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Ban Ki-Moon

Pledges to be a harmoniser and bridge-builder.








UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. General Assembly voted unanimously to give Ban Ki-moon a second term as Secretary-General on Tuesday, praising him for strengthening the world body's role and visibility in difficult circumstances.

The 192-member assembly applauded loudly as it adopted a resolution giving the 67-year-old South Korean diplomat another five years at the helm of the U.N.

Assembly President Joseph Deiss banged his gavel and proclaimed Mr. Ban's selection by acclamation to a new term starting January 1.

Mr. Ban announced earlier this month that he wanted a second term. He faced no opposition and was recommended by the Security Council for the new term last Friday. All regional groups endorsed him, and their chairs joined in sponsoring the Assembly resolution.

After the vote, the Secretary-General was escorted to the podium where Mr. Deiss told him, “In a complex, difficult international environment, you have strengthened the role and the visibility of the United Nations by adopting reform measures, launching exciting, innovative initiatives, and calling faithfully and constantly for respect for human rights, the rule of law and the other values rooted in our charter.”

Mr. Ban took the oath of office from Mr. Deiss, raising his right hand and holding his left hand on the original U.N. Charter, which was flown to New York from Washington where it is kept in the U.S. National Archives.

Mr. Ban has been criticised for his low-key style, his lack of charisma, and his failure to criticise human rights abuses in powerful countries.

But he has won praise for his commitment to climate change, nuclear disarmament and women's issues, his strong backing of pro-democracy movements in North Africa and West Asia, and for supporting military intervention in Ivory Coast and Libya.

Calling his re-election a humbling and “very great honour beyond expression”, Mr. Ban pledged to keep leading the world body “as a harmoniser and as a bridge-builder” at a time of global change. The role of the U.N., said Mr. Ban, was to lead the new interconnected world. “To lead, we must deliver the results,” he said. “We need results that people can see and touch, results that change lives, make a difference.” — AP


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