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Ban Ki-moon says he'll seek second term as U.N. secretary-general

By the CNN Wire Staff
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hopes to serve another five years, he announced Monday.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hopes to serve another five years, he announced Monday.
  • Ban Ki-moon sent letters to U.N. members noting his intent to run for re-election
  • He calls himself a "bridge builder" who seeks to find common ground
  • His first term has been marked by economic, environmental and political crises

(CNN) -- After an eventful first term marked by humanitarian crises, a global recession and the Arab Spring, Ban Ki-moon announced Monday his intention to seek a second five-year stint as the United Nations' secretary-general.

Ban voiced his hope of staying in place at a news conference Monday in New York, where the United Nations is headquartered, hours after sending letters to members of the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council.

"It has been an enormous privilege to lead this great organization," Ban said. "If supported by the member states, I would be deeply honored to serve once more."

Four and a half years earlier, in October 2006, the former South Korean foreign minister was elected by the 192-member U.N. General Assembly to succeed Kofi Annan. This vote followed a straw poll days earlier in which 14 of 15 members -- with one having no opinion -- of the U.N. Security Council recommended Ban, then-Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya said.

He is the world body's eighth secretary-general and the first from Asia since U Thant, from what is now Myanmar, who served from 1961 to 1971.

Upon his election, Ban indicated that ending violence in the Sudanese region of Darfur and tackling climate change were among his top priorities. There has been progress on both fronts, including a recent vote to create an independent state in southern Sudan and evolving negotiated frameworks to address global warming, though significant challenges remain.

Ban has also found himself and the United Nations at the forefront of many crises that few anticipated in 2006. The past year, especially, has been tumultuous given the massive earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan; the wave of popular unrest in the Arab world; and the continued fallout from the ongoing global economic crisis.

The secretary-general addressed all these issues, as well as long-standing priorities such as nuclear disarmament, the Middle East peace process and fighting AIDS and other global health maladies, on Monday.

"These 4½ years have been marked by extraordinary challenge for the United Nations and the international community," he said. "We can be proud of what we've accomplished together."

Saying he has sought to be a "bridge builder" who seeks to find "common ground," Ban has had few public adversaries over his first term and is expected to easily win re-election.

A top diplomat for one U.N. state, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, called Ban's intention to seek a second term "very good news."

"The U.N. and the international community can rely upon him, his very solid experience and his authority," Juppe said in a statement, adding that Ban "has worked unstintingly for peace, as well as development, on behalf of the United Nations. He has shown courage and determination in a period of crisis."