U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali began a four-day Geneva visit Saturday as controversy sharpened on his future leadership of the world body.

He has pledged to stand for a second five-year term in six months' time, despite Washington's opposition.The U.N. chief returned to the Swiss city from a three-day official visit to Germany, his European spokeswoman announced, as the European Union was reported considering proposing he hold office for a shortened second term to overcome U.S. hostility to his reappointment.

An EU diplomat said EU foreign ministers at a summit in Florence, Italy, discussed the idea of cutting Boutros-Ghali's second term to two years or possibly even one year instead.

Boutros-Ghali, 73, a former Egyptian deputy prime minister, announced last week he would seek the second term traditionally accorded to U.N. chiefs, but the United States immediately said it would veto him.

Friday, Washington said its decision was irrevocable.

Boutros-Ghali, in an interview with Bonn's General-Anzeiger Saturday, said he wanted to complete the task of U.N. reform.