UN General Assembly appoints Portugal's Antonio Guterres as new secretary-general
The UN General Assembly on Thursday formally appointed Antonio Guterres as the new secretary-general of the United Nations, replacing Ban Ki-moon.
United Nations: The UN General Assembly on Thursday formally appointed Antonio Guterres as the new secretary-general of the United Nations, replacing Ban Ki-moon.
The 193 member states adopted by acclamation a resolution appointing the former prime minister of Portugal for a five-year term beginning 1 January.
The socialist politician, who also served as UN refugee chief for a decade, is expected to play a more prominent role as the world's diplomat-in-chief than Ban, the South Korean former foreign minister who will step down after two five-year terms.
Guterres won unanimous support from the UN Security Council during a vote last week that capped the most transparent campaign ever held at the United Nations for the top post.
The 67-year-old polyglot campaigned on a pledge to promote human rights and enact reforms within the UN system, seen as clunky and too slow to respond to unfolding disasters.
His appointment comes at a time of global anxiety over the ongoing war in Syria, the refugee crisis and raging conflicts in South Sudan and Yemen.
The Security Council is deadlocked over Syria after two draft resolutions were defeated in separate votes over the weekend, one of which was vetoed by Damascus ally Russia.
Submarine row: US, allies deepen military cooperation in Indo-Pacific amid growing tensions with China
China has bristled at the moves, and the growing tensions between Beijing and Washington prompted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to implore Joe Biden and Xi Jinping to repair their “completely dysfunctional” relationship.
In his opening speech to the General Assembly, a grim Guterres highlighted the gap between the rich and poor with “billionaires joyriding to space while millions go hungry on Earth.”
The notion of nations playing on a level field may sound fair and just, but smaller countries insist that principle crumbles when power dynamics come into play