New UN Secretary General assumes post

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Monday, January 1, 2007

New UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon

Ban Ki-moon, South Korean foreign minister, officially assumed his post as United Nations Secretary-General today.

Ban, the eighth UN Secretary-General, is also the first Asian to serve in this office in 35 years.

Ban, 62, grew up on the Korean peninsula in the midst of the Korean War that divided the region. He promises to bring peace to the North Korean nuclear conflict.

Along with North Korea, Ban faces a litany of difficult issues including the genocide in Darfur, tensions in the Middle East, an international campaign against AIDS and poverty in line with his predecessor Kofi Annan's Millennium Goals, a push to increase the size of the Security Council, and calls for ethics reform within the United Nations.

In his inaugural address, Ban said, "My first priority will be to restore trust."

"The United States will rely on his leadership to help steer the UN organization through the reforms already underway," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel on Sunday, "and to propel it even further on the path of reform."

Ban will temporarily reside in a hotel in New York City until renovations on his official residence are completed as part of a modernization plan approved by the UN General Assembly.