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UN top job race: Tharoor to campaign from July 1

India's nominee for the post of UN Secy-Gen will travel to Gambia to muster support of 53 countries of Africa.

india Updated: Jun 25, 2006 22:30 IST

India's nominee for the post of UN Secretary-General, Shashi Tharoor, will launch his campaign this week when he travels to Gambia to muster support of 53 countries of Africa.

He will be in Gambia during the two-day African Union Summit from July 1, sources said on Sunday.

The visit, aimed at garnering support for Tharoor's candidacy for the top UN post, is expected to see him meeting leaders of various African countries, they said.

With the election process likely to start from next month, the UN Under Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information is expected to undertake visits to various other countries after his Gambia visit.

The countries likely to be visited by him include five Permanent Members of the Security Council, particularly China, considering the importance of their support, they said.

Tharoor, who was here last week, had remarked that anybody unacceptable to the Permanent Members of the Security Council will not be able to make it to the top UN post.

Significantly, the US has made some positive comments about Tharoor.

"Our administration has not yet made a decision on whom we will support to succeed Secretary-General Kofi Annan. But we certainly hold Shashi Tharoor in greatest regard and I look forward to meeting him in my office," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told reporters last week.

"It is too early for us to make a commitment but we certainly respect Mr Tharoor and I look forward to meeting him in a couple of weeks " Burns said.