Israeli officials have welcomed the Security Council’s decision to endorse former prime minister of Portugal Antonio Guterres as the next Secretary General of the U.N.
Danon wished Guterres success in his new position and said that “the state of Israel hopes, and expects, that the U.N. under his leadership will act in the spirit of its founding principles as a fair body able to differentiate between good and evil and will end its obsession with Israel.”
“I hope that this change in leadership will bring an end to the organization’s hostility towards Israel,” he added.
Guterres visited Israel in 1993 in his capacity as secretary-general of the Portuguese Socialist Party and leader of Portugal’s opposition at the time. He met with then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Industry and Trade Minister Micha Harish.
“He was friendly and was definitely not part of the extreme Left in Europe,” Harish said. “I don’t remember any anti-Israel comments by him. I think he will be more fair and less aggressive in the U.N. than his predecessors.”
In his welcoming statement, Danon encouraged the Guterres to accept, on behalf of the United Nations, responsibility for ensuring the return of the remains of Lt. Hadar Goldin, Hy”d, and Oron Shaul, Hy”d, held by Hamas, to Israel.
Guterres is slated to succeed Ban Ki-moon as the next U.N. chief in January 2017. The Security Council is expected to formally recommend him to the 193-member General Assembly for election on Thursday.