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Ban Ki-Moon Begins Transition to UN Secretary-General Job


Former South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon has arrived in New York to begin preparations for his new job as U.N. secretary-general. He takes over when Kofi Annan completes his 10 years in office at the end of the year. Mr. Ban is interviewing candidates for other top U.N. jobs.

Ban Ki-Moon, 62, came to U.N. headquarters Thursday, less than 24 hours after arriving from Seoul. His first stop was at the office of U.N. General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa.

Ban knows the General Assembly chief's office well. He worked there several years ago as chief of staff to a previous Assembly president.

After his meeting, he told VOA he has a lot of work to do as he makes the transition to secretary-general.

"My mission, my plan at this time is to take charge of the transition until the end of December," he said. "I'm going to meet with the secretary-general next week, many other ambassadors of countries as well as representatives of related organizations. And I'm also going to get briefings from many department heads of the United Nations to get familiarized with the major important issues. "

Ban says he will also be interviewing potential members of his management team, including candidates for post of deputy secretary-general.

"Until end of this year, and until the end of January, I have to first of all think about major appointments for major posts, and also think about the plans for my agenda," he added. "And I'm going to meet some people whom I have in mind or who have been recommended by certain people for certain posts."

Ban was elected to a five-year term as secretary-general last month by the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Security Council. The 62-year-old career diplomat will become the world body's eighth chief, and the first Asian to hold the post since U Thant of Burma, who completed his term in 1971.