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THE INTERVIEW

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

2018-07-20 Americas

Nicaraguans 'betrayed' by Ortega, Bianca Jagger tells FRANCE 24

As Nicaragua marked the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista uprising and is once again facing widespread unrest, longtime human rights defender Bianca Jagger spoke to FRANCE 24...

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2018-07-18 James ANDRE

UN warns of 'conspiracy of complacency' in fighting HIV

As the UN's HIV/AIDS agency UNAIDS publishes its annual report, FRANCE 24 sat down with Michel Sidibé, its Executive Director. Sidibé discussed the progress made in fighting the...

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2018-07-12 Marc PERELMAN

'Official US position, confirmed by Trump: Crimea is Ukrainian', Poroshenko says

At this week’s NATO summit in Brussels, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman he was “certain” that US President Donald Trump would not negotiate on...

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2018-07-11 Annette YOUNG

The art of 'adulting': Why do so many of us struggle to grow up?

Annette Young meets Pamela Druckerman, New York Times columnist and Paris-based author whose latest book looks at why we struggle with growing up. After the mammoth success of...

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2018-07-09 Asia-pacific

ICRC chief: 'Long way to go' until Rohingya refugees can return to Myanmar

Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), spoke to FRANCE 24 from Geneva following a visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh. Maurer described the...

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