Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sidesteps Sticky Situation

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sidesteps Sticky Situation

  SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon can hold public office in South Korea, as long as his work does not put the international organization or its member states "at a disadvantage," a local report said Monday.

   The report by the National Assembly Research Service (NARS) reviewed a 1946 U.N. General Assembly resolution that Ban's critics have argued restricts Ban's run for the president. It was unveiled by Rep. Kim Kyung-hyup of the main opposition Democratic Party who belongs to the legislature's foreign affairs committee.

   The report said that considering the words used in the report, such as "should" and "desirable," the resolution was not meant to completely ban a former U.N. secretary-general from running for his or her home country's elected office.

   The resolution reads that "Because a secretary-general is a confidant of many governments, it is desirable that no member should offer him, at any rate immediately on retirement, any governmental position in which his confidential information might be a source of embarrassment to other members, and on his part a secretary-general should refrain from accepting any such position."

   The NARS said that it was hard to find any clues that indicate the resolution was intended to be legally binding, and that it is difficult for the U.N. to hold any former U.N. chief legally responsible for contravening the rules stipulated in the resolution.

   But the research agency pointed out that even if the resolution is not legally binding, a former U.N. chief has to make efforts to faithfully observe the restrictions in line with the tenor of the resolution.

   The agency, in addition, noted that former U.N. secretary-generals have generally refrained from working in government positions.'

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