August 3, 2021

Antonio Guterres on his way to a second term at the head of the United Nations

The Security Council unanimously declared itself in favor of Tuesday, June 8, for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, to stand at the head of the organization for a second term, from 2022 to 2027. The only candidate for a designation that left no room for surprise, the 72-year-old Portuguese should be confirmed by the 193 countries of the General Assembly on June 18.

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“He is an excellent secretary general, said Estonian Ambassador Sven Jurgenson, current President of the Security Council. He builds bridges, he is able to talk to everyone. These are qualities that are expected of a secretary general. “ Antonio Guterres quickly reacted by way of a statement, saying that it had been “An immense privilege” to serve for the past four and a half years “We, the peoples” – using the formula opening the United Nations Charter – “When we had to face such complex challenges”.

During the diplomat’s first term, the UN was indeed marked by numerous attacks on multilateralism by the administration of Donald Trump. Then by the sclerosis of the Security Council, often blocked in its decisions because of the clash between the United States, China and Russia. Finally, Antonio Guterres’ teams had to improvise to adapt to the lack of funds provided by member countries, and continue to keep the organization alive despite empty funds.

“Lack of credibility”

But, for the detractors of the UN chief, these reasons are not enough to justify the inability to impose a way out of the crisis on certain issues – Syria, Libya, Mali and Yemen in particular. Above all, Antonio Guterres is often criticized for not being firm enough in his condemnations of human rights violations, especially his hesitation in naming China for its abuses in Xinjiang and Russia for its violations in Syria.

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Former Prime Minister of Portugal and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he arrived in 2017 with a vast reform project under his arm, which is being put in place year after year. Often claiming to be helpless in the face of a paralyzed Council, the man has invested in the fight against climate change. Antonio Guterres still tried to hold his position as head of world diplomacy at the start of the pandemic due to the coronavirus by demanding on March 22, 2020 a “Global cease-fire” – which however was not respected.

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