New UN chief 'will help tackle North Korea crisis'14/10/2006 - 16:19:07
Austria's foreign minister today congratulated South Korean Ban Ki-moon on his appointment as the next UN Secretary-General and invited him to make a return visit to the alpine country where he once served as his country's ambassador.
"With Ban Ki-moon the United Nations will have a Secretary-General who is very familiar with the organisation. His long-time experience and excellent knowledge that he acquired through his service at the United Nations, will benefit the UN and all of us," Ursula Plassnik said in a statement.
Ms Plassnik said that because of Ban's heritage he brought a "special sensitivity" to the unresolved conflict with North Korea.
She added that Ban, who was South Korea's ambassador to Austria between 1998 and 2000, was a "guarantor for the further deepening of relations between the United Nations and Vienna."
Ban, 62, will become the eighth secretary-general in the UN's 60-year history on January 1 when Kofi Annan's second five-year term expires.
Austria awarded Ban a state honour in November 2001 for his contribution to the strengthening of bilateral relations between South Korea and Austria and for his engagement at the UN seat in Vienna, the statement said.
In her congratulatory letter, Ms Plassnik also invited Ban to return to Austria for a visit, according to the statement.
Plassnik, who said she has met Ban on several occasions, described him as an outstanding chief diplomat and an interesting conversation partner.
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