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Russian diplomat: Debates over election of UN chief are getting heated

October 03, 15:38 UTC+3
The list of candidates now includes ten names, while the frontrunner is Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres
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Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres

Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres

© EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/. The process of election of the United Nations secretary general is entering a final stage, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Monday.

"We are entering the final stage of this process," he told a news conference. "As we are getting closer to this moment of truth, the interest of states and political debates around this issue are getting heated."

Russia hindering no candidate for UN chief 

According to the diplomat, Russia has been maintaining contacts with all candidates for the post of the UN secretary general and is not hindering any of them.

"I have met with both Irina Bokova and Kristalina Georgieva and the minister [Sergey Lavrov] has met with them, too," Gatilov said. "We listen to everyone and reject no one. We have been in contact with all the candidates on the list, they all came to Moscow, and the minister had meetings with most of them on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Ministerial week."

"We do not veto anyone or hinder anyone’s participation in the electoral race," Gatilov added.

The current United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who took his office on January 1, 2007, is to leave the post on December 31, 2016 when his second term expires. Under the current rules, he cannot run for a third five-year office term. Notably, it has been agreed not to elect to this post representatives from either of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, namely Russia, China, Great Britain, the United States and France, to ensure the secretary general’s maximum objectiveness.

Under the existing procedure, a candidate is to be recommended by the United Nations Security Council to be approved by at least two thirds of the 193 member states at the General Assembly.

The list of candidates now includes ten names. The frontrunner is Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, who was United Nations high commissioner for refugees till 2015. He won in each of the five rounds of preliminary voting at the United Nations Security Council in the recent months.

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