Kazakhstan endorses Guterres for second term as UN chief

Nur-Sultan, Jun 4 (EFE).- Kazakhstan backs Antonio Guterres for a second term as the United Nations’s secretary-general, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told the head of that intergovernmental organization Friday in a video conference.

The Central Asian nation’s leader “confirmed Kazakhstan’s support for the candidacy of Antonio Guterres for a second term as head of the UN,” the Akorda presidential palace said in a statement.

The former Portuguese prime minister, whose first term began on January 2017 and expires at year’s end, has expressed to the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council his willingness to remain in office.

For decades nearly all UN secretaries-general have served two terms, the lone exception being Egypt’s Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose re-election was vetoed in 1996 by the United States.

Guterres must receive the green light of the Security Council, the UN’s highest decision-making body, and the General Assembly, in which all member states are represented.

During their virtual meeting, Tokayev and the UN secretary-general also discussed joint efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and climate change and ensure regional security and stability, especially in Afghanistan following the decision by the US and its NATO allies to withdraw their remaining troops in that country in the coming months.

The Kazakh president expressed his readiness to continue to provide assistance to Afghanistan and participate in international efforts to restore stability in that country, while Guterres stressed the important role of Central Asian countries in this process, Akorda said.

Tokayev also informed the UN chief of the measures he has taken against the coronavirus, including the development of the domestically developed QazVac vaccine and his goal of inoculating up to 55 percent of the population by year’s end.

In addition, he announced his plans to participate in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November in Glasgow, during which updated national measures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 will be presented.

Finally, the leader of Central Asia’s largest country invited Guterres to an international conference in August to mark the 30th anniversary of the closure of Semipalatinsk, the former Soviet Union’s largest nuclear test site.

The first nuclear test at Semipalatinsk was conducted on Aug. 29, 1949. All told, 450 nuclear tests were carried out at the site before Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first president, closed it down just days after taking office in August 1991. EFE


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