UN Chief ‘Warmly Welcomes’ Departure Of First Ukraine Grain Ship

In this file photo taken on February 28, 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the General Assembly emergency special session in New York City. Kena Betancur / AFP
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the General Assembly emergency special session in New York City. Kena Betancur / AFP


United Nations chief Antonio Guterres “warmly welcomes” the departure Monday of a first ship carrying Ukrainian grain under a plan to lift Russia’s naval blockade, a spokesperson said.

“The Secretary-General hopes that this will be the first of many commercial ships moving in accordance with the initiative signed, and that this will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security, especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts,” the UN said in a statement.


Buhari Receives UN Secretary-General At State House

The UN chief is calling for the reintegration of repentant terrorists in Nigeria. Photo: State House


President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday received the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the State House in Abuja. 

He was received by top government officials. Buhari’s conversation with Guterres centred on the need to ensure peaceful and democratic elections as well as the robust participation of women and young people in all areas.

He also thanked the UN boss for the visit, stressing that it came at a time when the world is focussing on the Russia/Ukraine crisis. Buhari also believes that the visit underscores the assurance that the world is with Nigeria.

On his part, the UN scribe called for developed nations to ramp up vaccine support to countries in the global north, halt the asymmetrical distribution and reform the global financial system.

Earlier in the day, he visited the UN House in Abuja alongside some top officials and diplomats of the agency.


Guterres is on a two-day official visit to Nigeria – the first of such.

The UN chief had arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday and also visited Borno State where he proposed the reintegration of repentant terrorists. This, he said, is key to the restoration of peace in the North East region.


“The best thing we can do for peace is to reintegrate those, that in a moment of despair, became terrorists but want to become now citizens and to contribute to the well-being of their brothers and sisters,” he told a gathering at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp.


The UN scribe is also expected to perform the wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the August 26, 2011, suicide bomb attack victims.

UNGA: Guterres, Garces, Others Congratulate Nigeria’s Muhammad-Bande

Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, Antonio Guterres exchanging pleasantries with Tijjani Muhammad-Bande while President UNGA, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces looks on. PHOTO: Antonio Guterres/Twitter


The Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, Antonio Guterres has congratulated Nigeria’s Tijjani Muhammad-Bande on his emergence as the President of the 74th UN General Assembly.

Guterres in a tweet on his official handle @antonioguterres said “Congratulations to Professor Tijjani Muhammad Bande of Nigeria, elected President of the 74th #UNGA session.”


The President of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces also congratulated Muhammad-Bande.

Garces said, “Tijjani brings with him an outstanding career both as scholar and diplomat.”

The deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed has also congratulated Muhammad-Bande.

Mohammed is who Nigeria’s former minister of environment.

She said she looks forward to a fruitful collaboration.


Muhammad-Bande was elected on Tuesday as the President of the 74th UN General Assembly.

He was the sole candidate for the position and was elected at the 87th plenary meeting of the Assembly in New York, the United States.

He is the second Nigerian to hold the office after the retired military officer and diplomat, Joseph Garba, and former permanent representative to the UN, Professor Joy Ogwu.

Tijjani before his new appointment was Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the U.N.

He will assume his new position in September 2019.


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UN Chief Guterres Hails ‘Peaceful Conduct’ Of Liberia Election

File photo: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Photo: Keith/Getty Images/AFP


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday hailed the “peaceful conduct” of Liberia’s presidential run-off election, which pitted former international footballer George Weah against Vice President Joseph Boakai.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the peaceful conduct of the second round of the presidential election in Liberia,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

“He commends the government, political parties and people of Liberia for the orderly poll.”

Guterres has requested that former president Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, a member of the UN chief’s high-level advisory board, travel to Monrovia from December 28 to 30 as part of the international body’s “good offices engagement in Liberia,” Dujarric said.


Trump Decision On Jerusalem Could Hurt Peace Process – Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital might hinder the US drive for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday.

His comments were in stark contrast to those of the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who said it would “move the ball forward.”

The new US stance, criticized by Palestinians, Arab leaders and others as gravely damaging any prospects for peace, has given rise to swelling protests across the region in recent days.

Speaking on CNN, Guterres said he was pleased that Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner had been meeting with Israelis and Palestinians on a new peace plan after years of stalemate in the process.

“I am not saying that it will happen, but there was a hope that it would be possible to finally bring this horrible conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to an end,” Guterres said.

“I think that the decision that was taken on Wednesday risks to compromise this effort,” he added.

But Haley suggested that fears of unrest over the Trump decision are overblown.

She told CNN that Trump was the first US president to have the “courage” to make a move that she said many Americans and others around the world supported.

– ‘To move the ball forward’ –
“When it comes to those people (who are) upset, we knew that was going to happen. But courage causes that… I strongly believe this is going to move the ball forward for the peace process.”

When a CNN interviewer asked repeatedly how the change would help the cause of peace, Haley suggested that it would simplify negotiations.

“Now they get to come together to decide what the borders look like, they get to decide the boundaries and they get to talk about how they want to see Jerusalem, going forward.

“All we did was say, ‘this is not something we’re going to allow to happen in the middle of your negotiations.'”

Critics of the US shift say it will have the opposite effect: It has long been US policy that the critically sensitive status of Jerusalem — claimed as capital by both Israelis and Palestinians — must be saved for the end of peace negotiations, not taken off the table at the start.

Protests, sometimes violent, have flared across the region since Trump announced the new policy on Wednesday. Two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed in clashes on Friday, and two others died in Israeli air strikes in retaliation for rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave.

On Sunday, a Palestinian stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli security guard in Jerusalem.

And in Beirut, Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water cannon on Sunday at several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered near the US embassy.