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Ban Ki-Moon and the post of UN Secretary-General

Ban Ki-Moon takes up office at UN Secretary-General on the 1st January 2007. What is the role of Secretary-General and how will Ban Ki-Moon carry it out?

Generally speaking, the United Nations is not a wholly popular organization in the United States. It is certainly not popular with the Bush Administration over the stand taken by Kofi Annan on the war in Iraq. Annan deplored the notion of unilateral action. The United States view is that the Secretary-General is essentially an administrator, presiding over the management of the complex set of organizations (fourteen directly in the system and a number that are allied to it) that make up the United Nations. Annan adjusted the role to one of highly-level diplomacy (building on changes made by earlier Secretary-Generals) but in the process let the ball drop with respect to managerial issues and corruption in the oil-for-food program was thought to be the result. Annan was open to the creative conflicts within the job and chose to raise issues of reform, and the marginalization of Africa whilst keeping a focus on poverty and peace.

The ‘job specification’ is it would seem, both specific and general. Specifically the Secretary-General is defined as the ‘chief administrative officer’ and therefore the efficiency or better still I would argue, the effectiveness of United Nations activities are the direct responsibility of the Secretary General whoever he or she may be. CAO or CEO functions include reporting, monitoring, evaluating and prioritizing. Additional activities can be delegated to the Secretary-General from the Security Council. According to the Secretary-General’s web site, an exceptionally significant role is that of ‘good offices’ — mediating both in public and in private to prevent the escalation of disputes amongst Member States. However, the context is the fluid world of international relations and in a context of rapid change and enhanced danger, the role and the person occupying it needs to adjust and adapt and, above all, that person needs to get the balance right. It has been ever thus and Ban Ki-Moon is taking office in a period that some see as the most dangerous of times (though others look to the positive range of achievements that have also taken place since the end of the Cold War).

The role is complex. At the moment, the United States has one set of expectations about the office and some of the wider Membership has a differing set. China is not yet clearly determined on any particular role in the organization; it is still working out what its role in the international arena is to be. This is illustrated to some extent by its critical comments against North Korea and by its hesitancy over being too tough (for reasons that are perhaps largely pragmatic). Any Secretary-General needs to win the respect and confidence of all the Member States and, at least to some extent, reach to the wider international public in order to enhance effectiveness and respect.

How does Ban Ki-Moon see his role? He intends, according to his acceptance speech, delivered in English and with some passages in French, to build upon Annan’s legacy with respect to peace and prosperity. He has been given considerable time to prepare for the post. He has made it clear that he will ‘consult widely on how best to proceed with our common agenda of reform and revitalization’. This ought to help him ease his way into office with some sort of an agenda. He is clear that the promise of the United Nations is useless without delivery. An emergent theme may be that of promising less and of delivering more. He sees the UN in the 21st century as an institution that helps ‘to strengthen the inter-state system so that humanity may be better served amidst new challenges’. He will continue Kofi Annan’s aim, according to his speech, ‘to protect the most vulnerable members of humanity’. The reform agenda will be continued though the Members need to be on board. In the process he has committed himself to remain faithful to the principles of ‘harmonious leadership’ that he has incorporated into his diplomatic life. Holding the UN system and its administrators to the ‘highest standards of professionalism’ will be essential to his mission. Ban Ki-Moon was careful not to spell out in detail his priorities and to ensure Member States that he will now engage in a period of listening.

Ban Ki-Moon’s speech seems to put him more in the chief executive camp than in the high-level diplomat camp and this no doubt pleases the United States. Keeping on the right side of the United Sates is significant for the role but how this is achieved needs to be the outcome of a management strategy on the part of the Secretary-General. Within the UN he will need to establish his even-handedness with respect to all Members. The fact that he has also earned China’s support is interesting as it implied that it too is favourable to issues relating to good administration. This ‘chief executive’ approach seems to conform to what is known about his style. The BBC’s Charles Scanlon talks of Ban Ki-Moon’s ‘consensual style’ and his preference for ‘the back-room deal over the grand public gesture’. Saying less and delivering more, through careful and patient consensus building, can be an optimal strategy in tricky situations. Influence rather than power is the way to proceed. It may just be that Ban Ki-Mon has the right collection of skills and appropriate experience of making diplomatic judgments likely to be required for success. In this, only time will tell.



His Excellency Ban Ki Moon,

The UN General Secretary

Then fanatical and extreme religious forces in the region and the world at large under the name of so called sharia law and Islam mercilessly violate the civil, political and social freedom and liberties of the Muslim citizens of our country. They imply human rights as a message from the infidels and the west and wish to carry on with their tyrant, repressive and fanatical dictatorial regime, resorting to fanatical dictatorship through fake religious legitimacy and thus with the help of such violent traditions and demagogic behaviour, wish to carry on with their violation of human rights and liberties

It is ironical that these fanatical forces behave in a coordinated manner in the region

We’ve recently had another violation of human rights by the Iranian repressive regime with regards to Mr. Ali Mahaqiq Nasab, the afghan journalist who was arrested in January 2008 in the city of Khom and transferred to an unknown location in contradiction with all human rights. While condemning this brutal action of human rights violation and persecution in the strongest terms, the Liberal Democratic Party of Afghanistan is requesting your Excellency with due respect to kindly interfere in the matter and help release the Afghan journalist. This is not only the violation of human rights of all those who have a different opinion and opposed to the Iranian regimes, but an interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan

The Liberal Democratic party of Afghanistan have constantly called upon the intellectuals and defenders of human rights to unite in the fight against fanatical Islamic extremism and repel their plots and conspiracies and pre-empt their actions from impeding the process of peace, stability and progress in our country and the region. We also call upon the US, the EU and all the democratic forces of the world to back the defenders of democracy so that the terrorist and the extremist militants are stopped

With kind regards

The central council of the Liberal Democratic Party of Afghanistan
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The message of the Liberal Democrat Party of Afghanistan and the Council for National Understanding with Tribes dated 1st of June to the United Nation.

His Excellency
Ban Ki Moon the UN General secretary

The Liberal Democrat Party of Afghanistan (LDPA) have consistently struggled for the salvation of Afghanistan on the basis of declaration of human rights aimed at getting rid of the menace of extremism and repelling terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism ,so that a just peace and the rule of law and democracy is established. Based on the recognition of the Afghan society and the structure of the political forces of Afghanistan and in the region and we would like to put forward the following proposals to the summit.

The LDPA while supporting the efforts of the international community at the Bonn conference of 2001 which was aimed at defeating terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan would like to point out the flaws that were committed in the Bonn conference by the international community. The ouster of the Taliban from power had raised popular expectations among the helpless people of Afghanistan to finally embrace peace, security, justice, and freedom. To their utmost regret, however, all their cherished hopes were shattered. Instead of empowering the democratic and national forces politically and economically, predatory warlords--- who had brutalized and traumatized their people and committed large scale human rights abuses, incredible as it seems—were put into political positions of power and were given millions of dollars in cash. It is not surprising that relying on these warlords who have no or little education or principles, in the war on terror, has been a major strategic blunder perpetrated by the U.S. – led allies resulting in the alienation of the Afghan populous, especially the Pashtun tribes.

On the other hand, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and their Pakistani mentors took advantage of the widespread discontent caused by the appalling nature of governance; rampant corruption; and total disregard and disdain for the rule of law; and travesty of the principles of justice to forward their own sordid and vicious schemes.
Strangely enough, Western powers are still oblivious to the stark fact that Mr. Karzai and his cronies are a liability rather than an asset in their mission to combat terrorism, pursuing a flawed strategy supporting an inept and corrupt Kabul regime. America spent billions of dollars to legitimize the Karzai government and have failed. Now European leaders paying visit to him are repeating United States mistakes.

We believe that at the Bonn conference, decisions were made very hastily and careful attention has not been paid to the political mechanism and the rights of Afghanistan. As a result, fundamentalist groups in favour of ideological regimes with the help of the mafia network and the ideological regimes in the region, managed to include their anti-democratic and anti-western individuals in the political system of Afghanistan. They enjoy the financial, intelligence and political support to establish themselves. Availing themselves of the domestic and regional opportunities by violating the Bonn Accord, they have entered Kabul and taken the key political positions in the government They have established a weak management which is mostly made up of armed commanders and. Jihadi leaders who don’t believe in peace and the rule of law , human rights and security of the people themselves. Unfortunately these violators of human rights who’s rapacious and dreadful character who are known to the people of Afghanistan and have consistently violated the national interest of Afghanistan and were the principal reason for the emergence of Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, are re-established and given military, economic, and political authorities and privileges. With the absence of a sound national and democratic leadership, these fanatical extremist anti-western forces once again, in coalition with communist groups have united as a threat to democracy and the West. The state organs of Afghanistan, despite the huge international help, are becoming a source of anti-western propaganda themselves. They abuse the system by instigating the nationalistic and religious feelings of the people against the West.

We propose the following:

1- It is for the international community and governments to support and strengthen the forces of democracy and human rights and those who uphold democratic values and national interests of Afghanistan who are ready to fight and struggle against terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

2- The International community must help replace the present corrupt and inept leadership with a professional democratic one which is committed to democracy and national unity of the country.

3- In order to win the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan and restore confidence, the International community is strongly required to bring the warlords to justice and remove them from power as the only option available in the interest of peace and security in Afghanistan.

4- The international forces in Afghanistan is expected to stop the repression of the warlords and help bring an end to corruption and drug trafficking in Afghanistan.

5- NATO is expected to train, equip and strengthen the armed forces of Afghanistan on the basis of equal opportunity for everybody in Afghanistan. The present system requires fundamental reforms. The people of Afghanistan need a national army and a national police capable of defending the country and defeating the enemy by bringing peace, security, justice and freedom to the people of Afghanistan.
6- Reconstruction of Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism must go hand in hand. We must reach out to the rural areas where you have a large number of young people sitting idle deprived of education and work. These young individuals are a great source of recruitment for the Taliban.
7- As regards the NATO involvement in Afghanistan, we sincerely believe that we must fight terrorism across the border. We must cut their routes of supplies by all means. We must besiege the enemy and cut off their routes of supplies by seizing their main ports and their main incoming routes and that will only be possible if we go across the border and seize the territory surrounding and the areas around where Alqaeda is based. Otherwise NATO will face the same fate as the Russians did in Afghanistan many years ago. The government of Musharaf must be pressurized to help in this common goal, that will be the only way to defeat terrorism in the region. Lots of work must be done In the Waziristan area, to be able to bring some of the tribes on our side, and if war breaks out among the troubled tribes, we must provide ample facilities by establishing proper camps for their refugees so that they can use our territory as their strategic depth against their enemy

8- International community has not yet used the national intellectual reserves of Afghanistan who think un-ideological and democratically. The absence of national and democratic movement in Afghanistan and the ascent to power of the groups within the political and judiciary system of Afghanistan, the spirit of opposition to the freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of media the absence of individual security, political assassination, violation of woman’s rights, threats to human’s rights activists, anti-western provocation, have been on the increase in recent years. Anti-western provocation. As a result, Investment in Afghanistan is decreasing and the activities of the democratic foundations are restricted. We therefore believe that without a sound administration and an absence of a humane and democratic law, it will be impossible to overcome the security difficulties in Afghanistan and defeat terrorism. Before it is too late, NATO and the international community must strive to bring about conditions for establishing the rule of law and a democratic government in compliance with the aspiration of the people of Afghanistan. We must free the people of Afghanistan from the menace of fundamental Islamic extremism and ideological regimes.

Yours Sincerely,
Issa Eshaghzey
President of the Liberal Democrat Party of Afghanistan