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The UN Secretary-General and the Security CouncilA Dynamic Relationship$
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Manuel Fröhlich and Abiodun Williams

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198748915.001.0001

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Kofi Annan, 1997–2006

Kofi Annan, 1997–2006

(p.160) 7 Kofi Annan, 1997–2006
The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council

Abiodun Williams

Oxford University Press

The decade of Kofi Annan’s tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997–2006) was a tumultuous point in world affairs, characterized by dramatic events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and catastrophes like the Bam earthquake in Iran and the Indian Ocean tsunami. Kofi Annan needed to overcome growing suspicions between North and South, and between the US and the rest of the membership, in order to help the UN’s governing bodies to reach decisions. This was necessary, and especially difficult, in the case of Security Council decisions on major challenges to international peace and security, such as those posed by Iraq and Kosovo. He needed to work with a Council in which there was a breakdown of consensus among the P5, and the P5 relationship was struggling to find a new equilibrium in a changing geopolitical landscape. While disposing of very little coercive authority, he needed to use his personality to help the Council direct the flow of the deep currents in the global security order. Annan was a norm entrepreneur who used the bully pulpit to shape norms, notably the Responsibility to Protect.

Keywords:   Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, UN Security Council, United States of America, Personality, Kosovo, Iraq, Responsibility to Protect

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