Sri Lanka News

The most talked about news on Sri Lanka

UN’s rising star wants ambassador role for Blair

David Smith
Sunday July 23, 2006
The Observer

The United Nations should recruit stars such as Bono and Bob Geldof to inject the kind of passion seen in the Make Poverty History campaign, according to one of the leading candidates to succeed Kofi Annan as its secretary general.

Jayantha Dhanapala, a senior adviser to the Sri Lankan President, said he would like to give Tony Blair an ambassadorial role similar to that of Bill Clinton after he quits Downing Street.

The UN security council is due to hold a ballot this week on the four Asian official candidates to replace Annan, who will have completed two five-year terms as secretary general when he steps down at the end of this year. Asian countries have argued that it is ‘their turn’ to claim the top UN job on the ground of regional rotation. US President George Bush recently supported their claim.

At the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, Dhanapala told The Observer: ‘Africa is a continent where we are lagging behind most and I think we need to have a major effort on behalf of everybody to do what people like Sir Bob Geldof and Bono and others are so passionately involved in. We need to see that passion writ large through the United Nations in order to bring the people who live below the poverty line above the poverty line.

‘Coming, as I do, from a developing country, I feel very strongly committed to moving on that. It is a tide that will lift all boats.’

Dhanapala, a former UN under-secretary-general for disarmament affairs, has worked with Hollywood actor Michael Douglas in Albania and Sierra Leone, and praised the recent activism of actress Angelina Jolie. He continued: ‘We have Bill Clinton already using his enormous energy and charisma. He came to Sri Lanka just after the tsunami and I know he had a tremendous impact on the people because of his very genuine compassion for the suffering of the people. I’m sure that Tony Blair, if his services are available, would be used by the UN for similar purposes.’

The 67-year-old, regarded as too old by some critics, admitted that the UN has a credibility problem after several scandals. The other Asian candidates are Shashi Tharoor of India, the UN’s under-secretary general for communications and public information, Surakiart Sathirathai, deputy prime minister of Thailand, and the South Korean foreign minister, Ban Ki-Moon.

Volcker commission report on UN oil-for-food

Useful links
UN website
Wikipedia: Kofi Annan

(Source: Global Order)


July 23, 2006 - Posted by | Media, Media Journalism, News, News and politics, Press Release, South Asia, World News

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