UN Chief Guterres Appointed for Second Term

By Reuters
Reuters
Reuters
June 20, 2021 Updated: June 20, 2021

NEW YORK—United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was appointed for a second-five year-term on Friday by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly.

“I will give it my all to ensure the blossoming of trust between and among nations large and small, to build bridges, and to engage relentlessly in confidence building,” Guterres told the General Assembly after taking the oath of office.

The 15-member Security Council earlier this month recommended the General Assembly re-appoint Guterres. His second term starts on beginning on Jan. 1, 2022.

Guterres succeeded Ban Ki-moon in January 2017, just weeks before former President Donald Trump became commander in chief. During his presidency, Trump repeatedly questioned the value of the United Nations for the United States, which he said was contributing an “unfair” share of the cost of running the organization.

“But, to be fair, if [the United Nations] could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it,” Trump said in a 2017 speech.

The United States is the largest U.N. financial contributor, responsible for 22 percent of the regular budget and around a quarter of the peacekeeping budget. President Joe Biden, who took office in January, has started restoring funding cuts made by Trump to U.N. agencies.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United Nations faced historic challenges but she hoped that with Guterres at the helm “the next five years will see more peace, more security, and more prosperity than the last.”

“It will require hard work, political will, and accountability from all U.N. member states,” she said in a statement, adding every member states should have “an impassioned commitment” to human rights.

Guterres, 72, was prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and head of the U.N. refugee agency from 2005 to 2015. As secretary-general, he has been a cheerleader for top-down action on controlling the world’s climate, COVID-19 vaccines for all, and digital cooperation.

When he took the reins as U.N. chief, the world body was struggling to end wars and deal with humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen. Those conflicts are still unresolved, and Guterres is also now faced with emergencies in Myanmar and the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

By Michelle Nichols. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.

Reuters
Reuters