Roundup: former Nicaraguan FM elected head of UN General Assembly 2008-06-05 04:23:10   Print

    UNITED NATIONS, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, former Nicaraguan foreign minister, was elected on Wednesday president of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly (GA).

    The 192-member assembly elected d'Escoto by acclamation at a plenary meeting presided over by current President Srgjan Kerim of Macedonia and UN Deputy Secretary-General Ashra-Rose Migiro.

    In a speech following his election, d'Escoto called for efforts to democratize the United Nations.

    "The United Nations still has a lot to contribute to this world," he said. "But in order to be effective, it must be what its name implies: an organization of United Nations, not nations that are dispersed, or even worse, subjugated."

    "Unity, based on the principle of sovereign equality among all of its members, is the greatest demand on our organization today," he said. "Our nations must be united in the struggle to democratize the United Nations."

    He said his presidency would devote priority attention to the fight against hunger and poverty, climate change, terrorism, human rights, disarmament and nuclear control, cultural diversity, the rights of women and children, and the protection of biodiversity, among other important issues on the organization's agenda.

    Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said d'Escoto's long and varied career would serve him well at the United Nations, where momentum was already building towards the next Assembly session.

    "By joining forces under the leadership of the president, we can forge effective responses that will make a difference in the lives of millions of people across the world," she added, assuring d'Escoto that he would have the full support of the Secretariat as he prepared to take office and during his tenure as assembly president.

    In his remarks, outgoing assembly President Kerim said d'Escoto's election offered Nicaragua - a founding member of the organization - and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States an important opportunity to strengthen the assembly and promote the three pillars of the United Nations: development, peace and security, and human rights.

    Kerim went on to say that d'Escoto's long history of diplomatic work and community service would help greatly while he led the assembly's efforts to address some of the great challenges of the day, especially in driving the United Nations development agenda.

    D'Escoto, 75, will take over the presidency from Kerim when the next GA session opens on Sept. 16.

    D'Escoto, the son of a Nicaraguan diplomat, served as the foreign minister of Nicaragua when the country was governed by the Sandinista National Liberation Front from 1979-1990.

    The presidency of the assembly rotates annually between five regional groups: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, and Western Europe and other states.

    D'Escoto was endorsed by the Latin American and Caribbean Groupas the sole candidate for the presidency.

Editor: Yan Liang
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