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Rediff News  All News  » News » UN shakeup: Akasaka of Japan replaces Tharoor

UN shakeup: Akasaka of Japan replaces Tharoor

February 10, 2007 13:15 IST

Acting on his pledge to achieve continuity with change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named four new senior officials to his Cabinet while retaining a dozen others.

Ban named a US diplomat as chief political officer, a Chinese veteran of international organisations to head economic and social affairs, a Japanese international civil servant to manage public information and an Egyptian diplomat to oversee General Assembly management.

Kiyotaka Akasaka of Japan, currently deputy secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, becomes Under Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, succeeding Shashi Tharoor of India. He has been closely involved throughout his career with the work of multilateral organisations.

Akasaka was deputy director-general in the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Multilateral Cooperation Department from 1997 to 2000, participating as one of his country's top negotiators at the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change and various other international conferences. Between 2000 and 2001, he was Japan's UN ambassador.

Akasaka has also held posts at the Secretariat of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, precursor of the UN World Trade Organisation, and at the UN World Health Organisation. He has held a number of positions in the field of communications and public relations, serving in the Japanese Foreign Ministry as deputy director of the Press Division and spokesman on climate change. He has also been deeply involved in OECD public information activities.

"In making these decisions, the secretary-general has taken into account various factors, among others, the need to apply change with continuity, ongoing discussions on restructuring plans and the need to promote mobility at all levels," the Secretary-General's Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar told a news briefing in New York on Friday.

Responding to questions on the selections, Nambiar said the secretary-general "is conscious that he needs to take advantage and in a sense leverage the experience that is there; he is also conscious of the need to build new talent and experience." Shortly after assuming office on January 1, Ban asked nearly all assistant and under secretaries-general to tender their resignations to allow him "the flexibility he needs in forming his new team."

B Lynn Pascoe, currently US ambassador to Indonesia, was appointed under secretary-general for Political Affairs, succeeding Ibrahim Gambari, a Nigerian.

He has previously served as US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs and US special negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh and Regional Conflicts.

He was US co-chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Minsk Group seeking negotiated resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

He has also served as director of the American Institute in Taiwan, as principal deputy assistant secretary in the East Asian and Pacific Bureau of the State Department, and as deputy US chief of mission in Beijing.