Who Stays, Who Joins?
Debate intensified over the last few weeks as to new and renewable
appointments when Kofi Annan starts his second term. Diplomats
are reading more than usual into his visitors list and closely
watching tablemates in the Delegates Dining Room. The core team
will probably remain the same, with some promotions expected for
some associates and partial departure for those who spent ten
years as an assistant or undersecretary general. UNICEF chief
Carol Bellamy already got an extension, Mark Malloch-Brown in
UNDP has been strengthened by his designation as coordinator of
assistance to Afghan reconstruction, and consolidated by newly-appointed
advisors. They include Julia Taft, who hails from a traditional
Republican family, and the well-connected Harvard economist Jeffrey
Sachs. Ms. Obeid of UNFPA was just appointed one year ago. So
certain was it that WFO's Catherine Bertini would be replaced
by an Australian, that it was "fit to print" in The New York Times.
But her successor is in fact an American, James Morris.
Despite his divisive approach, chef de cabinet Iqbal Reza realizes
that it goes against Kofi Annan's nature to terminate his services.
But Reza continuously stresses how exhausting and demanding is
his job-just in case. There were some questions about senior Americans
in the Secretariat, mostly nominated by the Clinton administration.
The influential and determined undersecretary for administration,
Joseph Connor, has indicated that he will leave by year's end.
That leaves ample time for the Americans to decide whether they
want to replace him in that particular post or regain their earlier
position in charge of political affairs. As Mr. Connor has almost
accomplished his task of slashing the budget to the bone, there
may not be grave need for a high-level compatriot. It may be time
to place a political heavyweight on the 37th floor instead.
Ms. Gillian Sorensen, an outspoken Democrat, does not have the
same influence in Washington as she did under Clinton, but may
benefit from the Republicans' lack of time in which to focus on
internal UN appointments. One obstacle may relate to the unwritten
rule that no ASG/USG should serve more than ten years. That also
would apply to the unassuming Nitin Desai, the most senior Indian
official, who's experience could be used in leading the Environment
and Development Conference "Rio: Ten Years Later." This could
also work to the advantage of Nitin's compatriot, Shashi Tharoor.
Two definite changes will take place in Vienna and Geneva. Although
Pino Arlacchi's term was extended through June, the name of his
successor has already been leaked. The only question is whether
he will be a British or Iranian citizen. Vladimir Petrovsky will
be replaced by Sergei Ordzhonikidze in Geneva. Ambassador Sergei
Lavrov, a pillar of the Security Council, who had turned down
the Geneva post, may consider a post in New York.
With the East Timor mission slated to end in May, its leader,
Undersecretary Sergio Vieira de Mello, who also served in Kosovo,
will expect to receive a post commensurate with his performance
and dedication.But where?
Another Security Council permanent representative briefly mentioned
to replace Sir Kieran Prendergast in Political and Security Council
affairs was Sir Jeremy Greenstock,. However the senior UK Secretariat
official will extend his tenure. A newly-created post to lead
the campaign on behalf of the least-developed countries was thought
to be reserved for former Bangladeshi Ambassador Karimul Chowdhury,
but he is no longer in New York, and with a change in government,
he may not have the same support, although he certainly has the
Clearly there are more qualified candidates than there are posts;
more speculation than facts. In such matters, nothing is certain
until the press statement is released. A case in point was the
World Food Program appointment.