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06BANGKOK5032 UNSYG UPDATE: SURAKIART’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER

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“75173”,”8/17/2006 8:34″,”06BANGKOK5032″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,”VZCZCXRO2743

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L

SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 005032

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MLS, IO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, TH, UNSC

SUBJECT: UNSYG UPDATE: SURAKIART\’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 004742 (SURAKIART ON HIS UNSYG CANDIDACY)

 

B. BANGKOK 004803 (CHINESE ON NORTH KOREA AND THE

UNSYG CANDIDATE)

 

Classified By: Political Counselor Susan M. Sutton. Reason 1.4 (B,D)

 

1. (C) Summary. Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart

Sathirathai\’s campaign to succeed Kofi Annan is on track,

according to his campaign manager Suriya Chindawongse, and

his team is hoping for a conclusion to the race in

September/October. Surakiart is \”not worried about Asian

support for his candidacy\” and is counting on ASEAN members

to lobby UNSC states for him. According to Suriya,

Surakiart\’s pitch revolves around his suitability to drive UN

management reform and his status as a \”bridge builder who can

be trusted by all parties.\” Nonetheless, Suriya emphasized

that UNSYG Surakiart would be good for the United States. End

Summary.

 

CAMPAIGN ON TRACK

—————–

 

2. (C) In an August 17 meeting with poloffs, Ministry of

Foreign Affairs (MFA) Counselor Suriya Chindawongsae outlined

the status of Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Surakiart\’s

campaign to be the next UN Secretary General. Suriya, who

serves as Surakiart\’s campaign manager, said that the DPM and

his team are hoping that the race for UNSYG is wrapped up by

September/October. According to Suriya–who served for three

years in New York at the UN–some member states are hoping

that the next UNSYG can overlap with Koffi Annan for a short

period, to provide a smooth transition.

 

3. (C) Suriya characterized Surakiart\’s campaign as on track;

\”we are not worried about Asian support for his candidacy.\”

Following the July 24 UNSC straw poll (ref A) the DPM met

with the ASEAN foreign ministers and ARF dialogue partners in

Kuala Lumpur, where he received \”lots of encouragement.\”

Surakiart\’s current strategy is to use ASEAN members to lobby

UNSC member states for him. ASEAN support for Surakiart is

solid, as evinced by Singapore\’s demarche of P-5 members in

New York explaining that there will be no Singaporean

candidate. Suriya, who refused to discuss specific

competitors for the post, nonetheless characterized

Surakiart\’s competition as having \”started late.\” Suriya also

expressed surprise at the strong showing by the Indian

candidate in the July strawpoll.

 

SURAKIART\’S PITCH

—————–

 

4. (C) Expanding on the information in ref A, Suriya outlined

Surakiart\’s three-point pitch to UNSC member states. The

first item on Surakiart\’s agenda would be UN management

reform. As a UN \”outsider\” with broad experience in

politics, private business, academia and foreign policy,

Surakiart would be more effective than other Asian candidates

in accomplishing this mission. Second, Surakiart would

leverage his (self-described) role as a \”bridge builder who

can be trusted by all parties\” to expand and enhance

international peace and security efforts. Finally,

Surakiart\’s nationality is a major bonus. Thailand is \”not

too big and not too small,\” and is not seen as a stalking

horse for any other member states. When asked how this pitch

was received by UNSC members, Suriya admitted that the first

question that most asked was \”how many slots will we get in

the secretariat?\”

 

5. (C) According to Suriya, Surakiart has also drawn up a

list of other areas he would like to tackle as UNSYG,

including an expanded role for the UN in providing disaster

relief and preventing pandemics, increasing UN cooperation

regional groups such as ASEAN, and boosting public-private

partnerships.

 

OUR SPECIAL FRIEND

——————

 

6. (C) Suriya made a point of emphasizing that, while

 

BANGKOK 00005032 002 OF 002

 

Thailand\’s historic role as a friend to the world is a major

selling point for Surakiart, the RTG\’s natural affinity for

the United States should be a key consideration for

Washington. People should not be worried that Thailand and

Surakiart are \”too close to China.\”

 

SUPPORT ON THE HOME FRONT

————————-

 

7. (C) Suriya dismissed domestic criticism of Surakiart\’s

campaign (ref A) as evidence of political bias in the

English-language Thai press. The antipathy of retired

foreign policy professionals towards the Thaksin government

is driving criticism of Surakiart and does not reflect

national opinion.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 13, 2011 at 5:20 am

Posted in Confidential

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