Elections of Secretaries-General : an Interview with Ambassador Olara Otunnu by James S. Sutterlin
In 1980, noted diplomat and international civil servant, Olara Otunnu (Uganda, 1950 – ), was appointed as the Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations. During his five year term, Mr. Otunnu served as the President of the United Nations Security Council in 1981. In the same year he became the Chairman of the African Group. From 1982 to 1983, he was the Vice-President of the General Assembly, as well as the Facilitator of Global Negotiations. Mr. Otunnu became Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Ministerial Meeting of Non-Aligned Countries. He returned to Uganda to serve as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1985 to 1986, during which he played a major role in the Uganda peace talks which culminated in the Nairobi Agreement of December 1985. After being the President of the International Peace Academy (IPA), Mr. Otunnu served as the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict from 1998 through 2005.
This interview was conducted on 24 September 1990, while Mr. Otunnu was serving as the President of IPA. In 1981, the Security Council was caught in a deadlock over the election of the fifth Secretary-General. Mr. Otunnu was instrumental in resolving the disagreement and the ultimate election of Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. He speaks about this period here.
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