UN council backs Ban Ki-moon for 2nd term

The U.N. Security Council approved Friday a second five-year term for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a critical last step before the 192-member General Assembly holds the definitive vote next week.

The vote by acclamation came after a one-day delay due to what U.N. diplomats described as procedural and technical hold ups from some Latin American countries.

The entire world body is virtually certain to endorse Ban, 67, when it considers the matter Tuesday. There are no other candidates.

The council said it "recommends to the General Assembly that Mr. Ban Ki-moon be appointed secretary-general of the United Nations for a second term of office from Jan. 1, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2016."

The former South Korean foreign minister earlier secured the backing of the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council — the U.S., China, Russia, France and Britain — which were key for approving the recommendation.

Although it was widely known that Ban would seek a second term, he didn't officially announce his intention to stay on until last week. He pledged to keep leading the world body as a "bridge-builder" at a time of global change.

"During the past 4 1/2 years, we have undertaken important work and found common ground on critical global issues of peace and security — from Somalia to Sudan, Ivory Coast to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East and far beyond," Ban said in a letter to the council "humbly" offering to be considered for a second term.

A U.N. diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private said that the leftist Latin American bloc known as ALBA that includes Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia initially had withheld backing.

The Cuban mission to the U.N. circulated a statement late Thursday denying that it had opposed Ban's re-election.

Ban has been criticized for lacking charisma and failing to criticize human rights abuses in powerful countries such as China and Russia.

But he has won praise for his commitment to climate change, nuclear disarmament and women's issues, as well as his strong recent backing of pro-democracy movements in North Africa and the Middle East, and for military intervention in Ivory Coast and Libya.