August 2006


Sri Lanka’s widely known International Civil Servant and Senior Presidential Advisor, Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, is Sri Lanka’s only candidate for the position of UN Secretary General. This truth goes unquestioned in Sri Lanka and among knowledgeable circles abroad and almost the entirety of this country-including the State – could be said to be staunchly backing Dhanapala’s candidacy for the UN’s top job.

We need to reiterate this truth, lest ideas to the contrary be circulated by some misinformed and misguided persons.

If there are pretenders to the candidacy we hope their minds would be disabused of this false notion. Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala is Sri Lanka’s choice for the post of UN Secretary General and there could be no other. This is the stark truth and we hope there would be no quibbling in any quarter about it.

Long before the current race to succeed the incumbent UN Secretary General Kofi Annan got underway, Dhanapala had distinguished himself as a diplomat and International Civil Servant.

His skills as a disarmament expert won for him the position of UN Under Secretary General for Disarmament from 1998 to 2003. Besides, his knowledge of international politics and of the Humanities is both profound and varied.

He served with great distinction as a diplomat in numerous of Lanka’s missions abroad before joining the UN system. As is well known, Dhanapala was UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s choice in 1997 for dealing with the complex subject of UN reform.

In short, Dhanapala’s credentials are beyond question. He has done Sri Lanka proud and is this country’s unquestioned choice for the post of UN Secretary General, which position would soon fall vacant on Kofi Annan completing his second term as UN Chief.

We wish to remind all concerned that Dhanapala needs our unqualified support and endorsement. Undermining his candidacy would be tantamount to violating the will of the State and of the people. Let us all espouse his cause as one man and not be guilty of engaging in anything approaching treachery and betrayal.

The matter of Dhanapala’s candidacy is something that was considered settled by the State quite some time back. His candidacy has received the blessings of all who matter.

What is left to be done by the Lankan State and the public is to explore every means of promoting Dhanapala’s candidacy. It should be ensured that Dhanapala wins the eminent position he is vying for.

Our front page news story yesterday quoting no less a person than the President’s Secretary should help to defuse all doubts and reservations on this question, if there are any in any quarter. Sri Lanka’s Jayantha Dhanapala must win and we call for a united advocacy of his candidature.

Via… Daily News Editorial

COLOMBO: Former UN Under Secretary General Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala is Sri Lanka’s only candidate to the coveted UN top post, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga asserted yesterday.

Weeratunga said Dhanapala is the only candidate nominated by Sri Lanka for the UN Secretary General’s post which will fall vacant after the current head’s second and final term expires in November.

He said: "There are no other candidates".

It is broadly accepted that an Asian candidate should be elected to head the UN this time, although the big countries have not officially agreed to this principle.

Foreign Secretary S. Palihakkara also confirmed the Presidential Secretary’s statement that there were no moves by the Government to nominate a second candidate.

Palihakkara said: "The Government of Sri Lanka and President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stated very clearly that Dhanapala is the only candidate from Sri Lanka."

The four Asian states which are contesting for the top UN post submitted their nominations as early as June.

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon, Indian candidate, serving UN Under Secretary General Shashi Tharoor, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and Sri Lankan Candidate, Senior Presidential Advisor Jayantha Dhanapala are the only official candidates in the race.

However, some 30 more names including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President Bill Clinton have been suggested and are speculated to enter the fray, to head the most powerful organisation in the world.

Dhanapala served as the UN Under Secretary General for disarmament from 1998 to 2003.

He was handpicked by Kofi Annan to take over the challenging job after UN reforms in 1997.

Source: The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.