Portugal’s Antonio Guterres set to be sworn in as next UN Secretary General

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UNITED NATIONS, Dec 11 (APP): Former Prime Minister of Portugal
Antonio Guterres is set to be sworn in Monday, December 12, as the
next United Nations Secretary General, succeeding South Korea’s Ban
Ki moon who steps down at the end of the month.
Guterres, 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He will become the world’s top diplomat on January 1, 2017, and hold that post for the next five years.
He was formally appointed by the General Assembly on October 14 in
what was the culmination of an historic process member states set in
motion late last year: the selection of a new United Nations Secretary General, traditionally decided behind closed doors by a few powerful countries, for the first time in history, involved public discussions with each candidate campaigning for the organization’s ninth chief.
These so called ‘informal briefings’ between the candidates, UN
member states and civil society representatives kicked off on April 12,
when the first three candidates presented their ‘vision statements’ and answered questions on how they would promote sustainable development, improve efforts to create peace, protect human rights, and deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes should they be selected to lead the organization.
In October, thanking the Assembly for appointing him as the next Secretary General, Guterres said he was grateful to the member states
for their trust in him as well as for the transparent and open selection process they undertook.
“I believe this process means that the true winner today is the credibility of the UN. And it also made very clear to me that, as Secretary General, having been chosen by all Member States, I must be
at the service of them all equally and with no agenda but the one
enshrined in the UN Charter,” he added.
Monday’s ceremony, at which Guterres will take the oath of office,
will also see the 193 member General Assembly pay tribute to Secretary General Ban Ki moon for his exceptional contribution to the
work of the organization over the past decade.
On Thursday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign
Affairs Tariq Fatemi paid a courtesy call on Guterres, the Secretary General designate, and conveyed congratulations to him on behalf of
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, with the hope that the fruitful cooperation between Pakistan and the UN would further enhance under
his leadership.