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New UN Chief Unlikely to Change Organizational Bias

New UN Chief Unlikely to Change Organizational Bias New UN Chief Unlikely to Change Organizational Bias

A lawmaker expressed pessimism that the new UN chief, Antonio Guterres, can change the biased approach of the world body and resist the pressure of the US and other wealthy countries from influencing the UN decisions.

Valiollah Nanvakenari, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the statement in an interview with ICANA on Wednesday.

Guterres took over as the new chief on Sunday, taking over from Ban Ki-moon, whose second five-year term ended on Dec. 31, 2016. He was elected to the post by the favorable votes of all 193 members of the UN General Assembly for a five-year term on October 13 last year.

He was the prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

"It's early to judge the performance of the new UN leader, but the world body and many other international organizations are not independent," the lawmaker said.

"Although these international entities are expected to be nonpartisan, we see that the UN is [heavily] influenced by countries such as the US and Saudi Arabia, and make decisions dictated by them," he said.

Nanvakenari noted that under the circumstances one should not hope that the replacement of the secretary-general can improve the UN performance, as Guterres cannot avoid the influence of powerful countries.

The former UN chief's days in office will be remembered, among other things, by a public confession in January that he caved in to Saudi pressure on children's rights.

Ban said in January that a previous decision to remove the Saudi-led coalition's bombing of Yemen from a blacklist of children's rights abusers was influenced by financial threats.

  Painful Decision

Ban called it "one of the most painful and difficult decisions I have had to make", saying that "I had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would stop funding many UN programs."

Saudi Arabia is one of the UN's largest donors in the Middle East, giving hundreds of millions of dollars a year to UN food programs.

Guterres, in his first message as the UN chief, called on all people across the globe to put "peace" above all else, and said the only way to help "the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight", was for citizens, governments and leaders to "strive to overcome differences".

On December 8, Guterres had a meeting with Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshrou at the UN's New York headquarters, in which he said his first priority will be to make impartial and serious efforts to help solve international crises and ease the pains of millions of hapless people across the world.

 

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