Recent NEWS

Guterres takes over UN, wants to ‘put peace first’

UNITED NATIONS — Antonio Guterres took office as  secretary general of the United Nations and asked the world to unite in a common New Year’s resolution of putting peace first and striving to overcome differences.

“How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?” the former prime minister of Portugal asked nations in a statement released on Sunday.

“No one wins these wars; everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all,” he said.

He asked the world to unite in a common New Year’s resolution: “Let us resolve to put peace first. Let us make 2017 a year in which we all—citizens, governments, leaders—strive to overcome our differences.”

Guterres assumed the reins of the UN on Sunday hoping to breathe new life into the world body, in the wake of its impotence over Syria’s humanitarian catastrophe.

The Portuguese former prime minister, 67, will become the first onetime head of government to lead the UN, succeeding South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon for a five-year term.

His unanimous election has energized UN diplomats who see him as a skilled politician who may be able to overcome the divisions crippling the United Nations.

One Western ambassador regretted only that a woman wasn’t picked to take the post for the first time, adding with a smile that “except for the gender, he is perfect.”

Guterres faces a monumental task grappling with complex crises in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, North Korea and elsewhere — overseeing a clunky entrenched bureaucracy and a bitterly divided Security Council that will leave him little room to maneuver.

Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House on January 20 likely will further complicate his task.

Guterres has acknowledged that “the secretary general is not the leader of the world,” but rather that his work depends on the goodwill of the world’s great powers.

After two terms under Ban, widely criticized for lacking initiative and charisma, some diplomats are banking on a change of style and personality to revitalize the UN.

– Too little, too late –

An engineer by training and a practicing Catholic, Guterres fought for migrants’ rights as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, anchoring his country to the European Union and working to raise living standards.

He has laid out three priorities for change: working for peace, supporting sustainable development and improving internal UN management.

One issue looms above the others, however.

“My deepest regret on leaving office is the continuing nightmare in Syria,” Ban recently declared.

The UN has looked on helplessly as the Syrian army laid siege to the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, the country’s second city, backed by Russia and Iran.

Their sole concession to the UN was to allow a small handful of observers to follow the evacuation of thousands of civilians.

“Too little, too late,” one diplomat said.

During almost six years of war, Russia has protected its Syrian ally from Western pressure by using its veto in the Security Council to torpedo resolutions over the conflict six times.

Guterres inherits the portfolio with Moscow and Ankara spearheading a nationwide ceasefire effort.

Russia is pushing a political solution to the crisis that would hugely favor Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, reinforced by his conquest of Aleppo.

Western diplomats believe the incoming UN chief should put his own ideas on a settlement forward fairly quickly, without binding himself to any formal peace plan.

For the time being, “he is keeping his cards close to the chest,” another diplomat said.

Vowing to “engage personally” in conflict resolution, Guterres has remained vague about his plans.

“We need more, mediation, arbitration and preventive diplomacy,” he has said.

However, Ban has already gone through two Syria mediators—Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi, who both resigned—before appointing Staffan de Mistura, who has appeared exasperated over the UN’s powerlessness over the conflict.

– Time for reform –

The same helplessness and at times disunity has marked the UN’s response to the civil war that ravaged South Sudan for three years. A US initiative to impose an arms embargo failed, winning only seven votes from the 15 countries that sit on the Security Council.

The approximately 13,000 peacekeepers deployed in the country have been criticized for failing to protect the civilians crowding UN bases.

Elsewhere on the continent, accusations of rape have permanently tarnished the reputation of UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.

Guterres has acknowledged the criticism, saying “it is time for the United Nations to recognize its shortcomings and to reform the way it works.”

“The United Nations needs to be nimble, efficient and effective.”

He has already begun implementing one of his promises—working toward gender parity—by appointing three women from developing countries to key positions, including Nigeria’s Environment Minister Amina Mohammed as deputy secretary general.

The main unknown is the impact Trump’s presidency will have on the UN and global affairs.

The Republican billionaire has shown mistrust and even a degree of contempt toward the United Nations and threatened to revisit the Paris climate change agreement, one of Ban’s biggest successes.

That has caused concern, given he is the future leader of the UN’s main donor, which contributes 22 percent of its budget.

It’s also unclear what effect a US-Russia rapprochement—something Trump advocates­—would have on the Security Council.

Last week, Trump sought in vain to prevent the council from adopting a resolution denouncing Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, after which he tweeted: “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

With AFP

Article parent : http://wp.me/p39iaI-2eu

45 Comments on Guterres takes over UN, wants to ‘put peace first’

  1. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be working
    with? I’m experiencing some minor security problems with
    my latest blog and I would like to find something more risk-free.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  2. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site.
    I really hope to check out the same high-grade content from
    you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has
    encouraged me to get my very own website now ;
    )

  3. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better!

    Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out.
    Please let me know where you got your design. Thank you

  5. Admiring the time and energy you put into your website and in depth information you provide.
    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Great
    read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  6. Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this content together.
    I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and
    posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  7. Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clearness in your post is just cool and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  8. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I
    could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time
    and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your
    new updates.

  9. Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous
    to and you are just too excellent. I really like what you
    have acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way
    in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you
    still take care of to keep it sensible. I
    can’t wait to read much more from you. This is really a terrific web site.

  10. May I simply just say what a comfort to uncover somebody that actually understands what they
    are discussing on the web. You definitely realize how
    to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More and more people should read this and understand this side of your story.
    It’s surprising you’re not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.

  11. Thanks for every other informative blog. Where else could I
    am getting that kind of information written in such a perfect method?
    I have a venture that I am just now operating on, and I have been at
    the look out for such information.

  12. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful
    information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

  13. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this
    post was good. I don’t know who you are but definitely you
    are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  14. When someone writes an post he/she keeps the thought of a user in his/her mind that how a
    user can be aware of it. Thus that’s why this post is perfect.
    Thanks!

  15. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure
    of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  16. My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right.
    This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  17. Hi I am so delighted I found your webpage, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Digg for something else, Regardless I am here now and
    would just like to say thanks for a remarkable post and a all round
    exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to
    look over it all at the minute but I have book-marked
    it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep
    up the superb b.

  18. Hey there, I think your website might be having browser
    compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site
    in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you
    a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  19. Hello there! This post could not be written much better! Going through this post reminds
    me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this.
    I will forward this information to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a great
    read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  20. Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back once again since I saved as
    a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to
    guide others.

  21. Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but
    I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share.

    Many thanks!

  22. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website.
    I’m hoping to view the same high-grade content from you in the future as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal
    site now 😉

  23. Heya this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you
    have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no
    coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  24. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog
    and was wondering what all is required to get set up?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any tips or advice
    would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  25. Just wish to say your article is as astounding.

    The clearness to your post is simply spectacular and that i can think you’re a professional in this subject.
    Well along with your permission let me to grab your feed to stay up to date with coming near near post.

    Thank you one million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  26. Undeniably consider that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the net the simplest thing to
    understand of. I say to you, I definitely get irked even as folks
    think about worries that they plainly do not realize about.
    You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as neatly
    as defined out the whole thing without having
    side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be
    back to get more. Thank you

  27. You’ve made some good points there. I checked on the internet to find out more about the
    issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*