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Thailand to seek ASEAN support for UN candidate

The candidacy of caretaker Dy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai is high on the agenda at the ASEAN foreign ministers retreat.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 13:17 IST

Thailand will try to firm up support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a ministerial meeting this week in Bali for its candidate to be the next head of the UN, a news report said on Tuesday.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kitti Wasinondh told Thai News Agency that the candidacy of caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai is high on the agenda at the ASEAN foreign ministers retreat to be held on Wednesday.

ASEAN is the only group to have come out in support of Surakiart's bid to be the next UN secretary general after Kofi Annan retires at the end of this year.

Surakiart, a former foreign minister under the first administration of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, faces competition from candidates from South Korea and Sri Lanka among other countries for the UN seat.

According to UN protocol, the next UN head should be an Asian, although, given the need for UN reforms and the emergence of Eastern Europe as a new bloc on the international arena, there have been calls to open the competition to candidates from other parts of the world.

Critics find fault with Surakiart for initiating a diplomatic push to solve Myanmar's political stalemate when he was foreign minister, which ultimately failed.

Myanmar's slow-paced political reforms and the regime's refusal to release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is also expected to be on the agenda at the ASEAN Bali retreat.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

First Published: Apr 18, 2006 13:17 IST