MOSCOW, August 14. /TASS/. Russia is in favor of the idea that the next UN Secretary-General should be a representative of Eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman in an exclusive interview ahead of the jubilee session of the General Assembly dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.
"Ban Ki-moon whom we respect and with whom we have good relations completes his second term next year," the Russian Foreign Minister said. "He will not be re-elected in accordance with the UN Charter. The question arises of ensuring the universal and fair selection of the candidates with account of the geographic principle."
The minister noted that the position was occupied more than once by representatives of Western Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. "And such regional group as Eastern European, which officially exists in the UN, has never been represented," he said. "It has existed since the Soviet era, when five groups were set up — Asian, Latin American, African, Western European (which includes the United States, Germany and New Zealand among others) and Eastern European."
"These groups were originally conceived not to agree certain political issues, but to elect members of the UN bodies, which are limited, more effectively and efficiently," Lavrov said. "For example, there are 54 countries in the Economic and Social Council, they have to be elected, the Human Rights Council, there are not as many countries there as everyone would like, these councils are not universal, and there are many agencies, where the current UN members are to be elected. To make sure that all regions are represented in these agencies more or less proportionately these groups were set up, which agree on these candidates between themselves."
"When the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Treaty Organization ceased to exist, this group was, nevertheless, preserved, because it is not political and is necessary for organizing such elections," Lavrov said. "This Eastern European group now has a unanimous opinion, and we supported it. All members of this group, including NATO member-countries, have signed a letter circulated to all members of the United Nations, which said that we were convinced that the next UN Secretary-General should be a representative of an Eastern European country, and there are several such candidates now."
The minister noted that so far they were talking about candidates from countries, while the group was unlikely to reach a consensus. "About ten candidates have been nominated, among them women," he added.
According to Lavrov, "the procedures to elect the [UN] Secretary-General and nominate candidates are quite flexible, and it cannot be ruled out that the Eastern European group will propose several candidates to the General Assembly."
"Probably, during the consultations, which are underway, some of these candidates will drop off, but there will be more than one candidate, that’s for sure," he noted. "In the current situation, I think the most likely result of reviewing [the list of the candidates] in the Security Council will be the submittance of several candidacies to the General Assembly. There has always been one candidate, because the Security Council has always taken out candidates in the course of its procedures. This time, knowing the nominees who are already known, I don’t see any way to leave just one candidate without offending other highly respected candidates.".