East Timor president declines 'offer' to succeed Arbour as UN rights chief Andrew Gilmore at 8:45 AM ET
[JURIST] East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] Friday declined what he described as an offer to become the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, despite having told parliament last week [AP report] that he had accepted the position. Ramos-Horta said he changed his mind because resigning from the presidency would force new elections to be held within 90 days, something he feared could destabilize the newly-formed country. The UN has made no official statement on the matter. Ramos-Horta, who won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize [Nobel Prize website], had been considered a leading candidate for the position since surviving an assassination attempt [JURIST report] in February. Current UNHCHR Louise Arbour [official profile; JURIST news archive] will be formally stepping down next week. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.
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