New York - Antonio Guterres, a former Prime minister of Portugal who later spent 10 years as head of the UN Refugee Agency, was sworn in on Monday as secretary general of the United Nations.
New York – Antonio Guterres, a former Prime minister of Portugal who later spent 10 years as head of the UN Refugee Agency, was sworn in on Monday as secretary general of the United Nations.
Guterres, 67, served as prime minister from 1995 to 2002, and was UN high commissioner for refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He was formally named the world’s top diplomat in October and will start his new role Jan. 1.
The swearing-in ceremony was held in the UN’s General Assembly hall in New York City.
“We have every confidence he will lead our organization with wisdom and rectitude,” said General Assembly president John William Ashe. After taking the oath, Guterres spoke about his goals as secretary general, saying the optimism felt at the end of the Cold War has been replaced with old wars multiplied, and new wars created. “The UN was born from war. Today we must be here for peace,” he said. As Prime minister, Guterres was involved in resolving the crisis in East Timor and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa Summit.
The 10 years as high commissioner were “the most remarkable experience you can imagine,” he said. “It’s the most fascinating work you can have, very demanding … and I gained a lot of experience in dealing with all crises and all governments” involved in crises everywhere.