The campaign to support the candidacy of Jayantha Dhanapala, Sri Lanka’s official candidate for the post of United Nations Secretary-General has stepped up a gear.

There are many more voices around the world calling for the 5 permanent members of the United Nations to give serious consideration to the nomination of Jayantha Dhanapala, to succeed UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who completes his second term in December 2006.

 Dhanapala is the ideal global candidate, he maybe Asian but his views are universal, he speaks with passion on disarmament, aids, gender issues, war and peace, the environment, poverty – through global eyes. He is the ideal global candidate for the top job at the UN. His experience includes very strong managerial skills at the United Nations, years of experience in the diplomatic field……Dhanapala is so much at ease with himself…..he makes people feel valued whether you come from Africa, the Far East, Europe or the Americas…..Dhanapala has the ‘people touch.’

 Jayantha Dhanapala is one of three Asian candidates nominated by their governments. South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai have joined Jayantha Dhanapala as the official candidates from Asia. Asia received a huge boost when The 53-member African Group at the United Nations, the second largest regional group after Asia, formally expressed its support for an Asian as the next secretary-general of the United Nations. Together with the Asian Group they are now a powerful voice for an Asian candidate to succeed Kofi Annan. China and Russia have said it is Asia’s turn. The US and Britain say ‘no’ with US Ambassador John Bolton expressing strong support for an Eastern European candidate – according to news reports the US are backing former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. France says ‘possibly an Asian candidate.’So the 5 permanent members of the UN do not agree at this moment in time on Kofi Annan’s successor.

Dhanapala remains unfazed as he sets about getting the message across – that he means business when it comes to reforming the United Nations. When he was 19 years old he won an International Herald Tribune essay contest with an essay titled ‘The World We Want,’ the young school boy even met with Senator John F.Kennedy in 1957. Speaking at the launch of the website on Jayantha Dhanapala in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera said: ‘It is imperative that the UN finds itself a leader who is able to marshal the necessary political goodwill to renew the Organization, consolidate its strengths, and rectify its shortcomings. The UN needs the leadership of a person who has the vision, experience and diplomatic skills to re-engineer the Organization, so that it will be able to meet the challenges ahead, and the person to me – is undoubtedly Jayantha Dhanapala.’

 The reforms of the U.N. will serve not only the U.S., but all 191 members,” said Jayantha Dhanapala at a function to launch the web site – he is deeply committed to such reforms. In fact he has been speaking about reform agenda since the 1990s. Jayantha Dhanapala remains a very strong candidate – he has what it takes to provide the leadership that the UN needs. Furthermore he is known as a man of integrity and character with an unblemished record as a diplomat. By Ivan Corea