|Ban has been accused by human rights groups of putting too much faith in quiet diplomacy [GALLO/GETTY]
Ban Ki-moon has formally asked members of the United Nations to support his candidacy for a second five-year term as UN secretary-general.
"As I approach the end of my term of office as the secretary-general of the United Nations, I am humbly submitting my name for the consideration of the members of the Security Council for a second term," Ban's letter to Gabon's UN Ambassador Nelson Messone, this month's council president, said on Monday.
He told reporters he sent a similar request for support to the 192-nation General Assembly.
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, already had assurances of support from the United States and other key members of the UN Security Council, diplomats said in March.
Ban's first term ends on December 31. He is unopposed for re-election so far.
Officially, UN secretaries-general are elected by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.
In reality, it is the five permanent veto-wielding council members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the US - that decide who gets the job.
In recent months, Ban has met leaders of all five of those countries and many more to confirm their support.
Ban's formal re-election process should be over by the end of June, possibly as early as this week, UN diplomats said.
In the letter to Messone, Ban said he and the 15-nation council had "found common ground on critical global issues of peace and security - from Somalia to Sudan, Ivory Coast to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East and far beyond".
"I am proud of all we have done together, even as I am mindful of the formidable challenges ahead," he wrote.
Speaking to reporters at UN headquarters, Ban cited his push to make climate change a top concern for governments as one of his major accomplishments since he took the helm of the world body in January 2007.
On his watch, he said, the UN "responded quickly and effectively to a series of devastating humanitarian emergencies" in Myanmar, Haiti, Pakistan and elsewhere.
Ban said his team also worked to keep attention on the world's poorest people during the global economic crisis.
France has already backed a second term for Ban, Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, said in a statement.
"The UN, and the entire international community, can rely on him, on his very solid experience and on his authority. Ban Ki-moon has France's full support," he said.
Ban met earlier on Monday with the so-called Asia Group, a cluster of UN member states that also includes some nations from the Middle East, to announce and discuss his candidacy for a second term, diplomats said.
Li Baodong, the Chinese UN envoy, told reporters the Asia Group endorsed Ban's candidacy, adding he has demonstrated "strong leadership" and shown he is a "person of action".
Ban's understated approach and less-than-perfect English set him apart from his more outspoken predecessor, Kofi Annan, who ran afoul of the administration of then-US President George W Bush for declaring the 2003 invasion of Iraq "illegal".
Over the past four-and-a-half years, Ban has been accused by human rights groups of putting too much faith in quiet diplomacy.
They have also criticised him for not taking powerful countries like China to task for what they say are rampant rights abuses.