General Assembly endorses Annan


THE General Assembly yesterday appointed Mr Kofi Annan (58), a UN career official from Ghana, by acclamation to a five-year term as secretary-general of the United Nations, from January 1st, 1997.

Mr Annan, currently undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, will be the seventh secretary-general in the history of the 51-year-old organisation. He will be the first from sub-Sahara Africa and the first to have risen through the ranks of the UN bureaucracy. The 15-member Security Council nominated Mr Annan last Friday to the $205,809 a year post, making his appointment by the Assembly a formality.

He will succeed the Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali (74) of Egypt, to whom the Assembly paid tribute in a second resolution adopted by acclamation. The United States blocked Dr Boutros-Ghali's hopes for a second term as secretary-general, saying he had not done enough to carry out reforms.

Dr Boutros-Ghali's predecessors as secretary-general were: Mr Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru (1982-1991), who attended yesterday's gala ceremony; Dr Kurt Waldheim of Austria (1972-1981); U Thant of Burma (1961-1971); Dag Hammarskjoeld of Sweden (1953-1961); and Trygve Lie of Norway (1946-1953).

In a thinly veiled jab at the United States the outgoing secretary-general said that the world body's financial crisis was not caused by mismanagement.

"We know what causes it and what is needed to end it," he told the General Assembly in a farewell address. "It is not the result of mismanagement. It is the refusal to fulfil a treaty obligation. Now that a new secretary-general is being appointed, all arrears should be paid at once, as has been promised so often in the past few months."