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Swiss put forward views on Annan successor

Kofi Annan is in his last year at the head of the UN Keystone

Switzerland says it supports reforms to give the United Nations General Assembly more power in the selection of the new secretary-general.

This content was published on April 20, 2006 - 09:05

Kofi Annan, who has held the position since 1997, is due to be replaced by the end of this year.

Currently, the post of secretary-general is filled by the General Assembly, based on the recommendation of the Security Council.

Switzerland is critical of that procedure. At a working group meeting in New York on Wednesday, Swiss representative Andreas Baum said the current approach did not allow for a proper assessment of potential candidates.

Baum said Switzerland supported a Canadian initiative which calls for the adoption of a yet to be determined mechanism to enable the General Assembly to get to know and assess the different candidates.

Vision wanted

He added that this would allow the candidates the possibility to present themselves to member states and present – "more importantly" – their vision and concepts of the role of the secretary-general.

Switzerland believes the best candidate will be committed to the objectives and principles of the UN, be willing to pursue reforms begun under Annan, and promote the newly established UN bodies: the Human Rights Council to be based in Geneva and the Peacebuilding Commission.

The Security Council would still be allowed to make its recommendation, but the General Assembly would be under no pressure to rubber stamp the Council's choice.

It will be the first time that Switzerland takes part in the secretary-general selection process.

It joined the UN in 2002.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

UN secretaries-general:
1946-1952 Trygve Lie (Norway)
1953-1961 Dag Hammarskjöld (Sweden)
1961-1971 U Thant (Myanmar)
1972-1981 Kurt Waldheim (Austria)
1982-1991 Javier Perez de Cuellar (Peru)
1992-1996 Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt)
1997-2006 Kofi Annan (Ghana)

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In brief

Since Switzerland joined the UN four years ago, it has supported the reform process.

It is in favour of the enlargement of the Security Council (currently 15 members), and recommended the creation of the Human Rights Council, which was recently approved and will replace the discredited Human Rights Commission this summer.

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