Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to name next chief

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

UNITED NA­TIONS (AP):

THE SE­CU­RITY Coun­cil unan­i­mously agreed yes­ter­day that Por­tu­gal’s former prime min­is­ter An­to­nio Guter­res should be the next sec­re­tary gen­eral of the United Na­tions.

Rus­sia’s UN Am­bas­sador Vi­taly Churkin made the an­nounce­ment to re­porters sur­rounded by the 14 other coun­cil am­bas­sadors af­ter they held a sixth in­for­mal poll of the 10 can­di­dates be­hind closed doors.

Churkin an­nounced that the coun­cil would hold a for­mal vote on Thurs­day morn­ing to rec­om­mend Guter­res to the 193-mem­ber Gen­eral Assem­bly, which must ap­prove a suc­ces­sor to Ban Ki­moon whose sec­ond five-year term ends on De­cem­ber 31. By tra­di­tion, the job of sec­re­tary gen­eral has ro­tated among re­gions. Asia, Africa, Latin Amer­ica and Europe have all held the post. East Euro­pean na­tions, in­clud­ing Rus­sia, ar­gue that they have never had a sec­re­tary gen­eral and it was their turn. There has also never been a wo­man sec­re­tary gen­eral and more than 50 na­tions and many oth­ers cam­paigned to elect the first fe­male UN chief.

But Guter­res, who served as the UN’s high com­mis­sioner for refugees un­til De­cem­ber, topped all six polls de­spite be­ing a man from Western Europe.

For the first time this year, the Gen­eral Assem­bly’s mem­bers held twohour ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sions with all 13 can­di­dates who en­tered the race, and in the eyes of many diplomats Guter­res per­formed best.

In the fifth ‘straw’ poll, how­ever, he still re­ceived two ‘dis­cour­age’ votes and there was a lot of spec­u­la­tion about whether Rus­sia, which is a mem­ber of the East Euro­pean group, would vote for him.

The sixth in­for­mal poll yes­ter­day morn­ing was the first to use coloured bal­lots to dis­tin­guish the votes of the five veto-wield­ing Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­bers — the United States, Rus­sia, China, Bri­tain and France. Diplomats said in the vote that Guter­res re­ceived 13 ‘en­cour­age’ votes, no ‘dis­cour­age’ votes, and two ‘no opin­ion’.

Churkin paid trib­ute to all 13 can­di­dates who en­tered the race be­fore an­nounc­ing the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s sup­port for Guter­res. Three dropped out be­fore Wed­nes­day’s vote, leav­ing five men and five women in the race.

United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees An­to­nio Guter­res.

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