António Guterres, who has taken over as United Nations 9th secretary-general in the new year, called on the global community to work for overcoming violent differences in search of long-lasting peace. His first term will last five years, though most United Nations secretaries have served two terms, including Guterres's immediate successor, Ban Ki-moon.
Guterres said, how can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars in different parts of the world.
Guterres won the UN's top job after receiving high marks from nearly every diplomat for his performance in the first-ever question-and-answer sessions in the General Assembly for the 13 candidates vying to replace Ban.
In an appeal released on January 1, Guterres talked about a question that "weighs heavily on [his] heart".
Guterres, who replaced Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, urged all citizens, governments and leaders to strive to overcome differences. He went on to say that "civilians are pounded with deadly force, women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute".
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He gave this statement in a message heralding the New Year and marking his first day as the world body's chief today. The video address is available on the United Nations' YouTube channel. His experience as a politician and a diplomat are the reason for high hopes he could become an effective Secretary-General.
Guterres suggested that this could be done by maintaining "ceasefires on the battlefield to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions" adding that for all world leaders "peace must be our goal and our guide".
He was also a member of the Portuguese Parliament for 17 years.
He stressed the commitment of the National Unity Government of Sri Lanka, under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, to move forward on the path of reconciliation and achieving a durable peace.
Guterres begins his five-year term facing conflicts in multiple countries including Syria and Yemen, the rise of global terrorism and the threat of climate change.