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4 May 1999
Ruggiero urges calm, unity in dg selection process

Departing World Trade Organization Director-General Renato Ruggiero, Tuesday, urged calm and unity among the organization's members as they continue the process of selecting his successor.

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Mr. Ruggiero left his office in the WTO at 5:00 pm on Tuesday in accordance with the terms of his contract which mandated a single four year term and that his successor be from a non-European country. Any delay in his departure, Mr. Ruggiero said, would be unhelpful to the process of appointing a new Director-General.

He expressed disappointment that his successor has not yet been selected and urged members to engage constructively as they seek to appoint the man who will lead the organization at its 3rd Ministerial Conference in Seattle, USA this December and into the complex trade negotiations that will ensue shortly after that meeting.

"This organization needs now a Director-General who is fully empowered to help the preparation for the Ministerial Conference and the subsequent negotiations. I emphasize that the strength of this organization is largely based on our reaching decisions by consensus and it appears to me that there is no reason why a consensus could not be reached on this issue," Mr. Ruggiero said.

On Friday, Mr. Ruggiero selected WTO Services Director David Hartridge to handle the day to day affairs of the Secretariat until the new Director-General assumes office.