Ban gets new term in ‘most impossible job on Earth’


The United Nations unanimously elected Ban Ki-moon to a second term on Tuesday as its leader with the major powers hailing his work in turbulent times. The 192-member UN General Assembly voted the 67-year-old former South Korean foreign minister by acclamation. His new term will start on January 1 and run through 2016. Ban declared his candidacy two weeks ago, got formal backing from the UN Security Council on Friday and with no challenger to force a contest, the General Assembly meeting was only going to be an official celebration. A beaming Ban bowed to envoys who paid tribute to his work since taking over from Kofi Annan in 2007. In that time, the United Nations has had to battle disasters in Haiti, Pakistan and Myanmar, douse conflict in Africa and now support protesters in the Arab Spring uprisings. South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan told the assembly that the UN secretary-general had probably “the most impossible job on Earth” but that the reappointment had caused “great joy” in his home country.
“No one understands the burdens of this role better than he, and my government is grateful that he is willing to continue to take them on,” said US ambassador Susan Rice in her tribute to the UN chief.
She called the veteran diplomat “a champion for peace and security.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy also highlighted Ban’s “commitment” in his first five years to peace and security. “France is fully confident that the secretary general will pursue these efforts over the next five years, and will support him in his endeavors, so that the UN may lie more than ever at the heart of effective global governance, for a safer and more just world,” Sarkozy said in a statement.In Beijing, China’s foreign ministry said the Asian giant “will continue its support for the work of Mr Ban and the United Nations.”