Guterres, a former Prime Minister of Portugal (1995 to 2002) and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2005-2015) took the oath of office on the 12th December following the Assembly’s tribute to outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who steps down after leading the global Organization for the past 10 years.
In his first official message, the Secretary-General made a global appeal for peace in 2017.
“All that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace. But peace depends on us. I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day. Let us make 2017 a year for peace.”
Commenting on the Secretary Generals’ message UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Residents Representative Ms. Una McCauley stated that “The topic of peace is especially relevant as Sri Lanka is uniquely placed to forge a path for long term and sustainable peace. On the dawn of the new year the United Nations remains committed to supporting the people of Sri Lanka on the journey towards peace and reconciliation.”
Welcoming the new Secretary-General António Guterres and committing to continue to work closely with the UN, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera emphasized the relevance of the Secretary-General’s message for a shared New Year’s resolution “to put peace first”, for the entire world community, and for Sri Lanka.
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. (Colombo Gazette)