Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra confirmed today that President Mauricio Macri is considering nominating her for UN Secretary General, an office from which the current Secretary, South Korean Ban Ki-moon, will step down from in November this year.
“You’re telling me that the news is out. Well, the President is analyzing how this decision could have an impact on Argentina’s positioning in the world,” said Malcorra in an interview with television channel TN.
According to Infobae, the minister, backed by the government, has been considering the idea for a while now and is currently campaigning to gather international support for her candidacy.
During the past weeks, her world tour has taken her to the United Nations seat in New York, the Organization of American States (OEA) in Washington, DC and Russia, where she met with her counterpart Sergei Lavrov to move forward with the countries’ bilateral agenda. According to La Nación, the good relationship Malcorra has with Lavrov could lead to an eventual endorsement from Russia. And that’s only the beginning. Today, she held a meeting with British Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond, in what was the first bilateral meeting between UK and Argentine foreign ministers in 14 years.
According to Clarín, the encounter started out rather icily, but Malcorra managed to turn things around to the point that the Foreign Office’s statement released upon the meeting’s conclusion highlighted the “warm, wide-ranged discussion between the countries’ officials.”
“The Prime Minister and President Macri set out an aspiration to embark on a new phase of relations between our two countries. Foreign Minister Malcorra and I discussed how to take this forward by developing a strong relationship based upon areas of mutual interest,” said Hammond.
On its end, the Argentine delegation’s official statement pointed out that “both Ministers expressed their respective countries’ stances towards the Malvinas Islands but agreed that disagreements in this area shouldn’t be an obstacle in developing a broader agenda.”
British support would be key for Malcorra’s potential appointment since the UK is a permanent member of the UN’s Security Council, and according to the UN’s Charter, the Security Council recommends a candidate for Secretary General to the General Assembly which then votes to approve that candidate or not.
While discussing her potential nomination, Malcorra erred on the side of caution: “[Macri’s support] is far from meaning this will happen, it’s a rigorous selection process. There are already eight other candidates that are being taken into consideration. There will be a round of interviews in June and if the President decides so, I will be part of those interviews. I’m still the Foreign Minister, I will still be the Foreign Minister and continue working to defend the country’s interests from my position,” she told TN.
Malcorra’s tour will see her disembark in China, another country with a permanent seat on the UN’s Security Council, on May 18th. She will also pay a visit to Lebanon, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to talk about the pressing need to achieve peace in the Middle East (how original), the refugee crisis and the value the UN’s security forces — also known as the “blue helmets” — could have in the region.
According to Infobae, Macri may formally announce Malcorra’s candidacy on May 26 or 27. After that, the foreign minister would then have to defend her nomination before the UN.
Malcorra is far from a stranger to the UN. Before she was appointed foreign minister, Malcorra worked as Ban Ki-moon’s chief of staff from 2012 to 2015. Prior to that, she acted as Secretary General Adjunct of the Department for Support of Field Support, coordinating peace missions.