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China, US hold key to new UN chief's post

Written by: Staff

United Nations, Sep 10: The United Nations Security Council is likely to hold two more straw polls in the run-up to the selection of a new Secretary-General.

Washington and Beijing are expected to play a major role in the selection of a successor to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, according to diplomatic sources, who said the ultimate choice should also speak some French - the UN's other working language - in order to satisfy Paris.

China and its neighbors are keen that an Asian should succeed Annan.

All the five current contenders are Asians, including Ban Ki Moon of South Korea and Shashi Tharoor of India, who emerged at the top.

The United States does not support any of them, according to current indications. The chances of its likely candidate former president Bill Clinton succeeding Annan are not bright.

With the possibility of a Fiji nominee Nirj Deva, a British national of Sri Lankan origin, contesting in the election, the number of candidates running for the UN chief posts will be five.

It is not clear that Deva will be the official Fiji candidate.

The second and third straw polls are likely to be held on September 14 and 28. The first was held on July 24. The decision on straw polls was announced by Greek envoy Adamantios Vassilakis, who is the president of the Security Council for this month. The Greek envoy hinted the possibility of the sixth candidate also.

Sri Lanka and Thailand have their own candidates.

There have been seven people, who held the UN chief's post-three were European, one South American, one Asian and two African.


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