Vike-Freiberga undeterred in U.N. secretary general bid

  • 2006-09-19
  • By TBT staff
RIGA, Sept. 19 's Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga told a news conference in New York on Sept. 18 that she is still determined in her bid to become the next U.N. secretary general, despite opposition from Russia and China.

China would like to see a candidate from Asia take the post, which has never been held by anyone from the world's largest continent. The five other nominees for the post are all Asian. Russia has had a troubled relationship with Latvia since it gained its independence in 1991. Both countries hold veto rights in the U.N. Security Council that elects the leader.
#If we are to live in an increasingly fair, just and equal world, (then) we would like to see women assume all possible positions of responsibilities in the world, including that as secretary-general,# Vaira Vike-Freiberga said. The post has never before been held by a woman and all other candidates at the moment are men.

#If I was a betting person, I would not bet my life savings on it, but you've got to realize that everything is possible,# Vike-Freiberga said. #Unlikely things do happen.#
Candidates from once-communist Eastern or Central Europe had been ineligible for the post in the past.
#I think that too many women, in too many ways, have allowed themselves to be discouraged by the knowledge that there are all-boys clubs operating, that the boys get together, that they make deals,# she said.

When asked about Vike-Freiberga's candidacy at a separate news conference, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he was in favor of giving the post to a candidate from Central Europe. He added though that the Latvian president should have engaged in #close consultation# with other countries of the region instead of just the three Baltic states that nominated her for the post.
Vike-Freiberga is in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly session of presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers, which begins on Sept. 19.

The Security Council, made up also of France, the U.K. and the U.S., will elect the next secretary general sometime in the next few months.
South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-Moon, East Timor's Minister for Foreign Affairs & Cooperation Jose Ramos-Horta and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai
Sri Lanka has nominated Jayantha Dhanapala, Senior Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka, and India has nominated Shashi Tharoor, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.