UN takes historic step to open selection of new UN chief

Updated: 2016-04-13 07:42


UN takes historic step to open selection of new UN chief

This combination of file pictures shows candidates for the upcoming UN secretary-general election (from top left) former UN high commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) head Helen Clark, Montenegro's deputy prime minister Igor Luksic, director-general of UNESCO Irina Bokova, former minister of foreign affairs and European integration of Moldova Natalia Gherman, former president of Slovenia Danilo Turk, former Croatian foreign minister Vesna Pusic, and former prime minister of Macedonia and former UN General Assembly president Srgjan Kerim, created on April 12, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations took a historic step Tuesday to open up the usually secret process of selecting the next secretary-general, giving all countries the chance to question candidates on such issues as how they would resist pressure from powerful nations, tackle sex abuse by UN peacekeepers, and improve efforts to achieve peace.

Montenegro's Foreign Minister Igor Luksic was the first of eight candidates to face members of the UN General Assembly, citing his small Balkan nation's multiethnic and multicultural diversity as well as his experience as a former prime minister and defense minister in seeking the UN's top diplomatic post.

General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft called it "a historic moment ... without precedent at the United Nations."

"As the United Nations grapples with multiple crises and the organization deals with some fundamental questions regarding its own role and performance, finding the best possible candidates to succeed Ban Ki-moon is absolutely crucial," Lykketoft said. "For the first time since this organization started 70 years ago, the process for selecting and appointing the next secretary-general is being generally guided by the principles of transparency and inclusivity."

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