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Spain ex-foreign minister bids for top FAO job

Former Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said on Tuesday he is running for the top job at the UN’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

“If I wasn’t convinced I could win I wouldn’t have put myself forward,” Moratinos told a press conference at the Spanish embassy in Rome.

The ex-minister, who served in Spain’s Socialist government from 2004 to 2010, said he hoped to be able to count on the support of other European countries as well as those in the Middle East and Latin America.

Three other candidates, from Brazil, Iraq and Indonesia, have already put themselves forward to take over from FAO Director General Jacques Diouf on January 1, 2012.

Economist Jose Graziano, the Brazilian candidate, is an FAO representative in Latin America and a key figure in the South American country’s campaign against hunger, “Fome Zero” (Zero Hunger), considered a resounding success.

Moratinos has said his main aim would be “to eradicate world poverty and hunger” and to put measures into place against “price and food speculation.”

The ex-minister said he also has plans to modernise the UN organisation.

According to Elias Guia, one of Spain’s diplomatic representatives to the FAO, “all candidates that have put themselves forward so far are high-level professionals who are very capable of facing up to the new era at the FAO.”

Candidates can come forward until January 31. The new director general will be elected between June 25 and July 2 in Rome, and will be able to hold the post for a maximum of eight years.