Subject: AP: Horta says he'd be a good candidate for top U.N. job

East Timor's foreign minister says he'd be a good candidate for top U.N. job

01/17/2006 02:12:26 AM EST English Politics News

JAKARTA, Indonesia_East Timor's foreign minister said Tuesday he would be a good candidate for the top job at the United Nations, citing decades of experience in international affairs and strong personal ties with world leaders.

But Jose Ramos-Horta said he supported the candidacy of Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, and would only consider the U.N. secretary general post if approached by the 15-member Security Council.

"I would not lobby, I would not raise my hand," the Nobel peace laureate said.

Traditionally, the U.N. top job rotates every 10 years by region.

Africa _ in theory _ should have handed over the post in January 2002, but Kofi Annan was selected for a second five-year term in 2001, partly because Asia could not agree on a candidate.

Annan's term is set to expire this year, and Asian nations say they would like another shot at the post.

Surakiart and Sri Lankan peace negotiator Jayantha Dhanapala are so far the only declared candidates, though the names of Ramos-Horta and former Singaporean prime minister Goh Chok Tong also have been raised.

Ramos-Horta described Surakiart as "the quintessential pragmatist, someone who would know how to work with superpowers."

But he noted that he himself had a lot to offer _ 30 years of international experience, an "inside-and-out" understanding of the U.N. system, and a strong personal relationship "with all the powers that be."

"If the 15 members of Security Council believe that I might be of help to the U.N. family, then maybe I would consider the top job," Ramos-Horta said.

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