We heard that news at the big pow-wow at Georgetown on Thursday, so I decided to look around and see if I could find out more.
This is a Reuters story from a month ago where we learn that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is not extending Guterres’ term even though he could. Hmmm!
By the way, go here and see the list of pledges for Syrian resettlement and see that Portugal (where Antonio Guterres is a past President) is taking a whopping 23 Syrians.
What! He can’t persuade his own home country to take in a larger number of Syrians? Besides being the former President of Portugal, Guterres is the former President of Socialists International. He gave up that post when he became UNHCR:
Guterres retired from Portuguese politics and worked as President of the Socialist International until 2005.
Reuters (U.N.’s Ban rejects calls to keep refugee chief amid crisis):
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has disregarded a request from a large number of member states to keep the U.N. high commissioner for refugees in his job for an extra year to cope with the worsening refugee crisis, diplomats said.
Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was elected by the U.N. General Assembly in 2005 and re-elected in 2010. Earlier this year, the assembly voted to extend his mandate by 6-1/2 months to Dec. 31, on Ban’s recommendation.
But the sources, who include the chairman of the U.N. refugee agency’s executive committee, said Ban decided to resist pressure for a further extension of one year, and resort to a normal election process to make way for a new high commissioner.
Several diplomats said it was unusual for a secretary-general to ignore such appeals, though they acknowledged it is Ban’s right to do so.
So who is on the short list (at least at the time this story was published):
Comissario told Reuters there was a short list of three candidates for the post: Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and veteran diplomats Achim Steiner of Germany and Filippo Grandi of Italy.
The UNHCR statute makes no mention of term limits for the high commissioner, though it states that the terms of the appointment are set by the secretary-general.
Consider this nightmare: Obama heads UN in 2017 with Helle as UNHCR!