UN diplomat sorry for tribute rant
The United Nations' top Chinese official meant to pay tribute to secretary-general Ban Ki-moon at a retreat for senior UN staff last weekend, but UN officials said he had been drinking and the tribute turned into a rant against the UN chief, the UN and the United States.
Sha Zukang, the UN under secretary-general for economic and social affairs, was "deeply apologetic" when he went to see the secretary-general the following morning, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
"He said that he had risen to speak the previous evening because he felt that recent criticisms of the secretary-general had been unfair and that he wanted to set the record straight," Mr Haq said.
But Mr Sha told Mr Ban he realised the way he spoke, "coming as it did after he had had a few drinks, was inappropriate, as it went too far", Mr Haq said. "He was also aware that his statements had embarrassed and irritated other senior advisers."
Foreign Affairs magazine's Turtle Bay Blog, which broke the story, quoted Mr Sha as saying, according to an unnamed senior official: "I know you never liked me, Mr secretary-general - well, I never liked you either. I didn't want to come to New York. It was the last thing I wanted to do. But I've come to love the UN and I'm coming to admire some things about you."