United Nations appoints Portugal’s Guterres as next UN chief
AFP photoThe 193-member United Nations General Assembly unanimously appointed former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres on Oct. 13 as the ninth secretary-general of the world body for five years beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
Guterres, 67, will replace Ban Ki-moon, 72, of South Korea. Ban will step down at the end of 2016 after serving two terms. Guterres was Portugal’s prime minister from 1995 to 2002 and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.
“He is perhaps best known where it counts most: on the front lines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering,” Ban told the General Assembly after Guterres was appointed. “I have long valued his advice, and long admired his spirit of service.”
“His political instincts are those of the United Nations: cooperation for the common good, and shared responsibility for people and the planet,” he said. “He recognizes the crucial importance of women’s empowerment, from peace tables to the halls of this house.”
The 15-member U.N. Security Council last week unanimously recommended that the General Assembly appoint Guterres. He beat out 12 other candidates, seven of whom were women, amid a push for the first woman to be elected.