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Diplomat slams weak UN chief

OSLO, Aug 21 – A senior Norwegian diplomat has slammed Ban Ki-Moon as lacking leadership, ineffectual and prone to angry outbursts, a daily reported Wednesday, just two weeks ahead of the UN chief’s visit to Oslo.

Mona Juul, the Norwegian deputy ambassador to the United Nations, sent a damning confidential letter to her ministry half-way through Ban’s mandate, in which she said he had "struggled to show leadership," Aftenposten reported.

In the letter which the newspaper published on its website, Juul also described Ban as "lacking charisma" and "passive", especially in hotspots such as Sri Lanka, where a decades-long rebel insurgency was brought to an end by a bloody government offensive.

"At a time when the UN and multilateral solutions are more necessary than ever to resolve global crises, Ban and the UN are notable by their absence," she wrote.

When contacted by AFP, the Norwegian foreign ministry did not deny the letter’s existence but declined to comment on its contents, describing it as "an internal memo."

Juul, who played a leading role in brokering the Oslo accords which led to a peace agreement being signed in 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said Ban had been a "passive observer" in Sri Lanka.

She said he had also displayed his weakness in the face of the global financial crisis, on environmental issues and the situation in Myanmar where opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been in detention for 14 of the past 20 years.

Juul said Ban had also shown a lack of leadership over dealing with the problems faced in Darfur, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The diplomat also claimed that members of the UN secretary general’s team felt demotivated and tense due to the alleged flaws in Ban’s personality.

"He appears to prefer being always in the spotlight, without the competition from his advisers, and he makes it known quite clearly by making sure it is only him that speaks to the media," she wrote

"Ban regularly throws a fit which even his most cool-headed and experienced collaborators have a problem in dealing with," Juul added.

The South Korean-born Ban is due to visit Norway on August 31.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told the newspaper that Ban was a "worker" and a good listener.

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