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New UN Leader Appoints Deputy, Asks Senior Officials to Resign

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has named Tanzania's Foreign Minister Asha-Rose Migiro as his deputy. As VOA's Peter Heinlein reports from the U.N. Mr. Ban is also asking 60 top officials to turn in their resignations.

Secretary-General Ban signaled Friday that he will move swiftly to revamp the U.N. bureaucracy. He sent letters to 60 senior officials holding the title of assistant secretary-general or undersecretary-general, calling on them to submit letters of resignation.

He also chose Tanzania's Foreign Minister Asha-Rose Migiro to be deputy secretary-general. In her new post, Migiro will be responsible for much of the management and administrative restructuring of the U.N.

The Migiro, 50, is a former law lecturer. Before becoming foreign minister last year, she served five years as Tanzania' minister of community development, gender and children's issues.

Mr. Ban released a statement calling Migiro a highly-respected leader who has championed the cause of developing countries over the years.

Secretary-General Ban indicated earlier he would name a woman from the developing world as his deputy. But U.N. spokesman Michele Montas says neither gender nor geography was the deciding factor.

"The secretary-general underlined to me that he has worked with her, and he underlined the fact that she was not named because she's an African or because she's a woman, but essentially because of her qualifications," he said.

African Union Secretary-General and fellow Tanzanian Salim Ahmed Salim, welcomed the appointment. He called Migiro a skilled and articulate diplomat. "She's been one of those who's been an activist in the political situation in Tanzania, and an activist basically in the struggle for human rights in the continent," he noted. "So certainly I welcome her appointment, not simply because I'm a Tanzanian like her, but because I know she can do the job."

Officials say Migiro was in Lesotho chairing a conference Friday when she received Mr. Ban's call offering her the world body's number two job.

She is expected to arrive in New York later this month at a time of upheaval in the U.N. senior management structure. Spokesman Michele Montas says many of those Secretary-General Ban asked to submit resignations may later be asked to stay on.

"This would allow the secretary-general the flexibility he needs in forming his new team," he added. "He will review the offers of resignation, and may decide to retain the services of some senior officials to assist him in the discharge of his responsibilities."

Montas also announced Friday that Secretary-General Ban will make public a full disclosure of his finances. All senior U.N. staff are required to submit financial disclosure statements, but the secretary-general is not considered a member of the staff, and former chief Kofi Annan had caused a stir when he refused to make his disclosure public.