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Of Crimea & Next UNSG, Bokova Said Down, Of Kubis & Turk, Merkel Lurking?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 1 -- Will the tensions around Crimea impact who will replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General? The regional group next in line is Eastern Europe, in which many countries have spoken and voted recently against Russia which along with the US, China, France and the UK has veto rights over the next Secretary General.

This makes selection of a candidate from, say, Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia unlikely. But what about Bulgaria, for example, UNESCO's Irina Bokova or the EU's Kristalina Georgieva?

  Several diplomats have told Inner City Press Bokova's selection is less likely that it had seemed. They named two others - notably both men despite calls at the UN for a female SG - Danilo Turk and Jan Kubis, currently Ban's envoy in Afghanistan.

  Another theory has been proffered: that events in Crimea and Ukraine may bolster arguments by "Western" Europe that the Eastern European Group is an anachronism and that therefore ANY European could be chosen. Would Jan Eliasson be seeking, like Joe Biden, to move up? Or the lurking Staffan de Mistura?

  A long shot name was floated to Inner City Press on April 1: Angela Merkel, "pulling a Bill Clinton," as one put it. Or what Bill Clinton was said to want to have pulled, despite being from a Permanent Five country.

  But, the logic went, even if Merkel wanted the job - a big "if" - it might be unlikely that the Permanent Five would want so strong a Secretary General.

  Further east, there's Helen Clark already campaigning, and Kevin Rudd always on the hunt. Inner City Press suggests watching how each of these speak about Crimea and Russia from now on. Watch this site.

Footnote: While it's the P5 who rule, the Free UN Coalition for Access suggest that accessibility to the media, and fairness in taking questions not only from one side of an issue, should be criteria too: for now, for Under Secretaries General, given current failures, but later for the next SG as well. Watch this site.


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