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Blair's sights on top UN job

The speculation that the British PM may take-over the top job at a revamped UN after he quits Downing Street has resurfaced in much more definitive term.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2006 12:48 IST
Vijay Dutt

The speculation that British Prime Minister Tony Blair may take-over the top job at a revamped United Nations after he quits Downing Street has resurfaced in much more definitive term.

For the first time, Downing Street refused to rule out the possibility. Although a spokesman added that it was highly unlikely that a Briton would be selected to succeed Kofi Annan, who ends his term on December 31 this year.

He also pointed out that the job had been earmarked for an Asian national and had never gone to anyone from among the permanent five members of the UN Security Council.

But Americans are expected to back him along with quite a few countries in Europe as well as in Asia.

His popularity in the US is well-known, as is his proximity to both President George Bush and the former US President Bill Clinton, who in fact suggested Blair’s name a few months ago, saying he was eminently suited for the UN post.

Both presidents will like to have a friend at the UN, particularly in view of differences in perception of issues with other member countries in the Security Council. Hillary Clinton could also be the next tenant of White House, and her husband would then prefer Blair at the UN.

The buzz in diplomatic circles about Blair getting the post grew following his speech at Georgetown University in which he outlined his personal blueprint for UN reform, which was described as a sort of job application. 

In the part of the speech that caught the attention of diplomats, Blair said the world’s multinational organisations were completely ill suited to the 21st century. There was a hopeless mismatch between the challenges at the global level and the global institutions to face them.

The only, but major, snag to Blair getting the top UN job is that China is reportedly adamant that the job go to an Asian.