Kwasniewski: 'I am ready' to lead U.N.

Nov. 10, 2005 at 12:04 PM

LONDON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Outgoing Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski says he is ready to lead the United Nations as a politician but not as a diplomat, The Times of London reports.

Speaking to the newspaper after visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, the 50-year-old former communist who steps down next month, said he was open to discussions with the United Nations about replacing Secretary-General Kofi Annan next year.

"I am a straight man, an honest man," he said. "If they (the United Nations) want deep reforms, if they want more a politician than a diplomat, then we can discuss it." But if they want a diplomat, "I'm not the right man -- there are better diplomats than I."

While the Bush administration has endorsed him publicly, Russia is still resentful of the way Kwasniewski distanced Warsaw from Moscow, and China wants the next U.N. chief to be Asian in keeping with traditional regional rotation, the newspaper said.

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