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(LEAD) U.N. chief vows efforts for reform, hunger-free world

All Headlines 03:30 June 07, 2011

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more comments, response, other details; ADDS photo)
By Lee Chi-dong

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, June 6 (Yonhap) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Monday that he will run for a second term, vowing to make the 192-member organization stronger and more effective in dealing with a host of global challenges.

"It has been an enormous privilege to lead this great organization. If supported by the members states, I would be deeply honored to serve once more," Ban said at a press conference.

The former South Korean foreign minister, 66, known for his humble attitude in private yet determination in work, characterized himself as a "bridge-builder."

“Throughout my time in office, I have sought to be a bridge-builder among the member states, within the United Nations system and among a rich diversity of global partners. Finding common ground is central to delivering results,” he said.

Ban took office in 2007 and his first term ends this year.

In a separate written interview with South Korean correspondents in New York, Ban said he has focused on building up trust among U.N. member nations since he took office in 2007.

"(I) have been drumming up political will toward a peaceful and fair world including the realization of a nuclear-free world, the protection of women, children and refugees and fight against climate change and poverty as well as presenting a vision for the reform of the U.N," Ban said.

"(I) will endeavor to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) scheduled till 2015 and put forward a development agenda beyond the MDGs," he added. "(I) will also push for a tough reform of the U.N. secretariat, while trying to enhance th U.N.'s capacity for humanitarian aid in case of a large scale disaster and conflict."

In September 2000, the U.N. member states adopted eight anti-poverty goals, called the MDGs, to improve women's and children's health and reduce poverty, hunger and disease by 2015.

Ban has no declared rival for the post and none of the five permanent members of the Security Council appears to oppose him. The Security Council is expected to convene a closed-door meeting soon to adopt a resolution recommending Ban's reelection. The General Assembly then will likely make a formal decision to appoint him by acclamation, possibly by the end of the month, to pave the way for him to start his second term on Jan. 1.

The U.S. formally threw its weight behind Ban's bid.

"Our position is clear. We welcome his announcement that he will seek a second term as secretary-general," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a press briefing in Washington. "Clearly, the U.N faces an array of daunting challenges and we work constructively with Secretary-General Ban on many of them."

China and France also reportedly back Ban's move.

In Seoul, South Korea's foreign ministry issued a statement reading, "We welcome and support U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's expression of his intent" to stay in the post.

"The government highly appraises that Secretary-General Ban has greatly contributed to world peace and the prosperity of mankind since his inauguration in 2007," ministry spokeswoman Cho Byung-jae said. "We hope that he will continue to make contributions to the international community."

Ban had planned to make public his desire for the second term earlier but an announcement was delayed by the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.


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