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First day at the office for new UN chief Antonio Guterres

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By Euronews
First day at the office for new UN chief Antonio Guterres

The United Nations has a new man at the top – former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres has replaced Ban Ki-moon as secretary general.

But overshadowing his tenure is the man who is about to move into the White House. Donald Trump heavily criticised the UN during his campaign for the presidency, dismissing it as a mere talking shop.

Trump’s remarks came after the recent resolution by the UN Security Council calling for a halt to Israeli settlement-building.

The United States is by far the largest funder of the 193 member countries of the UN. With it providing more than 20% of the UN budget Guterres must deal with such criticism and scepticism from day one.

“This is the moment in which we need to assert the value of multilateralism. This is the moment in which we need to recognise that only global solutions can address global problems and that the UN is the cornerstone of that multilateral approach,” said Guterres to UN staff at the organisation’s head quarters in New York.

“We are facing very challenging times”, he said added, citing global terrorism and refugees as two of the major problems in the world.

Guterres who has been praised by former colleagues for his negotiating skills ended by saying, “It’s not enough just to do the right thing. We need to earn the right to do the right thing.”.