The United Nations has appointed Antonio Guterres, former prime minister of Portugal, as the next secretary-general of the comity of nations.
Guterres will succeed Ban Ki-Moon as the world’s leading diplomat. on January 1, 2017.
The 67-year-old believes his biggest challenge as the new UN chief will be to put an end to the raging civil war in Syria.
“I believe it is the international community’s first priority is to be able to end this conflict and use this momentum created by it to try to address all the other conflicts that are interlinked,”Guterres told BBC.
“I hope people will understand that it’s better to put aside different opinions, different interests and to understand that there is a common, vital interest to put an end to these conflicts, because that is absolutely central if you want to live in a world where a minimum of securities are established, where people can live a normal life.”
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), immediately congratulated Guterres as the ninth UN secretary-general.
“I would like to express my wholehearted congratulations to Antonio Guterres for his selection today by the General Assembly to serve as the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations,” Lagarde said in a statement.
“His proven leadership, both within and outside the United Nations system, and extensive experience in international relations will be vital for the United Nations in rising to meet the many challenges it faces and in supporting member states achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
“I look forward to working with him in the years to come and enabling a continued strong and effective partnership between the IMF and the United Nations.”
As a classic diplomat, Guterres is fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish and French. He was the UN’s high commissioner for refugees from 2005 to 2015.