- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2007

NEW YORK — American diplomat B. Lynn Pascoe was named U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs yesterday in a sweeping management shake-up that promises to boost the United States’ voice in the organization’s diplomacy and peace-making efforts.

Mr. Pascoe, 63, has served in senior posts in Malaysia, Moscow and the State Department in Washington. A fluent Mandarin speaker, he has also worked in Beijing, Taiwan, and with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

His appointment was part of a broad reorganization of top management by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who took office last month.

Mr. Ban accepted resignations from five undersecretaries-general, including Shashi Tharoor, who headed the Department of Communications and Public Information. The telegenic Mr. Tharoor, of India, had briefly challenged Mr. Ban for the top U.N. post.

Jean-Marie Guehenno will remain undersecretary-general for peacekeeping for at least another year, which should allow a degree of continuity as the office is reorganized and field missions are expanded.

Several key hires, such as Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro of Tanzania, had previously been announced.

The cumulative appointments — 20 altogether since the beginning of the year — mix traces of new blood with familiar faces from former Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s administration.

They include several career foreign diplomats well known to Mr. Ban from his years in the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

“The point of the secretary-general’s appointments is to be able to impart a certain dynamic to his own tenure,” said Mr. Ban’s chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar.

Despite the deeply entrenched politics of U.N. appointments — in which key countries stake a claim on a department and all but dictate who shall fill it — Mr. Ban exercised autonomy in his selections, Mr. Nambiar said.

“He has made it clear that the appointments will be his appointments and not appointments on the basis of political arrangements,” Mr. Nambiar told reporters.

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs — whose senior management has been subjected to several internal inquiries after reports in The Washington Times and other news outlets, will be headed by Sha Zukang, a career Chinese foreign ministry official who specialized in arms control, trade and other multilateral issues.

Mr. Sha most recently served as China’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

The new head of public information, Kiyotaka Akasaka, is a former Japanese ambassador to the United Nations who is fluent in English and French, and speaks a bit of Portuguese.

Some 55 senior officials submitted letters of resignation last month in response to Mr. Ban’s request. It is easier — and more diplomatic — to accept a letter of resignation instead of firing a person.

U.N. officials to be retained for at least another year include: Nicolas Michel, the Swiss-born undersecretary-general for legal affairs; Ad Melkert, the Dutch associate administrator of the U.N. Development Program; Thoraya Obaid of Saudi Arabia, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund; and Antonio Maria Costa of Italy, director-general of the U.N. offices in Vienna, Austria, and the Office of Drug and Crime Prevention.

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