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Germany welcomes 2nd term for Guterres

January 29, 2021

Angela Merkel and Heiko Maas have said Guterres had steered the UN "through difficult times" and contributed to "bolstering peace and security."

Chancellor Merkel shakes hands with Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres, pictured here with Chancellor Merkel, is serving as the ninth UN chiefImage: Reuters/F. Bensch

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday welcomed the news that Antonio Guterres would be available for a second term at the helm of the UN.

"In the past four years, he demonstrated great skills and foresight in steering the United Nations through difficult times and contributed significantly to bolstering peace and security," Merkel and Maas said in a joint statement.

Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, has served as secretary general of the UN since 2017 and plans to run for another five-year term.

The 71-year-old outlined his priorities for the year ahead in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

"2020 brought us tragedy and peril," he said. "2021 must be the year to change gear and put the world on track. We need to move from death to health, from disaster to reconstruction, from despair to hope, from business as usual to transformation." 

He also stressed the importance of an inclusive recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and called for renewed focus on the fight against climate change, inequality, and strengthening human rights.

"We are delighted that Antonio Guterres will be available for a second term," the German government's statement said.

It added that Germany appreciated cooperation on "major issues such as climate change and health as well as efforts to promote peace in Libya."