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PRESS RELEASE: France Opposed Dr. Salim’s Candidacy as UN Secretary General in 1996

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France Opposed Dr. Salim’s Candidacy as UN Secretary General in 1996

Dar es Salaam: In 1996, during the campaign for the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim was seen as a strong candidate to succeed the late Boutros Boutros-Ghali – whose position was no longer tenable due to the strong opposition by the United States. This set off in motion an open selection process that involved Dr. Salim, whose candidature was strongly pushed by President Nelson Mandela and the Government of South Africa.

France was determined to use the command of the French language as a pre-requisite for any candidate for the UN and as a result did not support Dr. Salim’s potential candidacy. This, along with other insights during the UN Secretary General race in December 1996, has been revealed in today’s release of new material on the Salim Ahmed Salim Digital Archive (

The new material consists of Dr. Salim’s personal notes and includes the following:

  • 1996 UN Secretary General Race: Details and intrigue over the race to succeed Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the role France, the United States and South Africa played in Dr. Salim’s potential candidacy. This includes a surprise move by South Africa where Vice President Thabo Mbeki declared full support for Dr. Salim’s potential candidacy as UN Secretary General.
  • Call with President Nelson Mandela in December 1996: A discussion between Dr. Salim and President Mandela on the evolving situation regarding the UN Secretary General race. Of particular interest to President Mandela were the signals from the United States that they would be open to support Dr. Salim’s candidacy.
  • Meeting with President Hosni Mubarak regarding the Gulf War in 1991: A bilateral meeting between Dr. Salim and the President of Egypt regarding the Gulf War and the latter’s view on President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and whether there is any role for an African initiative to resolve the crisis.
  • Commentary by Dr. Salim on the Gulf War: As the ground invasion begins with the United States’ offensive against Iraq, Dr. Salim provides a commentary on the Gulf War and its implications.

The Salim Ahmed Salim Digital Archive provides a unique lens through the legacy of Dr Salim that illustrates Tanzania's role in African and international affairs, sharing perspectives on the continents' political and diplomatic history.


PRESS RELEASE ENGLISH: France opposed Dr. Salim’s Candidacy as UN Secretary General in 1996

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PRESS RELEASE KISWAHILI: Ufaransa Iliupinga Uteuzi wa Dkt. Salim Kama Katibu Mkuu wa Umoja wa Mataifa mwaka 1996

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