UN chief Guterres hopes for second term: diplomats

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United Nations (United States) (AFP)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told the five permanent members of the Security Council that he hopes to serve a second five-year term from 2022, diplomatic officials said on Monday.

Guterres, 71, outlined his goal to China, the United States, France, Britain and Russia at a luncheon hosted by the Chinese Ambassador to the UN Friday, officials said.

During the meeting, Mr. Guterres described the many threats facing the world, including the pandemic and the global economic crisis, a diplomat told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He stressed the need to reconcile “humanity and nature” and the importance of improved international cooperation on other challenges such as cybersecurity and terrorism, added the diplomat.

Other diplomats said Guterres’ desire for a second term had so far encountered no resistance from permanent members of the Security Council.

It is traditional for a UN secretary general to serve the maximum two terms, although ahead of the November U.S. election diplomats said Guterres did not plan to run for a second term if President Donald Trump was re-elected.

The outgoing US leader has despised multilateralism in many instances and has attacked UN bodies such as the World Health Organization.

Several non-governmental groups have already criticized Guterres, saying he was too silent on human rights issues.

Guterres said he pushed various causes with world leaders behind the scenes.

“If Antonio Guterres wants a second term at the head of the UN, he should commit to implementing his Call to Action on Human Rights,” said on Twitter Louis Charbonneau, who heads the Human Rights Watch’s UN Observation Wing.

Guterres, the former Prime Minister of Portugal and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, will see his first term expire in December.

During the year, the Security Council and the General Assembly will confirm whether or not Guterres will serve a second term.

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