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New UN chief urges world to strive for peace

1 January 2017 16:57

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The new Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres has started his first day in office by citing “peace” as the world’s most crucial requirement.

Guterres started his first day as the new UN chief on Sunday, taking over from Ban Ki-moon, whose second five-year term ended at midnight on December 31, 2016.

Guterres was elected to the post by the UN General Assembly for a five-year term on October 13 last year. He was the prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon waves as he departs the UN Headquarters in New York, December 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

In his first message as the UN chief, Guterres called on all people across the globe to put “peace” above all else. “Let us resolve to put peace first,” he said.

Guterres said the only way to help “the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight” was for citizens, governments, and leaders to “strive to overcome our differences.”

“Peace must be our goal and our guide,” he said, adding that peace is the foundation on which other human aspirations are set. “All that we strive for… dignity and hope, progress and prosperity, depends on peace.”

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