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António Guterres takes oath as 9th Secretary-General of UN
UN Photo/Manuel Elias

António Guterres takes oath as 9th Secretary-General of UN

| | 12 Dec 2016, 10:40 pm
New York, Dec 12 (IBNS): Former Prime Minister of Portugal António Guterres was on Monday sworn in as the new United Nations Secretary-General, succeeding Ban Ki-moon.

Ban Ki-moon will step down from his position at the end of the month.

Taking the oath, Guterres said: "It is time to reconstruct relations between people and leaders."

"Prevention requires us to address root causes. It must be the priority in everything we do," said he.

The newly appointed UN chief said: "Where prevention fails, we must do more to resolve conflicts."

He said humanitarian response, global goals and sustaining peace are three sides of the same triangle.

Guterres also identified gender equality as key to development.

"Our duty is to work together to move from fear of each other, to trust in each other," said he.

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 Jan 1 2017, and hold that post for the next five years.

He was formally appointed by the General Assembly on Oct 13 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 new 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 said.

At the ceremony on Monday, the 193-member General Assembly paid tribute to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his "exceptional contribution to the work of the Organization over the past decade."

Image: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

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