Guterres looks forward to talking to Biden

1/22/2021

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres looks forward to speaking to new US President Joe Biden, but understands that the latter currently "has a long to-do list", a top official said here.

"The Secretary-General looks forward to speaking to President Biden at his earliest convenience. The Secretary-General is available whenever," Xinhua news agency quoted the UN chief's spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying on Thursday.

"But obviously we fully understand that the new President has a long to-do list, and we know he is busy. But we do very much look forward to a first phone call, whenever that can happen."

The spokesman rejected the assumption that the UN was not a priority for Biden.

"If you look at two of the executive orders that were signed (by Biden) yesterday, even three of them, a top priority involved the UN.

"We have made it known to the US Mission here that the secretary-general is available and looking forward to speak to President Biden whenever he has the time.

"The Secretary-General has a thick skin. No one is being slighted in any way, shape or form. And on the contrary, we are very delighted that some of the first actions that President Biden took when he walked into the White House was a return to the Paris climate agreement, was a return to -- or not even a return to WHO (World Health Organization), a halt of the withdrawal from WHO.

"So, I think that itself sends a very strong signal -- more than any phone call could have done," Dujarric added.

Upon assuming office on Wednesday, Biden signed 17 executive orders, which included the US to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the WHO.

In a statement late Wednesday, Guterres welcomed "Biden's steps to re-enter the Paris Agreement on climate change and join the growing coalition of governments, cities, states, businesses and people taking ambitious action to confront the climate crisis".

Source: IANS

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