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Two Africans, First Woman, Among Those Suggested for Top U.N. Job

October 22, 1991

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The U.N. Security Council has added five names, including a woman for the first time, to a list of candidates being considered to become secretary- general, the council president disclosed Monday.

A preliminary council ballot approved the woman for further consideration, Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Bruntland, and a list of other nominees to succeed Javier Perez de Cuellar, who intends to retire this year.

Security Council President Chinmaya R. Gharekhan told reporters after the closed session that the others nominated were Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, head of U.N. relief efforts in the Gulf, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Norwegian Foriegn Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg and Dutch Foreign Minister Hans Van den Broek.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bruntland received the requisite one vote to be added to the list, while two Africans already under consideration received 10 votes each, the highest number of any in the ballot conducted behind closed doors.

They were identified as Egyptian Foreign Minister Boutrous Ghali and Zimbabwe Finance Minister Bernard Chidzero.

African nations, which have insisted that it is Africa’s turn to provide a secretary-general, could call for a formal meeting and decision because a majority of nine votes and no vetoes is required for council endorsement. There was no immediate word on the African strategy.

Gharekhan, the Indian ambassador who heads the council this month, declined to disclose any names that may have been eliminated, or to give the votes each person received.

He said another intermediary ballot will be held soon, probably this week.

But the key to selection lies with the five permanent Security Council members - the United States, Britain, China, France and the Soviet Union.

They are expected to discuss their preferences when they meet Wednesday in Paris for the signing of a Cambodia peace accord.

The Security Council has said it hopes this month to agree on a candidate for formal endorsement by the less powerful General Assembly.

Perez de Cuellar has said he intends to retire at the end of this year, after 10 years in office.

Diplomats have said they want to present a consensus candidate and avoid a formal, divisive vote and possible veto until a clear choice emerges from the straw polls.

The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, provided a partial list of totals from Monday’s preliminary ballot:

Ghali 10; Chidzero 10; Kenneth Dadzie of Ghana, who heads the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development 7; Philippine Foreign Minister Raoul Manglapus 2; Van den Broek 2; Prince Sadruddin 2; Mulroney 2; Bruntland 1; Stoltenberg 1.

Prince Sadruddin, whose family is from Pakistan, holds Iranian and Swiss citizenship. He was a candidate 10 years ago but was vetoed by the Soviet Union because of Pakistan’s support for anti-Soviet Afghan rebels.

Other official African candidates may have received one vote or none. They include James Jonah of Sierra Leone, Olusegun Obasango of Nigeria and Nguema Francois Owono of Gabon.

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