Friday, June 17, 2011

Cuba, others cause trouble in U.N. re-election - envoys

Cuba, others cause trouble in U.N. re-election - envoys
Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:30am GMT
By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council Thursday delayed by
a day its vote to recommend Ban Ki-moon for a second term as U.N. chief
after Cuba and other Latin American countries declined to endorse him,
envoys said.

"Cuba's causing difficulties with GRULAC (Group of Latin American and
Caribbean Countries), but it's just procedural," a Western diplomat told
Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"Ban's going to win, though it's unclear whether GRULAC will endorse him
as a bloc," the diplomat added.

Cuba's U.N. mission issued a statement denying Havana was the reason the
process had been held up, adding, "Nor has it been opposed to this

A spokesman for Cuba's mission declined to comment when asked whether
the statement meant his mission would now vote in favour of a GRULAC
endorsement of the U.N. chief.

A senior U.N. official confirmed that Cuba was not alone and that other
Latin American countries including Mexico, Guatemala and Paraguay had
raised concerns. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said Mexico
suggested there should be more than one candidate for the top U.N. job.

Diplomats said the Security Council vote on whether to recommend the
former South Korean foreign minister for a second five-year term as U.N.
secretary-general starting in January 2012 had been postponed until
Friday at 11 a.m. (3 p.m. British time)

It was not immediately clear what specific reason Cuba might have for
not supporting a GRULAC endorsement of Ban, but Western diplomats say
Havana sees the secretary-general as under U.S. influence.


Diplomats said there was an inconclusive GRULAC meeting on Thursday
afternoon and another one scheduled before Friday's council meeting to
see if the bloc could agree to endorse Ban.

If GRULAC was unable to back Ban, who is so far the only candidate for
the post, it would have no impact on the voting process. But it might be
embarrassing for the U.N. chief, who diplomats say would like to have
the official support of all 192 member states and all regional groups.

Ban, who was visiting Brazil Thursday, did not comment directly on the
delay, telling reporters in Brasilia, "I expect that member states will
take positive consideration for my humble desire to serve this great

Brazilian diplomats said late Thursday the country would support Ban's
re-election bid.

Officially, U.N. secretaries-general are elected by the General Assembly
on the recommendation of the Security Council. In reality, it is the
five permanent veto-wielding council members -- Britain, China, France,
Russia and the United States -- that decide who gets the job.

All five permanent council members have said they support Ban's re-election.

The General Assembly is expected to formally approve Ban's second term

Ban has been touring Latin America this week to meet with regional
leaders. He has not visited Cuba.

(Additional reporting by Raymond Colitt in Brasilia, Editing by Peter

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