HL * "Smear" campaign knocks Aga Khan out of U.N. race
Byline: By Olivia Ward Toronto Star
SO Toronto Star (TOR)
Origin: UNITED NATIONS
LP * --- "Smear" campaign knocks Aga Khan out of U.N. race --- UNITED NATIONS - When the U.N. Security Council holds its first formal vote for a new secretary-general today, one candidate is as good as gone.
TX * Officials say Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan was the target of a covert smear campaign to remove him from the race. The 58-year-old career U.N. envoy was torpedoed by a leaked auditor"s report that alleged financial mismanagement of an Afghan relief project, Operation Salam, under his control until last year. The complaints were not aimed directly at Sadruddin, but claimed that at least $4 million in U.N. funds were not properly accounted for by his bookkeepers and field workers. A senior U.N. official who later reviewed the document called the leak a hatchet job based on "a preliminary report" that was largely overturned on further investigation. But media reports of the leaked material were damning, and diplomats say Sadruddin is almost certainly out of the running for the post. The cosmopolitan millionaire diplomat was considered to be a possible tie-breaker if neither of two neck-and-neck African frontrunners came out as a clear winner in today"s poll. Sadruddin was the only nonAfrican candidate who did not attract a veto from China in previous straw polls. Today"s vote is not expected to be conclusive. But diplomats say the two leading African candidates, Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Ghali and Zimbabwean Finance Minister Bernard Chidzero, are likely to stay on the ballot until Monday. If several new names are added, the voting process could continue after Monday. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney backed out before the last poll. If new names surface tomorrow, they could include that of Constitutional Affairs Minister Joe Clark, as well as Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson, who heads the U.N."s anti-apartheid fund, and exiled Ugandan diplomat Olara Otunnu.
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