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Chinese, American get top UN posts

Updated: 2007-02-10 09:03
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United Nations -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed on Friday diplomats from China, the United States, Japan and Egypt as new under-secretaries-general, and accepted meanwhile resignations of 17 senior officials as a step forward for his long-waited administration.

Sha Zukang, permanent representative of China to the UN office at Geneva, was named as under-secretary-general for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Over his 37 years of diplomatic career, his portfolios cover a wide range of fields including security, economy, social affairs, human rights and humanitarian affairs.

B. Lynn Pascoe, US ambassador to Indonesia since November 2004, was appointed as under-secretary-general for the UN Department of Political Affairs. Pascoe, 64, previously served as US ambassador to Malaysia before he took up duties as deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs at the US State Department. He has also been posted to Moscow, Hong Kong, and Bangkok, as well as to Beijing twice.

Meantime, Ban named Kiyotaka Akasaka of Japan, currently deputy secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, as undersecretary-general for public information, and Egyptian Ambassador Muhammad Shaaban, a personal assistant to Egypt's foreign minister, as undersecretary-general for General Assembly and conference management.

Vijay Nambiar, Ban's chief of staff who announced Friday's appointments, said "in making these decisions, the secretary- general has taken into account various factors, among others the need to apply change with continuity, ongoing discussions on restructuring plans and the need to promote mobility at all levels. "

He said the secretary-general "is conscious that he needs to take advantage and in a sense leverage the experience that is there; he is also conscious of the need to build new talent and experience," adding that there will be other appointments for senior officials in the near future through a consultative process.

Nambiar also informed the reporters that Ban accepted resignations of several under-secretaries-general, including Chen Jian of China, who are now in charge of General Assembly and conference management, Shashi Tharoor of India for public information, Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria for political affairs, Nobuaki Tanaka of Japan for disarmament, and Jose Antonio Ocampo of Colombia for economic and social affairs.

However, Ban decided to leave some senior UN officials in their jobs, including Jean-Marie Guehenno of France as head of peacekeeping, David Veness of Britain as head of safety and security, and Nicholas Michel of Switzerland as legal counsel.

Ban required all the senior UN officials to voluntarily offer their resignation days after he took the office on January 1 so as to pave the way for his own team.