US, UN partnership ‘key’ to address world’s ills: Guterres


Former Portuguese Prime Minister and UN Secretary General designate, Antonio Guterres, talks to the press at the 25th Iberoamerican Summit, in Cartagena, Colombia, 29 October 2016. Photo: EPA

The next UN chief Antonio Guterres emphasized Friday the need for a strong partnership with the United States to address the world's ills, including wars, human rights violations and climate change.

"I believe that the cooperation between the United States and United Nations is a key factor in order to improve the present global situation," said Guterres, who will succeed South Korean Ban Ki-moon as secretary-general on January 1.

Flanked by US Secretary of State John Kerry before the two went into a meeting, Guterres noted the importance of collaboration between the organization and the world's superpower.

That partnership is instrumental "to bring together sustainable development, human rights, and peace and security and to make sure that the UN has an effective added value in trying to address the most dramatic situations we face today in the world," he told reporters.

"We are all aware that conflicts have multiplied in a dramatic way, that people are suffering enormously," said Guterres, who served for a decade as UN refugee chief.

In that capacity he faced, along with the Syrian conflict, the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

Kerry said Guterres was "the man for the moment" for the job as the world's top diplomat.  "He's got energy and skills and experience to bring to the table," he said.

The former socialist prime minister of Portugal will be the first head of government to helm the UN. He was appointed unanimously by the UN's 193 member states on October 13 to serve a five year-term.

Backed by the 15-state UN Security Council, his appointment is seen as a shift toward a more high-profile leadership of the world body, which has been weakened by tensions among world powers and the growing number of conflicts.

US President Barack Obama congratulated Guterresin a phone call on October 18, pledging the US would continue to work closely with the world body.

"The president pledged our continued assistance on UN efforts to address a wide array of global challenges," the White House said in a statement, "including climate change, forced migration, sustainable development, nonproliferation, humanitarian assistance, conflict prevention, peacekeeping and promoting respect for human rights."

(AFP)

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