United Nations chief calls for putting 'peace first'

António Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called on worldwide community to strive for peace in 2017, Xinhua reported.

In a speech marking his first day in office, Mr. Guterres delivered a message of peace for 2017 to the UN's 193 member states.

"No one wins these wars; everyone loses". A Portuguese politician and diplomat, Guterres was formerly the United Nations high commissioner for refugees. Having been formally appointed by the UN General Assembly on 13 October 2016, Guterres, aged 67, will serve for a five-year period from today to 31 December 2021.

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Most say his main challenge will be in Syria, where the United Nations has been trying for years to create a political settlement to end the country's civil war.

"Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations", he said. The video address is available on the United Nations' YouTube channel.

So as Guterres begins his five-year term facing conflicts from Syria and Yemen to South Sudan and Libya and global crises from terrorism to climate change, US support for the United Nations remains a question mark. "Let us make 2017 a year for peace", the statement said.

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If he tries to follow what Ban's predecessor, Kofi Annan, did as secretary-general and try to be the world's top diplomat and what some called "a secular pope", Bolton said, "I think especially in the Trump administration, he would run into big trouble very quickly". "Peace must be our goal and guide" he said. The former Portuguese prime minister has taken over after 10 years of leadership from his predecessor Ban Ki-moon.

Let us make 2017 a year for peace.

He said since the United Nations system creates a "negative energy" against his country, he wanted Guterres to be "able to withstand the tremendous pressure against Israel that exists inside the UN".

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