» News » UN Security Council backs Guterres to be next UN chief

UN Security Council backs Guterres to be next UN chief

October 06, 2016 22:07 IST

The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously backed former Portuguese premier Antonio Guterres to be the next UN chief as the world body's most powerful organ recommended to the General Assembly to appoint him for a five-year term.

The 15-member Council held a formal vote here to elect Guterres, 67, a day after it said the former UN High Commissioner for refugees had emerged as the "clear favourite" to succeed Ban Ki-moon, 72, as the 9th Secretary General.

Guterres's name will now be considered by the 193-member General Assembly for final confirmation. The Assembly's membership historically chooses the candidate that the Council decides upon.

The Security Council adopted the resolution, behind closed doors as is practice, recommending that the General Assembly appoint Guterres for a five-year term from January 1, 2017. The resolution needed nine votes in favour and no vetoes to pass.

"The Security Council considered the question of the recommendation to the appointment of the Secretary General of the United Nations. The Security Council have voted by acclamation...and recommends to the General Assembly that Antonio Guterres be appointed Secretary General of the United Nations for a term of office from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2022," Russia's envoy to the UN and President of the Council for October Vitaly Churkin told reporters here.

Churkin said Guterres has "many strong qualities" to lead the UN.

"I sensed in my conversations with other members of the Security Council and various members of the UN that Guterres has great UN credentials having been High Commissioner for Refugees for 10 years," he said, adding that in this position Guterres has seen "most gruesome conflicts" the world has to deal with.

"He is a high-level politician...He is a person who talks to everyone, listens to everyone and speaks his mind. Very outgoing person so I think it was a great choice. I am glad that we rallied around Mr Guterres" Churkin said.

On the UNSC not selecting a woman for the top job at the UN, he said 50 per cent of the candidates for the post of UNSG this year were women and the Council would have "very much liked" to see a woman Secretary-General.

"But at the same time we have to respect the fact that they are other strong candidates," he said.

The General Assembly will be considering Guterres name for final confirmation next week.

India had congratulated Guterres on his election with Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeting, "Congratulations and Best wishes. India welcomes António Manuel de Olivera Guterres as next Secretary General of @UN."

Akbaruddin's tweet was accompanied with a picture of Guterres shaking hands with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Guterres had met Swaraj during his visit to New Delhi in July this year.

The council had conducted a sixth straw poll yesterday in which Guterres received 13 encourage votes and two no opinion votes. None of the five veto-wielding permanent members voted against him, clearing the way for Guterres to become the world's top diplomat. 

© Copyright 2019 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.