If ordinary people can guess who was elected today as the new UN Secretary General, diplomats, former Prime Minister of Portugal, antónio Guterres, is known, and the characteristics of it., though cautious. One thing is clear — politically, this figure is more ambitious than ban Ki-moon. But who is satisfied or not, we tried to understand with our experts.
Question Alexei Borisov, Deputy Chairman, Russian UN Association.
— Alexey, it is clear that Guterres — a candidate very well-known in diplomatic circles, as I understand it, for a majority, but still how useful it will be at such a high post?
— I can assure you that the vote was unanimous. This shows the great weight and confidence of the members of the Committee that actually is the best figure. Election is a difficult process, it was six rounds of secret voting, and the latter showed that the permanent members (all five) of the security Council fully support it. Hopes are high; everyone saw how he led his forces in Geneva, being on the post of the UN high Commissioner for refugees (improved budget, cut unnecessary positions, that has proven to be an effective Manager.), and all believe that he will raise the efficiency of the entire Organization.
— Inside out, the inner life of the UN he knows?
Excellent. Besides his invaluable experience as Prime Minister in Portugal, and not the easiest period of life of the country; and the Organization itself is now too volatile and complex world. So, my opinion is the optimal figure, his decisions will be balanced, taking into account that he was originally the leader of the socialist party. Hope to him. As in diplomatic circles and in political ones. António Guterres is respected.
— You mentioned that there is a UN reform. The extent to which the new Secretary-General will be able to move, how great will be the impact?
— During the hearings in the UN, he talked about preventive diplomacy, that is more active diplomacy of the UN to prevent conflicts. That is not enough. Secondly, it is his plan – “sustainable development”, which was signed by the heads of state last year. Thirdly, issues of human rights, the refugee problem — it is his bread, he understands very well. You see, when the UN criticized for inefficiency, I always say — well, it’s still not a world government, is an intergovernmental organization, the Secretariat. The UN reflects the real situation in the world, and no, even the most effective democracy may not boast a complete effectiveness.
Galina Nerusheva, adviser information Office of the UN high Commissioner for refugees in Russia:
— It is difficult to say what are the first steps, antónio Guterres, will take, but he has a huge experience in international organizations, good communication at all levels among the political elite, he did a lot, being 10 years UN high Commissioner for refugees, and has done much to balance the interests of different parties, donor countries… the Man is intelligent and experienced, is the best candidate of all who were represented.
— Talking about his “proper compromise”…
— Yes, he is a politician of compromise, Yes, it does have its position, but he is always ready to listen to the other side. Guterres was twice in Russia in 1996-m and in 2008-m year, and all celebrate his positive human qualities.
— Can we expect with the arrival of his UN reform?
— It’s hard to speak for the whole Organization, but proposals for reform, which came, no doubt, will be closely examined. While all good is expected; he hoped that he will bring a soft but important reforms.
— As far as I know, you worked with Guterres?
— Yes it is, in my tenure as Deputy Secretary General in Geneva. He made a very good impression. First, he’s a serious politician, former Prime Minister of Portugal, former Secretary General of the socialist international. He, of course, a business man, a great Manager, a man with his own view on many things. And this opinion he does not hesitate to Express, even when these statements are no laurels to him will bring. At the same time — witty, with a great sense of humor; we worked together great. And when there were problems, we together all the cases were decided.
— Yes, but he is a representative of a member country of NATO…
Well, the candidates from Eastern Europe — they are also NATO members. But for them there is no such a politically weighty Luggage as for Guterres. Besides, he knows the whole complicated mechanism of the UN system in Geneva 6,000 employees work! So he — the best candidate of all, clearly the strongest of all. How it will behave — we’ll see. But keep in mind, UN Secretary-General is the person who has the maximum rights to bring to the attention of the security Council, which in his opinion may threaten world peace. That’s his prerogative in a political sense. Of course, it can make political statements. But the UN Charter says that he must be politically neutral. Although the current Secretary General ban Ki-moon (will retain his post until the New year – “MK”) was not always neutral… From Guterres I’ve never heard anything negative by far politically in our country. Never.
But I understand, its effect is in any case limited?
— That the UN is accused of lethargy, but it is not the UN, and the specific member countries decide everything. And the Secretary General is obliged to implement these decisions, that’s all. I don’t see any extraordinary functions of the Secretary General, neither the UN Charter nor in reality. All secretaries-General have sought to stay as neutral as possible — either 50/50 or 40/60. What ban Ki — moon Pro-Western, it’s understandable. But he’s just not that caliber of person. Why, for example, a settlement in Syria deals with the representative of the Secretary-General and not the Secretary General himself? But this climate of love and disarmament. Guterres, I am sure, will have to deal with such problems…