UNITED NATIONS, July 1 (UPI) -- Salman Haidar of India is a leading candidate to be U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative to Iraq, UPI has learned.
A U.N. spokesman said Thursday a decision had not been reached on the post. Annan is traveling in Africa but was reported to have meet with Haidar in Doha Tuesday.
U.N. officials confirmed Haidar was at U.N. World headquarters in New York Wednesday.
Haidar leads the list to replace Sergio Vieira de Mello, diplomatic sources told UPI. Vieira de Mello was killed along with 21 others last August in the terrorist truck bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.
A Muslim, Haidar served as India's foreign secretary, equivalent to a deputy foreign minister, from 1995 to 1997. He had a brief turn as India's high commissioner to Britain before retiring later the same year, wrapping up a 37-year career in the diplomatic service.
Sources at headquarters said Haidar and Thailand's Surin Pitsuwan, a former foreign minister and also a Muslim, were on Annan's short list. Pitsuwan is in his mid-50s.