Koenders: Guterres is a determined and experienced leader

Foreign minister Bert Koenders believes that António Guterres is well suited to his new role as Secretary-General of the United Nations. ‘Mr Guterres is a determined and experienced leader – exactly what’s needed in a difficult role like this,’ said the minister.

The UN General Assembly is yet to formally appoint Mr Guterres. ‘Unofficially, I’d like to offer him my sincere congratulations,’ remarked Mr Koenders. The minister is looking forward to working with Mr Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, particularly as the Kingdom of the Netherlands will hold a seat on the UN Security Council in 2018.

Mr Koenders believes that Mr Guterres will deliver on his promise to implement planned UN reforms. ‘António Guterres is someone who has the authority to win over institutions and to make the UN more effective, something which is desperately needed,’ the minister affirmed. ‘He has impressive plans to reform the UN in the areas of security, the climate, development and migration. He is also a vocal proponent of modernising peace missions, so as to increase the focus on conflict prevention. The Netherlands has been pushing for this for some time already.’

Mr Guterres was UN High Commissioner for Refugees for 10 years, a role in which he saw the effects of conflict first-hand. ‘At present, refugee numbers are at their highest since World War II. Having Antonio Guterres lead the UN is the best way of confronting this issue,’ Mr Koenders commented.

‘In the nineties I took part in many international delegations with Mr Guterres and worked with him when I was head of the UN missions in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire. He implemented wide-reaching reforms at the UN Refugee Agency, and he’s a man with an eye for results. That’s exactly what we need.’