Embattled UN Secretary General Kofi Annan got a standing ovation from diplomats from around the world here, in what UN officials said was a show of support at a time of crisis.
Facing calls to resign from some US politicians and the United Nations under fire over corruption allegations, Annan won hearty applause after a speech in the General Assembly on reforming the United Nations.
"You have just received a rare and exceptionally warm tribute by the General Assembly," assembly president Jean Ping of Gabon told the gathering after Annan's speech.
"This long standing ovation is an expression of the support of member states to your action, and the trust member states have in you as a person for the work that you continue to undertake at the helm of the United Nations," he said.
"In a world faced with doubt, confusion and even confrontation, you have been and remain a point of reference, a source of inspiration and wisdom for millions of persons in the world," Ping said.
Nations from across the globe have expressed support in recent days for Annan, who appeared before the assembly to formally present a report he commissioned on revitalising the UN system.
Annan has been under mounting pressure over the UN's supervision of Iraqi oil sales under Saddam Hussein's regime, in particular concerning new revelations about payments to his son Kojo.
There has been no indication that Annan profited but the UN chief admitted there was a "perception problem" after it emerged Kojo kept receiving payments until February from a Swiss firm working under the programme.
Annan's spokesman Fred Eckhard on Wednesday again shrugged off calls for the secretary general's resignation, saying that no member states in the 191-nation world body have made any such statement.
Copyright © 2004 AFP