From 2005 to 2015, Guterres was the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, and he was the prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. The General Assembly must now vote on his appointment, which would take effect at the start of 2017.
In their letter, B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin and Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels write: “Your selection by the members of the Council impressively reflects the trust invested in you by its diverse members as well as within the world body more generally...As you know well, the international community, and the United Nations itself, continues to face no shortage of grave challenges—whether humanitarian, socioeconomic, political, environmental or otherwise.”
B’nai B’rith noted that “the worldwide Jewish community ascribed great promise to the creation of the United Nations, coming as it did in the very aftermath of the Second World War and the Holocaust. Accordingly, we have labored continuously for the maximal effectiveness of the U.N. and for it to live up to its own essential founding values and aspirations. If guided by principles of genuine fairness and constructiveness—including with regard to the world’s only Jewish state, Israel, a U.N. member state since 1949—we believe that the U.N. can yet afford singular contributions to the pursuit of security, coexistence and peace.”
“The U.N. Secretary-General is uniquely positioned to model and promote such an approach,” the letter concluded.