UN picks next sec­re­tary-gen­eral

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By WANG LINYAN in New York wan­glinyan@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly on Thurs­day ap­pointed for­mer Prime Min­is­ter of Por­tu­gal An­tónio Guter­res as the ninth UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral start­ing on Jan 1, 2017.

Guter­res, 67, will suc­ceed Ban Ki-moon, who will re­tire on Dec 31 after two five-year terms. Guter­res, who was Por­tu­gal’s prime min­is­ter from 1995 to 2002, was UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees from June 2005 to De­cem­ber 2015.

Guter­res said that al­le­vi­at­ing the suf­fer­ing of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, in par­tic­u­lar the refugees and those in con­flict zones, and gen­der equal­ity would re­main his pri­or­i­ties dur­ing his ten­ure.

The Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral-des­ig­nate em­pha­sized his be­lief in the val­ues of peace, jus­tice and hu­man dig­nity.

Diver­sity is a “tremen­dous as­set” and not a threat, he said.

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil last week unan­i­mously rec­om­mended that the Gen­eral As­sem­bly ap­point Guter­res. He beat out 12 other can­di­dates, seven of whom were women.

UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon said Guter­res is a “won­der­ful choice” to steer the or­ga­ni­za­tion as we build on the progress of the past decade, while ad­dress­ing the in­se­cu­rity and un­cer­tain­ties of to­day’s world.

“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,” Ban said, re­fer­ring to his time as head of the UN refugee agency.

Liu Jieyi, China’s per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the UN, con­grat­u­lated Guter­res.

Guter­res thanked mem­ber states for their trust and for the trans­par­ent and open se­lec­tion process.

“I be­lieve this process means that the true win­ner to­day is the cred­i­bil­ity of the UN,” he said.

“And it also made very clear to me that, as sec­re­tarygen­eral, hav­ing been cho­sen by all mem­ber states, I must be at the ser­vice of them all equally and with no agenda but the one en­shrined in the UN Char­ter.”

For the first time, the se­lec­tion of a new sec­re­tary-gen­eral in­volved public dis­cus­sions with each can­di­date cam­paign­ing for the world’s top diplo­matic post.

The first three can­di­dates pre­sented their vi­sion state­ments and an­swered ques­tions at the in­for­mal brief­ings be­tween the can­di­dates, UN mem­ber states and civil so­ci­ety rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

As­sem­bly Pres­i­dent Thom­son stressed that he would do ev­ery­thing within his power to fa­cil­i­tate a smooth tran­si­tion.

REUTERS / BREN­DAN MCDER­MID

Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral-des­ig­nate An­to­nio Guter­res (left) of Por­tu­gal is greeted by UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon at United Na­tions head­quar­ters in New York on Thurs­day.

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