President Higgins welcomes recommendation of Antonio Guterres for next UN secretary general

Charlie Flanagan has praised Mr Guterres' 'distinguished record' in public life

President Higgins welcomes recommendation of Antonio Guterres for next UN secretary general

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with António Guterres,. Image: UN

The UN Security Council has confirmed it is recommending Antonio Guterres to be the next UN secretary general.

Mr Guterres was prime minister of Portugal between 1995 and 2002. He also served as UN High Commissioner for Refugees for ten years, with his term ending last December.

Ban Ki-moon has served two terms as UN Secretary General following his election in 2007. His second term is due to end on December 31st, with his successor to take over from January 1st.

12 other candidates were in the running for the position, but the Security Council's recommendation has shortened what was expected to be a longer process.

Mr Ban said Mr Guterres is an 'excellent choice' to succeed him, explaining: “His past experience as Prime Minister of Portugal, his extensive knowledge of world affairs and his keen intelligence will serve him to lead the United Nations at a crucial period.”

A formal vote of the Security Council took place today following a 'straw poll' of members earlier this week. The UN General Assembly will now vote on the recommendation.

President Michael D Higgins said: “On behalf of the people of Ireland, I wish Mr Antonio Guterres every success in his role as the 9th Secretary General of the United Nations.

"At a time that the politics of fear are taking hold in many countries, and as accountable global decision-making processes are called upon to re-assert themselves, Mr Guterres will be a welcome advocate for global citizenship, international solidarity and a normative, rights-based, approach to international diplomacy," he suggested. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan praised Mr Guterres' 'distinguished record' in public life, and said Ireland will join other member states in approving his appointment next week.

“During his term as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005-2015 he showed great humanity, compassion and dedication in his work addressing one of the great challenges of our time," Minister Flanagan said in a statement.

“Mr Guterres enters into the office of Secretary General at a time when the world faces huge challenges. It is Ireland’s hope that his term of office will witness progress in international peace and security, sustainable development, human rights and disarmament," he added.