International

UN chief says he has ‘no power at all’ ahead of annual meeting

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said he has “no power at all” ahead of the U.N.’s General Assembly yearly meeting. 

When asked in an interview with CNN about the executive power he holds in the meeting, Guterres said, “No power at all.”

“The secretary of the United Nations has no power, and there’s no money,” Guterres continued. “What we have is a voice, and that voice can be loud, and I have the obligation to make it be loud.” 

The general debate for the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly kicked off this week. Countries will be able to broadcast their plans, concerns and calls to actions in front of other global leaders. 

Guterres said the General Assembly is sometimes able to convene more than just countries, while noting the power of member states. 

“Sometimes we are able to bring together different actors, not only countries, but the private sector, civil society, women and youth organizations, scientific experts, the academia,” Guterres said. “But the power is in the member states.”

Guterres said the exercise of this power is getting blocked due to the division among superpowers since World War II. 

“We have a level of division among superpowers than has no precedent since the Second World War,” Guterres said. “Even in the Cold War, things were more predictable than they are today.” 

At a two-day summit, which began Monday, Guterres tried to kick-start action to fulfill the 17 goals adopted by world leaders in 2015, reminding leaders they made “a promise to build a world of health, progress and opportunity for all – a promise to leave no one behind and a promise to pay for it.” 

General Assembly President Dennis Francis added that the assembled leaders are “lagging” in their promise, The Associated Press reported.

Tags Antonio Guterres United Nations United Nations General Assembly

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