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An interview with a French or international personality from the world of economics, politics, culture or diplomacy. Every Wednesday at 4.45 pm Paris time and Saturday at 7.45 am.

Latest update : 2016-10-17

Syria is top priority, new UN Secretary-General Guterres tells FRANCE 24

Newly appointed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview that resolving Syria's five-and-a-half-year civil war would be his top priority.

This war “became not only a tragedy for the Syrian people, but a big threat for the stability of the region, and a threat to the security of everybody everywhere", the former UN high commissioner for refugees said in the exclusive interview. “It is in everybody’s interests to come together and put an end to this war.”

Guterres, who was Portuguese prime minister from 1995 to 2002, will take over from current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the beginning of January 2017. He will become the ninth UN chief in the world organisation’s 71-year history.

Asked what influence he could wield to restore peace in Syria, Guterres said he was aware of the challenges the UN faces, but warned that he was not becoming “the leader of the world” and that the position required a “humble” approach.

The secretary-general “must work as a convenor, facilitator, as a mediator, as a bridge builder, an honest broker and try to bring people together”, he told FRANCE 24's Jessica Le Masurier.

Warning that “we are witnessing a multiplication of new conflicts...with links to global terrorism”, Guterres said he aimed to persuade people to “engage in a surge of diplomacy for peace”.

Guterres was elected to his new position at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Secretary-General Ban, recalling Guterres' decade as the UN's refugee chief, told the assembly that his successor was "best known where it counts most, on the front lines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering”.

By Jessica LE MASURIER

Archives

2017-10-23 Asia-pacific

Seoul: 'Time running out to prevent a nuclear N. Korea'

In an interview with FRANCE 24, South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha discussed the nuclear crisis with neighbouring North Korea. She stressed that "there must not be...

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2017-10-20 Kurdistan

Kurdish referendum a ‘colossal mistake’, says son of late president Talabani

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Bafel Talabani – the son of late Iraqi president and Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani – blasted the decision of the Kurdish leadership to...

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2017-10-18 Americas

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton says Trump 'channels' racism

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2017-10-17 Americas

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2017-10-13 Business

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Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), spoke to FRANCE 24 during the annual meetings of her institution and the World Bank in Washington....

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