Category Archives: United Nations

(JE) António Guterres defende reforma das Nações Unidas e multilateralismo

(JE) O secretário-geral da ONU nota atualmente uma desconfiança do público para com o sistema político e organizações multilaterais como a ONU.

United Nations Secretary-General-designate Mr. Antonio Guterres of Portugal speaks to members of the media after being sworn in at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

O secretário-geral da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU), António Guterres, defendeu a reforma da organização à qual preside, segundo a ONU News. Durante um evento organizado pela organização, em Londres, o diplomata português defendeu que, para resgatar o multilateralismo, é preciso haver um forte compromisso com a reforma de organizações internacionais.

No discurso para uma plateia de cerca de duas mil pessoas, nas quais se inclui académicos e representantes de ONGs, o chefe da ONU afirmou que o mundo enfrenta atualmente três desafios principais: 1. a mudança na natureza dos conflitos; 2. a fragilidade dos ambientes político, económico e ecológico em muitas partes do mundo; e 3. a desconfiança e raiva entre os que foram esquecidos pela globalização.

De acordo com António Guterres, nota-se atualmente uma desconfiança do público para com o sistema político e organizações multilaterais como a ONU. Ele citou que “muitas pessoas duvidam que o multilateralismo é a solução para os problemas atuais”, achando que a melhor forma é permitir que cada país aja sozinho. No discurso, o antigo primeiro-ministro abordou ainda tópicos como mudança climática e direitos humanos.

Esta quinta-feira (11), também na capital britânica, o chefe da ONU participa da Conferência de Londres sobre a Somália, para apoiar as metas nacionais até 2020. O representante especial do secretário-geral no país africano, Michael Keating, revelou à ONU News que está confiante num compromisso internacional para apoiar o que chamou de “agenda ambiciosa do que as novas autoridades desejam alcançar” na Somália.

(BBC) Syria war: Anger after Russia vetoes resolution at UN

(BBC) Russia has vetoed a draft resolution at the UN Security Council that would have condemned last week’s alleged chemical attack in Syria and demanded that Damascus cooperate with investigators.

The resolution was presented by the US, UK and France, who reacted angrily to Russia’s decision.

It was the eighth time Russia has protected its ally at the council.

The suspected chemical attack on rebel-held Khan Sheikhun on 4 April killed more than 80 people.

Western allies blamed the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against a Syrian air force base in response.

The proposed resolution would have backed an investigation on the ground by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The Syrian government would have been told to provide military information, including flight logs, from the day of the alleged attack, and provide access to air bases.

It denies it is responsible.

China – one of the five permanent Security Council members which hold veto power – abstained from the vote, as did Ethiopia and Kazakhstan. Ten other countries voted for the resolution, and Bolivia joined Russia in voting against it.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley condemned Russia’s action: “You are isolating yourselves from the international community every time one of Assad’s planes drop another barrel bomb on civilians and every time Assad tries to starve another community to death,” she said.

Syrian military oversees damage at ShayratImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe US retaliatory strike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase angered Russia

In Washington, at a news conference with the Nato secretary-general, President Trump was asked by the BBC’s Jon Sopel if he thought it was possible that Syrian forces could have launched the alleged attack without Russia knowing about it.

“I think it’s certainly possible. I think it’s probably unlikely,” he said. “I would like to think that they didn’t know, but certainly they could have. They were there.”

He also said it was “wonderful” that China abstained at the UN, but, mentioning that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping the previous night, said he was “not surprised”.

China has vetoed six resolutions on Syria since the conflict began in 2011.

Earlier Russia’s President Vladimir Putin rejected allegations that Syria was behind the chemical attack, saying Syria had given up its chemical stockpile.

Mr Putin, speaking on Mir television, also said trust had “deteriorated” between the US and Russia under the Trump presidency.


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed those comments, saying ties with Russia were at a low point and must improve.

After two hours of talks with Mr Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, he said that the “two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this relationship”.

After the UN vote, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Russia was “on the wrong side of the argument”, while French President Francois Hollande said it “bears a heavy responsibility” for continuing to protect Mr Assad and blocking a united international response.

The suspected chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun last week left 89 people deadImage copyrightEPA
Image captionThe suspected chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun shocked the international community

But Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told the council the measure was “doomed” from the beginning.

“The outcome was pre-determined because we have consistently expressed our categorical disagreement with the content of the document,” he said.

Russia has called for an independent international investigation, and questioned how Western powers could have assigned responsibility for what happened so quickly.

(GUA) Russia and China veto UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria

(GUA) France, UK and US wanted sanctions over chemical weapon use – but Vladimir Putin rejects ‘totally inappropriate’ proposal

British ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft speaks in support of the resolution.
British ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft speaks in support of the resolution. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons during the six-year war.

It is Russia’s seventh veto to protect the Syrian government from UN security council action. The vote was one of the first confrontations at the UN between Russia and the US since Donald Trump took control of the White House in January, pledging to build closer ties with Moscow.

Russia and China are both permanent members of the UN security council. France, the UK and the US complete the five-nation lineup. Another 10 nations are non-permanent members, elected for two-year terms by the 193 states that are members of the UN’s general assembly.

Russian president Vladimir Putin described the draft resolution on Tuesday as “totally inappropriate”.

Russia argued that the resolution – drafted by Britain, France and the US – would harm UN-led peace talks between the warring Syrian parties in Geneva, which began last week.

Nine UN council members voted in favour of the resolution and Bolivia voted against, along with China and Russia. Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by any of the five permanent members in order to be adopted. Nikki Haley, US ambassador to theUnited Nations, criticised Moscow following the vote.

Nikki Haley and Volodymyr Yelchenko
 
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, greets outgoing security council president and Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, Volodymyr Yelchenko, before the meeting. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

“It is a sad day on the security council when members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people,” she said. “The world is definitely a more dangerous place.”

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, described the statements made against Moscow as “outrageous” and warned: “God will judge you.”

The vetoes received widespread condemnation by rights groups. Sherine Tadros, of Amnesty International, said: “By vetoing this resolution, Russia and China have displayed a callous disregard for the lives of millions of Syrians.”

French UN ambassador François Delattre said the failure by the council to act would “send a message of impunity”.

Physicians for Human Rights, an organisation that guides doctors in Syria on how to treat victims of chemical attacks, said the security council had “shown itself impotent to halt the terrible scourge of chemical weapons”.

Its statement added: “Shame on the Russian Federation, China and all those who enable the Syrian government’s attempts to escape accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Vladimir Safronkov, centre, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, keeps his hand lowered during the vote.
 
Vladimir Safronkov, centre, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, keeps his hand lowered during the vote. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

Western powers put forward the resolution in response to the results of an investigation by the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The international inquiry found Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that Islamic State militants had used mustard gas.

British UN ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the council before the vote: “This is about taking a stand when children are poisoned, it’s that simple.”

Chlorine’s use as a weapon is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined in 2013.

If inhaled, chlorine gas turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs and can kill by burning lungs and drowning victims in body fluids.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government has denied its forces have used chemical weapons. Russia has questioned the results of the UN/OPCW inquiry and has long said there was not enough proof for the security council to take any action.

The draft resolution would have banned the sale or supply of helicopters to the Syrian government because the UN/OPCW inquiry found Syrian government forces had used helicopters to drop barrel bombs containing chlorine gas.

It also proposed targeted sanctions – a travel ban and asset freeze – on 11 Syrian military commanders and officials, as well as on 10 government and related entities.

(NYT) Trump Prepares Orders Aiming at Global Funding and Treaties

(NYT) WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing executive orders that would clear the way to drastically reduce the United States’ role in the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as begin a process to review and potentially abrogate certain forms of multilateral treaties.

The first of the two draft orders, titled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations” and obtained by The New York Times, calls for terminating funding for any United Nations agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria.

Those criteria include organizations that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization, or support programs that fund abortion or any activity that circumvents sanctions against Iran or North Korea. The draft order also calls for terminating funding for any organization that “is controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism” or is blamed for the persecution of marginalized groups or any other systematic violation of human rights.

The order calls for then enacting “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in remaining United States funding toward international organizations.

The order establishes a committee to recommend where those funding cuts should be made. It asks the committee to look specifically at United States funding for peacekeeping operations; the International Criminal Court; development aid to countries that “oppose important United States policies”; and the United Nations Population Fund, which oversees maternal and reproductive health programs.

If President Trump signs the order and its provisions are carried out, the cuts could severely curtail the work of United Nations agencies, which rely on billions of dollars in annual United States contributions for missions that include caring for refugees.

The second executive order, “Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties,” calls for a review of all current and pending treaties with more than one other nation. It asks for recommendations on which negotiations or treaties the United States should leave.

The order says this review applies only to multilateral treaties that are not “directly related to national security, extradition or international trade,” but it is unclear what falls outside these restrictions.

For example, the Paris climate agreement or other environmental treaties deal with trade issues but could potentially fall under this order.

An explanatory statement that accompanies the draft order mentions two United Nations treaties for review: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Taken together, the orders suggest that Mr. Trump intends to pursue hiscampaign promises of withdrawing the United States from international organizations. He has expressed heavy skepticism of multilateral agreements such as the Paris climate agreement and of the United Nations.

The draft orders, which are only a few pages each, leave several unanswered questions. For example, it is unclear whether they call for cutting 40 percent of United States contributions to each international agency separately, or to the overall federal funding budget.

The orders call for reviewing any funding that could go toward the International Criminal Court, though the United States currently provides no funding to that body. They also call for terminating funding to United Nations bodies that include full Palestinian membership, though this is already United States law. Under former President Barack Obama, the United States cut funding to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization when it accepted Palestinians as full members.

The United States provides about a quarter of all funding to United Nations peacekeeping operations, of which there are more than a dozen, in Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. At least one of these, the operation in southern Lebanon, directly serves Israeli interests by protecting the country’s northern border, though the draft order characterizes the funding cuts as serving Israeli interests.

(EurActiv) Guterres, Juncker head to Geneva for Cyprus talks

(EurActiv)

New UN chief Antonio Guterres will attend talks in Geneva today (12 January) aimed at ending decades of stalemate in a divided Cyprus, in his first foreign trip since taking office on 1 January. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will also be there.

Foreign ministers from Cyprus’s so-called guarantor powers – Britain, Greece and Turkey – will travel to Switzerland for a conference on security, which follows three days of peace talks with the goal of creating a two-zone federation.

UN envoy Espen Barth Eide said yesterday that the two sides are very close to agreeing on what overall percentage of the island each will control.Turkish Cypriot leaders have agreed in principle to return some of the land they have controlled since the 1974 invasion by Turkish troops, which came in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

Cyprus talks on track ahead of , says@UN_CYPRUS envoy @EspenBarthEide http://bit.ly/2jws8ZM 

Photo published for Cyprus talks ‘on track’ ahead of international conference – UN envoy

Cyprus talks ‘on track’ ahead of international conference – UN envoy

As the United Nations-facilitated talks on Cyprus went into their third day in Geneva ahead of an international conference tomorrow, the UN adviser on the issue has said the discussions are “on…

un.org

One of the chief difficulties lies in how the boundaries are redrawn, including around the town of Morphou on the northern coast.

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has warned that there can be no deal without a full return of Morphou, while some in the Turkish Cypriot camp have declared its return a non-starter.

The security conference comes after rival Cypriot delegations on Wednesday (11 January) met to present maps detailing their visions for how internal boundaries should be drawn.
“It is a very important moment… Historic,” Eide said.Eide told reporters in Geneva that the exchange would take place behind closed doors with cartographers from both sides present.

View image on Twitter

“This is the best chance we have” to resolve Cyprus issue – SASG@EspenBarthEide

The conference will be the first time since the eastern Mediterranean island was divided that Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders will have presented maps describing the borders of a reunified country, Eide said.

This is the third time the Cypriot leaders have met in Switzerland since November, but the two previous rounds were inconclusive.

There were no plans for the maps swapped Wednesday to be disclosed publicly, with the UN hoping that both sides eventually agree on a compromise version.‘The very last chance’

On Tuesday (10 January) the two sides also tackled the island’s relations with the European Union as well as a future system of government.

While Cyprus has been an EU member since 2004, Anastasiades’s internationally recognised government exercises no control over the northern Turkish-ruled part of the island, and EU legislation is suspended there until a settlement is reached.

Eide made it clear that the UN process was designed to forge a unified Cyprus that would be a full EU member.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who will also be in Geneva on Thursday, said he was making the trip due to the stakes of the meeting.

“I really think that, without overdramatising what is happening in Geneva, that this is the very last chance to see (a solution for) the island being imposed in a normal way,” he said in Valletta at the start of Malta’s six-month EU presidency.

“The time has come to reunite the island.” @JunckerEU will fly to Geneva tomorrow to discuss the reunification.

.@JunckerEU on : “when it’s about peace, one needs to take risks. Not taking risks, is the biggest risk”

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini is already in Geneva.

In Geneva for . EU supports this historic opportunity to settle the issue after 40 years, in the heart of Europe & Mediterranean

Eide has struck an optimistic note during three days of intra-Cypriot talks this week.

“We are roughly where we want to be at this stage,” he said Wednesday.
There are also still significant differences over security, with Anastasiades wanting Turkish troops to leave the island but Akıncı determined to keep a military presence.But the sides appear to remain far apart on how many Greek Cypriots should be able to return to homes they fled in 1974, with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı determined to minimise the number of Turkish Cypriots who would be displaced for a second time.

View image on Twitter

Why the world is watching the Cyprus unification talks and what’s different this time http://bloom.bg/2jagOTI 

(GUA) Will António Guterres be the UN’s best ever secretary general?

(GUA) Cultured and consensual, the Portuguese politician has had the perfect preparation for the United Nations’ top job.

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres will take over on 1 January. Photograph: Mario Cruz/EPA 

When António Guterres resigned halfway through his second term as Portuguese prime minister in 2002 because his minority government was floundering, he did something unusual for a man who had seen the highest reaches of power.

Several times a week, he went to slum neighbourhoods on the edge of Lisbon to give free maths tuition to children.

“He never allowed a journalist to go with him or let himself be filmed or photographed, and he never let journalists talk to any of his students,” said Ricardo Costa, editor-in-chief of the Portuguese SIC News, who covered Guterres’s political career. The former prime minister told his surprised students that what he was doing was personal and not for show.

The Portuguese socialist, who becomes the next UN secretary general on Sunday, is an intellectual who grew up under Portugal’s dictatorship and came of age with the 1974 revolution that ended 48 years of authoritarian rule.

Crucial to understanding Guterres, 67, is his Christian faith: his progressive Catholicism always informed his brand of social democratic politics.

In the heady days of Portugal’s revolution, it was rare to be a practising Catholic in a new Socialist party where many members had Marxist backgrounds. But Guterres, a star engineering student who grew a moustache in honour of the Chilean left’s Salvador Allende, would eventually become a modernising leader, arguing that his mission was social justice and equality.

On the Portuguese left, faith was a delicate issue that required discretion. Under Guterres, the country held a referendum in 1998 on a proposal to liberalise the strict abortion laws. Socialist MPs had a free vote and, as prime minister, Guterres chose not to officially campaign. But it was publicly known that he opposed changing the law, which irked many in his party. The no vote against liberalising the abortion law narrowly won, but turnout was so low that the result was not binding. Abortion laws were finally relaxed in 2007 after a second referendum.

Born in Lisbon, Guterres spent stretches of his childhood with relatives in the countryside, where he saw the poverty of rural life under the dictatorship, and later volunteered with Catholic student groups on social projects in the capital.

In 1976, the young engineering lecturer was elected a Socialist MP in Portugal’s first democratic vote since the revolution. In parliament, he was a fearsome orator. Such was his talent for verbally destroying political opponents, he became known as “the talking pickaxe”.

Tony Blair and António Guterres
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Tony Blair shares a laugh with António Guterres at the start of the Congress of the Socialist International in Paris in November 1999. Photograph: Laurent Rebours/AP

Guterres became prime minister in 1995. His campaign slogan was “heart and reason”, a cry for more humanism and social politics. Three years earlier he had taken over the Socialist party and modernised it, although he remained to the left of contemporaries such as Tony Blair. For years he led the Socialist Internationalinternational grouping of leftwing parties.

With Portugal’s rapid economic growth and nearly full employment, Guterres was able to set up a guaranteed minimum income and nursery schooling for all. But he had failed to win an absolute majority and was condemned to preside over a tricky minority government. He had to rely on his skill for consensus, always having to negotiate with the opposition parties if he wanted to get anything passed – something he later argued was perfect training for running the UN.

“He was a skilful person – very smart, very quick to understand the other point of view and very focused on having solutions – that’s why it worked,” said António Vitorino, Guterres’s deputy prime minister and defence minister.

Guterres was furiously hardworking. But behind this was a backdrop of family tragedy. His wife, Luísa Guimarães e Melo, a psychiatrist with whom he had two children, had been critically ill for most of his time in government and was undergoing treatment at a London hospital.

“It was one of the hardest moments of his political life,” Vitorino said. “Every Friday morning, he took a plane to London, spent the weekend there in a very desperate situation and then on Monday morning he was back at work. I was his deputy prime minister, I was amazed. I could never have done what he was doing.”

In 1998, Guterres’s wife died. The following year, he threw himself into the general elections. He had hoped to win an outright majority but the Socialists ended up one MP short and began a second minority government. This time, a slowdown in the economy made things harder.

Guterres, privately growing disillusioned with internal party politics, turned increasingly to his interest in international diplomacy. He had already won praise for his role in resolving the crisis in Timor-Leste, a former Portuguese colony, which had erupted into violence in 1999 after a referendum vote in favour of independence from Indonesia. Guterres led diplomatic efforts to convince the UN to intervene to restore peace.

In 2000, when Portugal took the rotating presidency of the European Union, its success was attributed to Guterres’s ability to get big leaders to agree and smaller leaders to be heard.

António Guterres accepts roses from a supporter  in Lisbon
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António Guterres is cheered after his party won Portugal’s general elections in October 1999. Photograph: Armando Franca/AP

“He did something very original: he looked at what every country wanted and set up an agenda that could be interesting for everyone,” said Francisco Seixas da Costa, a Portuguese diplomat who served as Guterres’s European affairs secretary. “Small countries disappear in the decision-making process so we tried to listen to their interests.”

Guterres managed to talk down powerful leaders at loggerheads. “At the European council, I remember a conflict between Jacques Chirac and Helmut Kohl over one issue,” Seixas da Costa said. “Guterres asked for the floor. I was sitting next to him, I was afraid it might be naive. But he took the floor and made a proposal that covered both their interests, and it was a success. It worked. He had a fantastic capacity to moderate and create links and bridges.”

In 2002, halfway through his second term as prime minister, Guterres abruptly resigned after the Socialists suffered a drubbing in local elections. He famously said he wanted to avoid the country falling into a “political swamp” and that he had discovered “politics has its limits”.

At the time he was unpopular, criticised for too much compromise and too much dialogue. But over the years since his departure, polls showed he was increasingly liked and seen as fair, serious and honest – a possible contender for Portuguese president, although he never wanted to return to national politics, preferring, he said, to make a difference on the world stage.

His decade serving as UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) from 2005 to 2015 was seen in Portugal as an obvious fit for his personality: socially engaged but seeking common ground.

Guterres – who speaks Portuguese, English, French and Spanish and is now remarried to Catarina Vaz Pinto, who works at Lisbon city hall – was known in political circles for enthusiastic, cultured conversations on everything from ancient Greece to Middle Eastern culture, opera to geography.

Whenever he had free time during visits to Washington as UNHCR chief, he would get the organisation’s regional representative, Michel Gabaudan, to take him to Politics & Prose or another of the city’s bookshops.

“He’s an avid reader of history, and his pleasure was, if we had an hour, to go to a bookshop, so we would have access to books in English that weren’t easy to get in Geneva,” said Gabaudan, now president of Refugees International. “I’m sure this immense knowledge of past and ancient history did inform his political judgment.”

Guterres also took a broad approach to the UNHCR’s responsibilities. The organisation grew dramatically under his management, and not just because the number of the world’s refugees soared in the 21st century. He broadened the categories of people the UNHCR would seek to protect, including internally displaced people and migrants forced from their homes by natural disasters and climate change. He preferred the all-encompassing phrase “people on the move”.

He managed to persuade donors to fund the expansion by retaining their confidence that the money was well spent, and to do that he cut overheads.

Guterres, then UN high commissioner for refugees, visits Ikafe camp for Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda.
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Guterres, then UN high commissioner for refugees, visits Ikafe camp for Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda in June 2005. Photograph: Radu Sigheti/Reuters

“Like all UN organisations, as the organisation had grown up, it had become a little bit top-heavy and one of his first actions was really to slim down headquarters fairly substantially. He sent people back to the field and he put some of the services in much cheaper places than Geneva,” Gabaudan said.

“He never thought the details of finance were just for the technicians. I saw him looking at spreadsheets faster than his financial officer, spotting the line or column where we had a problem. So he was really as much hands-on about how the organisation worked as he was the top political figure and spokesman for refugees.”

When Justin Forsyth was chief executive of Save the Children UK, he travelled with Guterres to refugee camps in Lebanon, and recalled Guterres meeting a group of children. “The thing that struck me was him cross-legged on the floor of a tent talking to children. He really listens and he asks questions and he’s very moved by what he hears. He gets his hands dirty,” said Forsyth, the new deputy executive director of Unicef, the UN children’s charity.

Guterres’s tenure as high commissioner has attracted some criticism. Some former officials said he should have spoken out more strongly in defence of refugee rights enshrined in the 1951 refugee convention. “His record is very mixed, particularly on protection. His tenure was a rough time for the protection of refugees,” a former senior UN official said. He pointed to Thailand forcibly repatriating ethnic Uighurs to China despite the risk they would face persecution.

He argued that a tripartite agreement the UNHCR made with Kenya and Somalia on the voluntary return of Somali refugees had paved the way for the reported forced repatriations now under way in Kenya aimed at emptying its biggest camp, at Dadaab.

The former official said the EU’s deal with Turkey to repatriate refugees, also widely seen as a violation of basic principles of refugee protection, was largely negotiated while Guterres was at the helm, even if it was only signed in March this year, three months after he left.

“His style is to make general statements on the issue but not to directly challenge governments on their actions,” the former official said. “It raises concerns on what he would be like as secretary general.”

Jeff Crisp, who was head of UNHCR policy development and evaluation under Guterres and is now a research associate at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre, said not all the criticisms could be pointed at the secretary general designate.

He said the UNHCR did push back against infringements of refugee rights by European states and had been strongly critical of the EU-Turkey deal. And he argued the tendency to address abuses by authoritarian states by behind-the-scenes persuasion had historically been the “institutional approach” taken by the UNHCR, before and after Guterres.

“I think you have to understand that UNHCR’s public criticism of states is very carefully calibrated and in general the more liberal a state is, the more publicly the UNHCR will criticise it,” Crisp said.

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, and Guterres speak during a meeting at La Moncloa palace in Madrid.
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Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, and Guterres speak during a meeting in Madrid. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Adaptable, consensual, affable, intellectual, Guterres is perhaps better qualified than any of his nine predecessors for the world’s most demanding job. But one of his deftest skills he learned not from the hurly burly of Portuguese politics, nor from the harrowing years at the UNHCR, but from his first wife.

At a Guardian event last June in which he debated with rivals for the secretary general job, he said her psychoanalytical insights were highly valuable. “She taught me something that was extremely useful for all my political activities. When two people are together, they are not two but six. What each one is, what each one thinks he or she is and what each one thinks the other is,” he said.

“And what is true for people is also true for countries and organisations. One of the roles of the secretary general when dealing with the different key actors in each scenario is to bring these six into two. That the misunderstandings disappear and the false perceptions disappear. Perceptions are essential in politics.”

(NYT) Defying U.N., Israel Prepares to Build More Settlements

(NYT)

Housing construction last week on the outskirts of Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish housing development in East Jerusalem. CreditJim Hollander/European Pressphoto Agency

JERUSALEM — Undeterred by a resounding defeat at the United Nations, Israel’s government said Monday that it would move ahead with thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem and warned nations against further action, declaring that Israel does not “turn the other cheek.”

Just a few days after the United Nations Security Council voted tocondemn Israeli settlements, Jerusalem’s municipal government signaled that it would not back down: The city intends to approve 600 housing units in the predominantly Palestinian eastern section of town on Wednesday in what a top official called a first installment on 5,600 new homes.

The defiant posture reflected a bristling anger among Israel’s pro-settlement political leaders, who not only blamed the United States for failing to block the Council resolution, but also claimed to have secret intelligence showing that President Obama’s team had orchestrated it. American officials strongly denied the claim, but the sides seem poised for more weeks of conflict until Mr. Obama hands over the presidency to Donald J. Trump.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at Security Council countries by curbing diplomatic contacts, recalling envoys, cutting off aid and summoning the American ambassador for a scolding. He canceled a planned visit this week by Ukraine’s prime minister even as he expressed concern on Monday that Mr. Obama was planning more action at the United Nations before his term ends next month.

The prime minister defended his retaliation. “Israel is a country with national pride, and we do not turn the other cheek,” he said. “This is a responsible, measured and vigorous response, the natural response of a healthy people that is making it clear to the nations of the world that what was done at the U.N. is unacceptable to us.”

The Security Council resolution that passed Friday condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law” and an obstacle to peace. The Council approved it 14 to 0, with the United States abstaining instead of using its unilateral veto, as it has in the past.

Mr. Trump publicly pressed for a veto of the resolution and has chosen a settlement advocate as his administration’s ambassador to Israel. He turned to Twitter on Monday night to air complaints that the United Nations “is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”

Palestinian leaders made clear that they would use the resolution in international bodies to press their case against Israel. With the imprimatur of a United Nations finding of illegality, they said, they will campaign to require that other countries not just label products made in the settlements, but ban them.

“Now we can talk about the boycott of all settlements, the companies that work with them, et cetera, and actually take legal action against them if they continue to work with them,” Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Palestinian news media.

He outlined other steps the Palestinians could now take, using the resolution to press the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli leaders, file lawsuits on behalf of specific Palestinians displaced by settlements and urge the international authorities to determine whether Israel is violating the Geneva Conventions.

“We are looking to devise a comprehensive vision, and hopefully 2017 will be the year when the Israeli occupation ends,” Mr. Malki said.

Israeli officials said such pronouncements showed that the resolution actually undermined chances for a negotiated settlement because the Palestinians now have less incentive to come to the table. By declaring Israeli settlements illegal, they said, the United Nations essentially took away the one chip that Israel had to trade, meaning land.

“The Palestinians are waging a diplomatic and legal war against Israel. That’s the strategy,” Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, said in a phone interview. “Their strategy is not to negotiate an agreement with Israel because a deal is give and take. They want take and take.”

Israel’s settlement project, once a scattering of houses across the so-called Green Line marking the borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, has grown substantially over the years. In 2009, the year Mr. Obama took office, 297,000 people lived in West Bank settlements and 193,737 in East Jerusalem. That increased to 386,000 in the West Bank by the end of last year and 208,000 in East Jerusalem by the end of 2014, according to Peace Now, a group that opposes settlements.

Israeli officials note that when Mr. Netanyahu acquiesced to a 10-month settlement freeze sought by Mr. Obama in 2009, the Palestinians still did not agree to negotiate until just before time ran out. But the addition of more than 100,000 settlers during Mr. Obama’s tenure convinced him that it was time to change his approach at the United Nations, aides said.

The 618 housing units to be granted building permits in East Jerusalem on Wednesday have been in the works for a while, and the planning committee meeting agenda was set before the United Nations acted. But the committee chairman said he was determined to go forward with units totaling 5,600.

“I won’t get worked up over the U.N. or any other organization that might try to dictate to us what to do in Jerusalem,” Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, the planning committee chairman, told the newspaper Israel Hayom. “I hope that the government and the new administration in the United States will give us momentum to continue.”

Although he did not specify which projects he had in mind, Ir Amim, a private group tracking settlements in East Jerusalem, said he was probably referring to projects in Gilo and Givat Hamatos. Betty Herschman, the group’s director of international relations and advocacy, said it was “defiance demonstrated after Trump’s election, now reinforced by the U.N. resolution.”

Anat Ben Nun, the director of development and external relations for Peace Now, said such construction was problematic. “Netanyahu’s attempt to avenge the U.N.S.C. resolution through approval of plans beyond the Green Line will only harm Israelis and Palestinians by making it more difficult to arrive at a two-state solution,” she said.

Israeli leaders said they had no reason to stop building. The Security Council resolution “was absurd and totally removed from reality,” said Oded Revivi, chief foreign envoy for the Yesha Council, which represents West Bank settlers. “Israeli building policies are set in Jerusalem, not New York.”

For the fourth day, Israeli officials accused Mr. Obama’s team of ambushing them at the United Nations. While the White House denied it, Israeli officials pointed to a meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and his New Zealand counterpart a month before the Council vote discussing a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. New Zealand was a sponsor of Friday’s measure.

Mr. Dermer, the ambassador, said Israel had other, nonpublic information proving the Obama administration’s involvement but provided no evidence and would not elaborate beyond saying it would be provided to Mr. Trump’s team when he takes office.

“They not only did not get up and stop it, they were behind it from the beginning,” Mr. Dermer said. “This is why the prime minister is so angry. We’re going to stand up against it.”

Israeli officials worried that Mr. Kerry would use a coming speech or a conference in France to outline an American peace plan that would be hostile to Israel’s interests. Mr. Kerry’s office had no comment.

The fury of Mr. Netanyahu’s response has generated debate at home. Mitchell Barak, a political consultant, said the political left considered the resolution “an epic foreign policy and diplomatic debacle” by Mr. Netanyahu.

But to his base, the Security Council action confirmed what they believed all along, that Mr. Obama is inherently anti-Israel, and so the prime minister comes across as a champion beset by enemies. “For them,” Mr. Barak said, “Netanyahu emerges from this unscathed, as the lone wolf in a lion’s den of hatred.”

+++ (BBG) Obama Staged ‘Shameful Ambush’ of Israel, Netanyahu Says

(BBG) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up his broadside at the U.S. government after the UN Security Council declared Israel’s settlements illegal, saying President Barack Obama’s administration “initiated and stood behind” the resolution.

Netanyahu said Obama broke a long-standing U.S. commitment not to allow the UN to impose conditions on Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. Resolution 2334, which passed Friday by a 14-0 vote with theU.S. abstaining, demands that Israel cease construction in all areas it captured in the 1967 Middle East war and describes the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territory.

“We will do all we can to make sure Israel won’t be harmed by this shameful resolution,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, calling the bill “unbalanced and extremely hostile to the State of Israel.”

The resolution calls on member states to differentiate between territories inside and outside the pre-1967 lines in their dealings with Israel. While the immediate practical impact is unclear — the resolution is declaratory but not binding on member states — it could strengthen the movement to boycott or sanction Israel and open the door for more lawsuits against Israel in international bodies. The EU already requires goods produced in Israeli settlements to be labelled distinctly from those made in Israel, allowing consumers to avoid them more easily.

Fraying Ties

The U.S. abstention highlighted the increasingly strained relationship between Obama and Netanyahu. The Security Council vote came in the waning weeks of Obama’s presidency, as Israel looks forward to warmer relations with President-elect Donald Trump, who had pressured Obama to veto the resolution in an unusual breach of transition protocol.

“The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!” Trump told his 17.9 million Twitter followers Saturday.

Obama was highly critical of Israel’s West Bank settlements from the moment he entered office, demanding a construction freeze as a precondition for peace talks with the Palestinians. The two leaders then clashed publicly over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with Netanyahu denouncing it in a speech to Congress that wasn’t coordinated with theWhite House and that soured relations further.

The Obama administration has denied Friday’s vote breached any U.S. commitments to Israel, saying it’s in keeping with U.S. support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defended the move to abstain, saying Friday that “one cannot champion” both settlements and the two-state solution.

Under terms of the agreements that have directed Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts for more than two decades, borders and settlements are issues for the two sides to negotiate between themselves in a final peace deal. Israel says the UN vote will convince Palestinians they can get what they want without having to negotiate, making them more intransigent.

The resolution “doesn’t bring peace closer. It pushes it further away,” Netanyahu said Saturday at a ceremony marking the beginning of Hannukah.

Palestinian leaders welcomed the measure’s passage. The office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement in Arabic that the move is “a big blow for the Israeli political policy, a condemnation of settlements and consensus by the international community and a support for the two-state solution.” Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad also praised the vote.

Domestic Storm

The domestic fallout of the vote was unclear. Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party, which opposes a Palestinian state, said Israel should annex portions of the West Bank in response.

A controversial initiative to authorize West Bank outposts — postponed until after Trump takes office next month — could be revived following the UN move, the Times of Israel reported. The bill would legalize some 4,000 housing units in the West Bank.

The opposition took a different lesson from the vote. Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog criticized the UN vote and called it the most difficult blow Israel had suffered in decades, but also presented it as a repudiation of Netanyahu’s policies.

“If Netanyahu has any shred of responsibility, he should give up the keys and understand that he can know longer manage the affairs of state,” Herzog said in a post on his Facebook page. “The only way to stop this dangerous descent that he’s brought us to is with elections and a united struggle to topple Netanyahu.”

Quick Retaliation

Netanyahu said countries that worked to pass the resolution would pay a diplomatic and economic price. Israel moved quickly to recall its ambassadors from New Zealand and Senegal, two co-sponsors of the resolution with which Israel has diplomatic ties, ended aid programs to Senegal, and canceled a planned visit by Ukraine’s prime minister. Netanyahu also said Saturday he would cut off 30 million shekels ($7.9 million) in funding to UN institutions.

Under the resolution, he said, Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall would be considered “occupied territory,” which he termed “absurd.” Netanyahu said friends of Israel in the U.S. and the incoming Trump administration would fight anti-Israel efforts at the UN. Trump tweeted on Friday that “as to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20,” the day he takes office.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said countries that voted for the resolution were summoned Sunday for reprimands, and Ynet reported U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro would also be summoned this week. Later in the day, Netanyahu announced that government ministers would not meet with ministers of countries that voted for the resolution or fly to those countries.

(AlJazeera) Israel summons 14 ambassadors after UN settlement vote

(AlJazeera) Civilian coordination with Palestinians also cut in retaliation to UN resolution, Defence Minister Lieberman announces.

Netanyahu attended the weekly cabinet meeting a day after the UN vote [Dan Balilty/Reuters]

Israel has summoned the ambassadors of United Nations Security Council member states that voted in favour of a resolution condemning settlement activity, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

By way of rebuke of the vote, Israel’s defence minister Avigdor Lieberman also announced on Sunday that Israel was cutting civilian coordination with Palestinians.

Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that the 14 envoys of UN Security Council members will visit the ministry in Jerusalem throughout the day.  The United States’ envoy was not summoned.

The council passed the measure on Friday after the US abstained, enabling the adoption of the first resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

The resolution demands “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem”.

It says settlements have “no legal validity” and are “dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-state solution.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had rejected the resolution as a ” shameful blow against Israel “, repeated on Sunday the Israeli claim that US president Barack Obama and secretary of state John Kerry were behind the resolution.

“We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated the drafts and demanded to pass it,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“This is of course in total contradiction to the traditional American policy of not trying to impose conditions of a final resolution. And, of course, the explicit commitment of President Obama himself in 2011 to avoid such measures.”

While the resolution contains no sanctions, Israeli officials are concerned it could widen the possibility of prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

They are also worried it could encourage some countries to impose sanctions against Israeli settlers and goods produced in the settlements.

Earlier on Sunday, army radio reported that Lieberman ordered Israeli security establishment to cease to all cooperation on civilian matters with the Palestinians, while retaining security coordination.

Israeli officials refused to comment on the report.

The measures taken on Sunday join Netanyahu’s order to review engagements at the United Nations, including funding for UN agencies and the presence of its representatives in Israel.

Right-wing public security minister, Gilad Erdan, said on Saturday night that Israel should “announce a full annexation of settlement blocs” in response to the resolution.

Education minister Naftali Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home told army radio that his party would “soon propose a bill to annex Maale Adumim”, a settlement city east of Jerusalem.

(LUSA) ONU: Guterres agradece ao povo português valores que recebeu ao longo da vida

(LUSA) O dia do juramento do secretário-geral indigitado da ONU terminou com uma receção oferecida pelo Presidente da República, em Nova Iorque, onde teve um discurso mais pessoal e dirigido aos portugueses.

JUSTIN LANE/EPA

O secretário-geral designado das Nações Unidas, António Guterres, agradeceu na segunda-feira aos portugueses as lições de “solidariedade, tolerância e diálogo” que recebeu ao longo da vida, destacando a unidade política nacional à volta da sua campanha.

No final de um dia em que prestou juramento na sede das Nações Unidas como secretário-geral, e numa receção oferecida pelo Presidente da República português para cerca de 800 pessoas, António Guterres fez questão de fazer um discurso mais pessoal.

“Este é o momento em que desejo expressar a minha profunda gratidão para com o meu país”, afirmou.

Referindo-se ao primeiro-ministro, António Costa, como seu “querido amigo” e ao Presidente da República, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, como“velho amigo”, Guterres classificou-os como “os seus mais entusiasmados apoiantes” e agradeceu o apoio de todos os partidos políticos.

“Esta unidade, dos portugueses e do seu sistema político, é simbólica do tipo de unidade que gostava de ver na comunidade internacional”, disse.

O antigo primeiro-ministro socialista agradeceu ainda ao povo português pelo que aprendeu ao longo da vida sobre “os valores da solidariedade, tolerância e dialogo” e exemplificou com a relação entre o chefe de Estado e chefe de Governo, que segunda-feira estiveram presentes em Nova Iorque na cerimónia de juramento e, à noite, na receção.

“O primeiro-ministro e o Presidente da República pertencem a partidos diferentes, mas estão ambos aqui: mais do que as palavras, a sua linguagem corporal mostra como estão unidos”, destacou.

O futuro secretário-geral das Nações Unidas, que iniciará funções em 1 de janeiro, deixou ainda um elogio ao sistema político português, lembrando as eleições legislativas e presidenciais em que estes dois atores políticos foram eleitos.

“Ambos foram eleitos em eleições ferozes e muito disputadas. Mas nessas eleições, nenhuma força política, da esquerda ou direita, usou o medo ou o ódio para ganhar votos”, afirmou.

António Guterres expressou ainda o seu orgulho de que em Portugal “todos os partidos políticos, direita ou esquerda, tenham sido sempre capazes de expressar as suas opiniões sem usar como bodes expiatórios” os imigrantes.

“Seria muito fácil para qualquer partido político dizer: vote em nós, porque vamos livrar-nos dos imigrantes e, com base nisso, criar trabalhos para os portugueses (…). Temos visto este tipo de discurso em todo o lado. Tenho muito orgulho de vir de um pais que não usa este tipo de discurso para ganhar votos“, acrescentou.

“São estes valores de solidariedade, diálogo e tolerância, que agradeço muito ao meu povo me ter ensinado e que consegui preservar em todos estes anos que me trouxeram até este dia, aqui, convosco”, concluiu.

(JN) António Guterres toma hoje posse como secretário-geral das Nações Unidas

(JNAntónio Guterres vai tomar hoje posse como secretário-geral da ONU, numa cerimónia em que Portugal estará representado pelo Presidente da República, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, e pelo primeiro-ministro, António Costa.

António Guterres toma hoje posse como secretário-geral das Nações Unidas

A cerimónia acontece às 10:00 (17:00 de Lisboa) na sede da ONU, na sala da Assembleia Geral, perante representantes dos 193 Estados-membros, e é antecedida por uma homenagem ao secretário-geral cessante, Ban Ki-moon, que fará o seu último discurso como secretário-geral perante o plenário.

No discurso inaugural e depois de fazer o juramento sobre a Carta das Nações Unidas, o novo secretário-geral da ONU deverá traçar as linhas mestras do seu “programa de governo”, desde a resposta às crises globais até ao muito aguardado e muito adiado processo de reforma da pesada maquinaria institucional da organização de 71 anos.

Desde que foi aclamado pela Assembleia-geral da ONU em Outubro, António Guterres já tratou de visitar as capitais e de se reunir com os líderes dos cinco membros permanentes do Conselho de Segurança.

 

Um dos primeiros actos de António Guterres depois de tomar posse deverá ser o anúncio da nomeação do vice-secretário-geral e do seu chefe de gabinete, com analistas a anteciparem que os dois lugares-chave serão ocupados por mulheres. Guterres já afirmou que as questões de igualdade de género no interior da ONU vão merecer atenção particular no seu mandato.

 

A ministra do Ambiente da Nigéria, Amina Mohammed, é tida como a principal candidata ao cargo de vice-secretário-geral.

 

António Guterres, 67 anos, vai iniciar o seu mandato de cinco anos a 1 de Janeiro de 2017, três semanas antes da tomada de posse de Donald Trump como presidente dos Estados Unidos da América, em Washington.

(AP) New UN chief says better training needed for peacekeepers

(AP)

United Nation’s incoming secretary-general Antonio Guterres attends a meeting with Chinese Foreign.

BEIJING (AP) — The United Nations’ incoming secretary-general said Monday that he wants U.N. peacekeepers to be better trained and more respectful of human rights, amid pressure on the organization to address a series of sexual abuse allegations.

Antonio Guterres, who takes over from Ban Ki-moon on Jan. 1, also said the U.N. needs to be more nimble and less bureaucratic.

He spoke after meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing. China is one of the U.N.’s largest financial backers, and Guterres said it could be an important peace broker in conflicts around the world.

Guterres told a news conference that he wants to make sure the different parts of the U.N. “work for the same purpose” without duplicating efforts. He said they also need to be subject to independent public evaluation.

The U.N.’s peacekeeping forces need to be better equipped and trained in order to avoid violating the rights of women and children, Guterres said. They also need to be able to better cooperate with regional organizations such as the African Union, he said.

The United Nations has been in the spotlight over allegations of child rape and other sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, particularly in Central African Republic and Congo.

Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal and head of the U.N.’s refugee relief agency, said the world faces challenges from enduring conflicts, climate change, population growth and water scarcity that are “making more and more people suffer in different parts of the world.”

“We see that economic progress and technological progress have not been able to reduce inequalities and inequality is becoming an important factor in instability in the world,” he said.

Wang said the 193-member U.N. needs to be more efficient in its governance and better able to respond to emergencies.

China is the biggest contributor of U.N. peacekeepers among the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, having sent more than 30,000 on 29 separate missions.

President Xi Jinping said last year that China would also set up a permanent peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops to be deployed whenever necessary.

He also said China would provide $100 million in military assistance to the African Union over the next five years to support the establishment of an African standby peacekeeping force and to bolster the AU’s ability to respond to crises.

(EucActiv) New UN chief blames politicians for ignoring ‘losers of globalisation’

(EucActiv)

The incoming head of the United Nations António Guterres warned yesterday (22 November) that “losers of globalisation” in rich countries have felt ignored by establishment politicians, prompting them to turn to nationalist agendas, as in the US election and Brexit referendum.

Guterres, a former Portuguese socialist prime minister elected in October to take over as UN secretary general next year, told a conference in his native Lisbon that this trend had undermined the willingness to receive refugees in Europe this year.

He said the world must re-establish international protection for refugees coming from war zones such as Syria, but it would not be easy as developed countries were turning to nationalist agendas.

In a previous capacity as UN High Commissioner for Refugees Guterres has praised Germany’s refugee policy and has called the EU asylum system “dysfunctional”.

Europe has struggled to handle a huge influx of refugees, many of whom displaced by the war in Syria. The United States has accepted only a very small number of refugees and may take in even fewer next year.

“In 2016, we have witnessed a dramatic deterioration of that international protection regime (for refugees),” Guterres said.

“This example started in the developed world, it started essentially in Europe, it is spreading now like a virus into other parts of the world.”

Guterres linked the growing resistance to accepting refugees to wider concerns about globalisation.

“I don’t think we can look strictly at the refugee issue, I think the problem is a broader problem,” he told the conference on Europe’s refugee crisis.

There was a consensus in the mid-1990s that globalisation would benefit all, he said.

“But a lot of people were left behind … In the developed world, (there are) those who have been losers in globalisation,” he said. “The recent analysis of the rust belt in the United States, I think, is a clear demonstration of that, when we speak about the elections.”

Donald Trump won this month’s election in the United States in part thanks to support from voters who have seen their jobs lost to countries with cheaper labour.

“So globalisation has not been as succesful as we had hoped and lots of people became not only angry with it, but feeling that political establishments and international organisations are not paying attention, were not taking care (of them),” he said.

This led to what he called “a kind of evolution” in which anti-establishment parties now tended to win elections and referendums tended to attract majorities against whatever was put to a vote.

(JN) Obama promete a Guterres “apoio contínuo” dos EUA à ONU

(JN) Obama promete a Guterres "apoio contínuo" dos EUA à ONU
O Presidente dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, felicitou na terça-feira António Guterres pela nomeação como secretário-geral das Nações Unidas.

Durante a conversa que mantiveram ao telefone, Barack Obama garantiu a António Guterres que os Estados Unidos vão continuar a trabalhar em estreita colaboração com as Nações Unidas, de acordo com um comunicado da Casa Branca.

António Guterres foi aclamado na passada quinta-feira como novo secretário-geral das Nações Unidas, numa sessão da Assembleia-geral da ONU que ratificou a escolha feita pelo Conselho de Segurança em 5 de Outubro.

“O Presidente prometeu o apoio contínuo [dos Estados Unidos] aos esforços da ONU para responder a um vasto leque de desafios globais”, refere a Casa Branca, invocando as alterações climáticas, o desenvolvimento sustentável, a ajuda humanitária, a prevenção de conflitos, a manutenção da paz ou ainda a promoção do respeito pelos direitos humanos.

Barack Obama “destacou igualmente a importância de se reforçar as reformas da ONU, incluindo garantir uma manutenção da paz eficaz e responsável e fortalecer e modernizar as instituições” da organização.

A Assembleia-geral das Nações Unidas realiza hoje um encontro informal com o secretário-geral designado, em que todos os Estados-membros poderão fazer intervenções.

O encontro informal será “uma oportunidade para uma interacção inicial” com António Guterres, “para o apoiar na preparação para o cargo”, indica o item de agenda da Assembleia-geral.

O encontro será também aberto a outros intervenientes, nomeadamente à sociedade civil, e transmitido pela Internet.

O antigo primeiro-ministro português vai assumir a liderança das Nações Unidas a 1 de Janeiro de 2017, sucedendo a Ban Ki-moon.

(EurActiv) Journalistic investigation digs into Commissioner Georgieva’s past

(EurActiv)

A journalistic investigation alleges Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, who was a candidate for UN Secretary General, has skeletons in her closet. The study also suggests that the EU keeps appointing leadership figures without vetting them.

Yves Kugelmann, a Swiss-based journalist, published yesterday (17 October) on the website of the Foreign Policy Research Institute an article titled “A major blunder at the UN narrowly averted”. He says the article has taken him months to write. Georgieva became a candidate for the UN top job at the last minute, but has been alleged to have been campaigning for at least a year whilst still a commissioner.

The author begins by pointing out that Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov put Georgieva on the ballot for the next UN Secretary-General one week before the final decision was made. Though she lost the vote, Georgieva remains a Vice President of the European Commission, where she is responsible for the EU budget and its anti-fraud office.

“Yet serious questions have been raised about her past in Soviet-era Bulgaria, as well as her alleged present family ties with a business conglomerate that US diplomats in Sofia have described as “once the doyen of Bulgarian organised crime,” Kugelmann writes.

Kugelmann cites the names of several people who knew Georgieva well, including a former officer of the Communist secret services, who state that Georgieva was an informant of those services – an allegation she has denied.

The government of Borissov normally vets appointments and does not put forward people with ties with the former secret services. In the case of Georgieva however, Borissov himself has been quoted as saying that Georgieva “has a dossier” – a familiar term in Bulgaria referring to Communist-era informants or collaborators with the secret police.

The author also cites people who allege Georgieva’s connections with Multigroup, a business empire in the early years of Bulgaria’s transition as a market economy. As an example, he cites that Georgieva’s daughter, Dessislava Kinova, has been a long-time employee of companies run by Multigroup.

Kugelmann says that US diplomats have described Multigroup as “once the doyen of Bulgarian organised crime”, which may be an overstatement. It is true, however, that the US has an aversion for this business group, which is confirmed by official correspondence of the State Department made public by Wikileaks.

“The issues surrounding Georgieva speak to a broader problem: too often, both the United Nations and the European Union have appointed leadership figures without vetting them, let alone subjecting the process to public scrutiny”, Kugelmann argues.

He said that the Commission’s lax approach to vetting again came under scrutiny last month, when leaked documents showed that Neelie Kroes, who led the European Commission’s powerful anti-trust unit and was also vice-president of the Commission,  was a director of an offshore company based in the Bahamas.

“This case clearly illustrates the need for formal vetting procedures for any leadership positions, whether at the UN or the European Union. The fifteen ambassadors around the table of the Security Council must have full access to such information on all candidates before voting on such important matters. As for the EU, a more open, transparent and democratic nomination process for leading posts in the Commission and other important bodies will help the EU rebuild public trust and support at a critical juncture for the future of the Union”, Kugelmann concludes

.

+++ (JN) António Guterres deixa “uma palavra enorme de agradecimento aos portugueses”

…Muito bem !

(JNO futuro secretário-geral da ONU, António Guterres, deixou hoje nas primeiras declarações à imprensa portuguesa desde que foi eleito “uma palavra enorme de agradecimento aos portugueses”.

“Deixo uma palavra enorme de agradecimento aos portugueses. Tive um apoio extraordinário do governo português, do senhor Presidente da República, do parlamento, dos diversos partidos políticos e de muita gente, muitas organizações. Senti-me rodeado de um enorme carinho e acho que isso contribuiu para esta vitória”, disse o português.

 

O antigo Alto-comissário para os Refugiados diz que esse apoio foi essencial durante a campanha dos últimos meses.

 

“Esta extraordinária unidade dos portugueses, este extraordinário calor humano que senti, não só foi óptimo para o meu ânimo, como teve um impacto importante para ajudar naquilo que tiveram ocasião de ver: a unidade e consenso que se estabeleceu no Conselho de Segurança e na Assembleia-geral”.

 

Questionado sobre declarações do conselheiro de Estado Eduardo Lourenço, que considerou a sua eleição o momento mais importante da história do país desde o 25 de Abril, Guterres disse que “só a generosidade de Eduardo Lourenço é que o levaria a dizer uma coisa dessas.

 

“Acho que há coisas muito mais importantes na história do nosso país. Para mim, obviamente, este é um momento importante em que vou tentar dar o meu melhor, numa função que é muito difícil, como todos sabemos. É uma obrigação que eu tinha, de por ao serviço da comunidade internacional as experiências que, com imensa sorte, em toda a minha vida, pude ir acumulando”, declarou o filósofo e escritor.

+++ V.V.I. (JN) EUA dizem que Guterres será um “excepcional” secretário-geral da ONU

(JN“Ele será um excepcional secretário-geral da ONU e os Estados Unidos estão desejosos de trabalhar estreitamente com ele”, disse o chefe da diplomacia norte-americana na sua conta da rede social Twitter.

O secretário de Estado dos Estados Unidos, John Kerry, falou esta sexta-feira, 7 de Outubro, com António Guterres, nomeado na quinta-feira para dirigir a ONU, e destacou que será um “excepcional” secretário-geral da organização.

 

“Acabo de falar com António Guterres”, disse Kerry numa mensagem curta publicada na sua conta da rede social Twitter.

 

“Ele será um excepcional secretário-geral da ONU e os Estados Unidos estão desejosos de trabalhar estreitamente com ele”, acrescentou o chefe da diplomacia norte-americana.

Just spoke with António Guterres. He will be an outstanding@UN Secretary-General, and the U.S. looks forward to working closely with him.

O Conselho de Segurança das Nações Unidas escolheu na quinta-feira, por unanimidade e aclamação, António Guterres como secretário-geral da organização, devendo agora a escolha ser ratificada pela Assembleia Geral da organização, que se realiza na próxima quinta-feira.

 

O ex-primeiro-ministro português foi designado como o único candidato recomendado pelo Conselho de Segurança para ocupar o cargo a partir de 1 de Janeiro de 2017, sucedendo ao sul-coreano Ban Ki-moon.

+++ V.I. (BBG) Security Council Formally Nominates Guterres as Next UN Chief

(Bloomberg) — The nomination of former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres is expected to be formally approved by the General Assembly later this month, said Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador, who is serving as the council’s president for October.

* UN General Assembly’s approval is considered a formality
* At the sixth round of informal straw polls yesterday,
Guterres secured 13 “yes” votes in the 15-member council,
including all five permanent members with veto powers, with
two members undecided.
* NOTE: Portugal’s Guterres Wins Backing to Lead the UN

+++ (JN) Ban Ki-moon considera Guterres “uma excelente escolha” para a sua sucessão na ONU

(JN)

Ban Ki-moon considera Guterres "uma excelente escolha" para a sua sucessão na ONU

O actual secretário-geral da ONU, Ban Ki-moon, considerou hoje em Roma que o antigo primeiro-ministro português António Guterres foi “uma excelente escolha” para a sua sucessão.

 

“Conheço muito bem Guterres e considero que representa uma excelente escolha”, declarou Ban aos ‘media’ à margem de um encontro com o Presidente italiano, Sergio Mattarella.

Guterres, que entre 2005 e 2015 assumiu o cargo de Alto-comissário da ONU para os Refugiados, “demonstrou uma forte compaixão por milhões de pessoas forçadas a deixaram as suas casas”, acrescentou Ban.

“A sua anterior experiência de primeiro-ministro de Portugal [1995-2002], o seu vasto conhecimento dos assuntos mundiais e a sua viva inteligência vão ser-lhe muito úteis para dirigir as Nações Unidas num período crucial”, considerou ainda.

O antigo primeiro-ministro português António Guterres foi indicado na quarta-feira como favorito para secretário-geral da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU) pelo Conselho de Segurança à Assembleia Geral.

O Conselho de Segurança anunciou na quarta-feira que o português foi o “vencedor claro” da votação, recebendo 13 votos de encorajamento e duas abstenções, uma das quais de um dos cinco membros permanentes do Conselho de Segurança com direito de veto.

Este órgão, com poder de veto, deverá aprovar hoje numa votação formal a indicação do nome de António Guterres para a Assembleia-Geral das Nações Unidas, concretizando assim a eleição do sucessor de Ban Ki-moon.

O novo secretário-geral da organização substitui Ban Ki-Moon e entra em funções a 1 de Janeiro de 2017.

+++ (BBG) Portugal’s Guterres “Moved” By UN Security Council Consensus

(Bloomberg) — “I was moved when I saw the security council able to decide with unity and consensus and decide in a very quick way,” former Portuguese prime minister Antonio
Guterres nominated as next UN Chief says in Lisbon.

* “I hope this represents a symbol, a moment in which the
security council enhances it’s capacity to, with humility
and consensus, make timely decisions”
* Gutteres says he feels “gratitude” and “humility”
* Guterres urges UN members to support current UN chief Ban
Ki-moon in his activities during the final months of his
mandate
* NOTE: Security Council Formally Nominates Guterres as Next
UN Chief