Asian Security Council President Proposes Annan Extension

With the five permanent members supporting another term for Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as official expressions of support from the Arab and African group, the only remaining question was when the Security Council nomination would occur, and when the General Assembly would meet to approve the decision.

Bangladesh Ambassador Anwerul Karim Chowdhury, who presided over the Council for the month of June, delivered the answer. Chowdhury was himself a potential candidate (when there was talk of "Asia's turn"), and he demonstrated a realistic attitude by first trying to get the Asian group to endorse Annan, then establishing June 26 as the day for the Security Council to nominate Annan for a second term.

It may be a coincidence, but making the nomination is more likely a symbolic move by one of Asia's representatives in the Council. Going to the Assembly the same month with the nomination would take the Bangladesh Ambassador to the rostrum to introduce the Council: report and officially nominate Mr. Annan for a second term. That will mean five more years for the African global diplomat. But it will also ensure the continued presence of Mr. Chowdhury in New York, even after his country leaves its Security Council seat by the end of the year, or he leaves his governmental position due to new elections. Chowdhury is an experienced internationalist who has worked for UNICEF and other UN programs before taking his current post.

Incidentally, when the African group officially proposed a renewed mandate last month, some Asians, who had claimed their turn, said they will be supportive if the Africans agree that the next Secretary General hail from Asia.

Well, why not? But who knows what will happen in the next five years: Will Japan be ready? Will China have definite views on who to veto or who not to veto? Will Kofi Annan break a record? Perhaps there will be an open field. In politics, and especially in international life, five years is a long time!