UN Head Guterres Hopes for Second Term: Diplomats

United Nations, United States, Jan 11 (AFP/APP): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told the Security Council’s five permanent members that he hopes to serve a second, five-year term starting in 2022, diplomatic officials said Monday.

Guterres, 71, outlined his goal to China, the US, France, Britain and Russia during a lunch meeting hosted by the Chinese ambassador to the UN on Friday, officials said. During the meeting, Guterres described the many threats the world faces, including the pandemic and the global economic crisis, a diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP. He underscored the need to reconcile “humanity and nature” and the importance of improved international cooperation on other challenges such as cybersecurity and terrorism, the diplomat added.

Other diplomats said Guterres’s desire to serve a second term has so far not been met with any resistance from the permanent Security Council members. It is traditional for a UN secretary-general to serve the maximum two terms, though before November’s US election, diplomats said Guterres was not planning to seek a second term if President Donald Trump were reelected. The outgoing US leader scorned multilateralism in many instances and assailed UN bodies such as the World Health Organisation.

Several non-governmental groups have criticized Guterres previously, saying he has been too quiet on human rights issues. Guterres has said he has pushed various causes with world leaders behind the scenes.

“If Antonio Guterres wants 2nd term as UN chief, he should commit to implementing his Call to Action on Human Rights,” Louis Charbonneau, who heads the UN-monitoring wing of Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter.

Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal and the UN’s former high commissioner for refugees, will see his first term expire in December. Over the course of the year, the Security Council and General Assembly will confirm whether or not Guterres will serve a second term.

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