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    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/SG/2703
        28 October 2000
     Secretary-General Announces Nomination to General Assembly
    Of Ruud Lubbers to Be High Commissioner for Refugees
     
     

    NEW YORK, 25 October (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a statement today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    I am happy to announce today my nomination to the General Assembly of Ruud Lubbers, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, for the appointment as the next United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

    As you know, I have been reviewing for some time several candidates to replace Sadako Ogata, who has done such a remarkable job in her 10 years in office.  This was an extremely difficult decision to make, both because of the importance of this post and because I was fortunate to receive expressions of interest from a number of outstanding candidates.  I also conducted my own search and solicited some additional candidacies.  I gave them all my most serious consideration, but in the end I could only choose one person.  Mr. Lubbers brings with him an extraordinary record of high-level accomplishment, not only as Prime Minister for 12 years -- the longest-serving holder of that office in his country's recent history -- but also as a scholar, as a professor, and an active participant in the work of various private sector and non-governmental organizations. 

    Let me add a word of appreciation to Prime Minister Wim Kok and the Government and people of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who have always been in the forefront of support for United Nations humanitarian action, especially in favour of refugees.  It is particularly satisfying to appoint a leader who has held the highest office in the Government of the Netherlands -- the country which in 1951 provided the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with its first-ever High Commissioner, Dr. [W.J.] Van Hoeven-Goedhart. 

    I would like to say a personal word to each of the exceptionally well qualified men and women who made themselves available for consideration for this post.  I recognize that you, and many of your admirers in the international community, will feel disappointed that I have not found it possible to appoint you for this post.  But I sincerely hope that your outstanding personal and professional qualities will continue to be placed at the service of the United Nations, and of humanity.

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