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New UN chief Guterres pledges to make 2017 ‘a year for peace’

Article published on UN website, 01/01/2017

On his first day at the helm of the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres today pledged to make 2017 a year for peace.

“On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution: Let us resolve to put peace first,” said Mr. Guterres in an appeal for peace.

He said one question weighs heavy on his heart. “That is: how can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?”

“Peace must be our goal and our guide,” he said, urging all citizens, governments and leaders to strive to overcome differences.

“I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day. Let us make 2017 a year for peace,” he added.

Having been formally appointed by the UN General Assembly on 13 October 2016, Mr. Guterres, aged 67, will serve for a five-year period from today to 31 December 2021. He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.


Antonio Guterres’s complete Statement


On my first day as Secretary-General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart.
How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?
Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute. Even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.
No one wins these wars everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.
On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution:
Let us resolve to put peace first.
Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.
From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides… From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions…
Peace must be our goal and our guide.
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.
Thank you.


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