United Nations set to elect next Secretary General

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Outgoing UN chief Ban Ki-moon. Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

FILE: Outgoing UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

The UN General Assembly is set to formally appoint on Thursday Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres as the next Secretary-General of the world body to replace Ban Ki-moon.

The 15-nation Security Council had last week in a closed door session decided by acclamation to send Guterres’s name to the 193-member General Assembly for final approval.

Assembly President Peter Thomson said in a note circulated at the global organisations’ headquarters that the date for the appointment of the Secretary-General has been set for October 13 in the General Assembly Hall.

The adoption of Guterres’s name as successor to Ban will be followed by statements by the Secretary-General-designate. Thomson will also convene an informal meeting next week with Guterres, where all Member States and groups will address the session.

67-year-old Guterres will succeed Ban as the 9th Secretary General when Ban’s tenure ends on December 31.

Guterres term as the world’s top diplomat will be from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2022. He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and then had served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.

Speaking in Lisbon shortly after his selection last week, Guterres had expressed “gratitude and humility” and had vowed to “serve” those most vulnerable, including victims of conflict, terrorism, violation of rights and poverty.

In his vision statement submitted in April this year, Guterres had stressed that the values of peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity enshrined in the Charter are central to all cultures and religions in the world and are reflected in the Holy Books – from the “Upanishads” to the Qur’an and the Gospels.

He had said the Secretary-General of the UN should “actively, consistently and tirelessly” exercise his good offices and mediation capacity as an honest broker, bridge builder and messenger of peace.

Guterres noted that prevention is also crucial to combating terrorism and the international community has the “legal right and moral duty” to act collectively to put an end to terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations.”