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UN chief Guterres wins second term and pledges to promote multilateralism




UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pledged to promote multilateralism to address global challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change as he secured a second term on Friday, with the General Assembly approving to unanimously his candidacy to continue to occupy the highest position.

“All of this requires reinvigorated multilateralism for the new era, based on principles of equity and solidarity,” the 72-year-old said at a press conference.

Guterres is currently in the last year of his first five-year term. His continued leadership of the United Nations was assured after the Security Council passed a resolution earlier this month supporting his intention to continue.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved Antonio Guterres (right) for a new five-year term as secretary-general of the international body on June 18, 2021 (courtesy of the United Nations) (Kyodo)

“I am deeply honored and grateful for the confidence you have placed in me to serve as Secretary General of the United Nations for a second term,” he said in a speech.

At the press conference later, Guterres said: “The pandemic has exposed our common vulnerability, our interdependence and the absolute need for collective action. “

“Our biggest challenge – and at the same time our biggest opportunity – is to use this crisis as an opportunity to make a difference, to pivot towards a world that learns its lessons, recovers in a fairer, greener and better way. sustainable, and forge ahead with much more effective global cooperation to address global concerns, ”he added.

It is customary in the United Nations for a Secretary General to serve two terms. Guterres, who in January indicated his intention to run for a second term, was the only official candidate.

Global challenges that Guterres is expected to address during his tenure as UN chief until the end of 2026 also include issues of human rights, nuclear disarmament and gender equality.

Following the approval of his second term by the General Assembly, some countries including Japan, China and the United States sent congratulatory messages.

“With a high assessment of the role Mr. Guterres has played in solving international problems, we will cooperate more closely with him,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a letter to the UN chief.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent a telegram to Guterres, congratulating him on his reappointment and expressing hope that the UN chief will protect multilateralism from a universal and equitable position, according to China’s Central Public Television.

Calling the United Nations “an indispensable anchor of the multilateral system,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a press release: “The United States looks forward to continuing its strong and constructive relationship with the Secretary General. Guterres as we advance the urgent task of building a more peaceful world and a prosperous future. “

Guterres held the top UN post in January 2017 after serving as Portuguese Prime Minister and UN refugee chief.

In August 2018, he became the first serving chief of the international body to visit Nagasaki, one of the Japanese cities devastated by US atomic bombing shortly before Japan’s surrender in World War II, where he visited attended a ceremony marking the 73rd anniversary of the attack.

He also indicated his intention to attend the 76th anniversary of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima on August 6 this year if the situation with the coronavirus pandemic allows him to fly to the city in western Japan.

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