Annan, the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping from Ghana, as the front-runner to replace Boutros Boutros Ghali whose term expires at the end of December. Critically, however, the straw-poll voting showed opposition to Mr Annan from one of the council's permanent five - widely assumed to be France.
France has been a supporter of a second term for Mr Boutros Ghali, whose candidature was vetoed by the United States three weeks ago. Most observers believe France is respond-ing to the American veto by exercising its equal right to veto Mr Annan. Mr Annan is backed by the US. Britain appears to support him, though with less obvious enthusiasm.
Additional voting rounds were expected this week to assess the solidity of the French position. Supporters of Mr Annan are crossing fingers that Paris, once it has made its point to the US, can be persuaded to back down and allow his selection.
Consistent opposition by France to Mr Annan could kill his candidacy, however. There are three other new candidates from Africa, which, by unwritten convention, can expect to have one of their own in the Secretary General's office for the next five years. But so far none have attracted sufficient support to be electable. His closest rival is Amara Essy, the Foreign Minister of Ivory Coast. He got six votes in his favour yesterday, against 11 for Mr Annan.
It is far from clear whether France's objections to Mr Annan are anything but political. An urbane, popular figure, he has dedicated his life to the organisation and at 58 is seen as a competent, if unexciting, candidate for its most senior position. "This is about France's political pique with the United States," one diplomat said. "I don't think the French have anything to say about Annan in terms of his qualifications, they just want to tell the Americans, `We can play that game too' ".
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...