General Assembly OK's next U.N. leader

/ Source: The Associated Press

The General Assembly adopted a resolution by acclamation Friday appointing South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon to succeed Kofi Annan as the next U.N. secretary-general.

When Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, the assembly president, asked members of the 192-nation world body to adopt the resolution by acclamation, hundreds of diplomats and U.N. staff in the chamber burst into loud applause. She then banged the gavel, saying "It is so decided."

Ban, 62, will become the eighth secretary-general in the U.N.'s 60-year history on Jan. 1 when Annan's second five-year term expires. He was one of seven candidates vying to be the U.N. chief and topped all four informal polls in the U.N. Security Council. The council then voted by acclamation to recommend his selection.

Ban will oversee an organization with some 92,000 peacekeepers around the world and a $5 billion annual budget whose reputation has been tarnished by corruption scandals and whose outdated practices need reform to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Annan hailed Ban as "a future secretary-general who is exceptionally attuned to the sensitivities of countries and constituencies in every continent" and said he would be "a man with a truly global mind at the helm of the world's only universal organization."