Portugal’s Antonio Guterres elected as new UN Secretary-General
Former Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has been appointed as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations, marking another era of peace making.
Elected by the General Assembly, the 67-year-old Mr. Guterres was chosen from among 13 candidates and will take over the charge form present UN Chief Ban Ki-moon when he retires on December 31, 2016.
Guterres led the Portugal government during 1995 to 2002 and also worked as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.
After being selected, Antonio Guterres said he has “the moral duty and the universal right” to ensure peace and he will be indulged in promoting a new “diplomacy for peace” worldwide.
Guterres was quoted by BBC News as saying: “I believe it is the international community’s first priority is to be able to end this conflict and use this momentum created by it to try to address all the other conflicts that are interlinked.”
“I hope people will understand that it’s better to put aside different opinions, different interests and to understand that there is a common, vital interest to put an end to these conflicts, because that is absolutely central if you want to live in a world where a minimum of securities are established, where people can live a normal life,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon, described his successor as “a superb choice” for the position, saying that he had worked closely with Guterres earlier.
Mr. Ban was quoted as saying: “Secretary-General-elect Guterres is well known to all of us in the hall. But he is perhaps best known where it counts most: on the frontlines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering.”
According to media reports, Guterres selection comes despite many efforts to appoint the UN’s first female secretary general. The list of 13 candidates included seven women including Unesco director-general Irina Bokova and former prime minister of New Zealand Helen Clark.