President Barack Obama met today, in the Oval Office, with former Portuguese Prime Minister, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General designate.
Speaking to the press, President Obama said Guterres had an extraordinary reputation and that he was confident that the next Secretary-General of the international organization would be an effective leader.
“At a time when those challenges are mounting, having an effective partner in the United Nations Secretary- General will be critically important,” President Obama said.
Guterres stated that he is ready and totally committed to working closely with the United States in the present administration and with the President-elect Donald Trump administration.
On October 6, the 193-member General Assembly nominated António Guterres “by acclamation” for the five-year term post of the international organization.
Guterres, who will take over as head of the United Nations on Jan. 1, 2017, was Portugal’s prime minister (1995-2002) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2005-2015).
He will be the first former head of government to lead the Security Council, replacing Ban Ki-moon, 72, of South Korea who will step down at the end of 2016 after completing two consecutive five-year terms.
António de Oliveira Guterres, 67, who will be the ninth secretary-general in the 71-year history of the United Nations, is a career politician who also served as president of the European Council (2000) and president of the Socialist International (1999-2005). As UN High Commissioner, he headed one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations with a budget over USD $6.8 billion (2015) and more than 9,000 staff, working in 123 countries, providing assistance to over 46 million displaced people worldwide. He is fluent in Portuguese, French and Spanish.