Israel has expressed its satisfaction with the nomination of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon to be the next Secretary General of the United Nations. The UN Security Council has unanimously selected Ki-Moon for the position and is only waiting for the formal approval of the General Assembly. Ki-Moon will start working on January 1, 2007.
The great satisfaction in Jerusalem stems from Ki-Moon’s close relations with Israel and his personal relationship with many Israeli officials, including Eitan Haber, who was Yitzhak Rabin’s chief of staff.
Sources in Israel say that in contrast to Kofi Annan, Ki-Moon has a real knowledge of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Ki-Moon is a quiet and reserved man who will refrain from condemning Israel on a regular basis like his predecessor had done. In addition, he believes that a political settlement should not be imposed on Israel and he believes in quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy, not diplomacy of confrontation. As someone who comes from South Korea which has close ties with Israel, especially in the defense sector – Ki-Moon believes that any settlement between Israel and the Palestinians must give an answer to Israel’s security needs.
Ki-Moon visited Israel last year and met with Prime Minister Sharon on a Friday – a very rare occurrence. He recently met with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem say that after numerous incidents that Israel had with Annan, the nomination of Ki-Moon is undoubtedly good news for Israel.