Antonio Guterres named as choice for next UN chief

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Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) speaks to media about the refugee crisis in Europe, following their bilateral meeting at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, September 4, 2015. The United Nations' refugee chief called on Friday for Europe to mobilise its "full force" in tackling its migrant crisis. Declaring that the European Union faces a "defining moment", the head of the U.N. refugee agency Guterres said a divided bloc would benefit only smugglers and people traffickers. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse - RTX1R37U

Antonio Guterres, who was the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, was chosen Wednesday as the next U.N. chief in a Security Council straw poll. Photo by Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres is the unanimous choice to succeed Ban Ki-moon as secretary-general of the United Nations. The Security Council agreed in an informal poll Wednesday to recommend the man who had served as the U.N. High Commissioner for refugees until December 2015.

The U.N. Security Council will hold a formal vote on Guterres on Thursday, according to Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who made the announcement.

Ban served two consecutive terms as secretary-general. His last day in office is Dec. 31.

READ MORE: Column: Who will be next to lead the UN?

“In the end, there was just a candidate whose experience, vision, and versatility across a range of areas proved compelling,” said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power of Guterres.

The NewsHour has interviewed Guterres over the years about refugees. In 2014, he talked with Judy Woodruff about crises in Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. When asked what was the main challenge of helping Syrian refugees, he said it’s that it’s “a never-ending conflict.”

“We have now the largest displacement in the world for decades,” he said, “6.5 million people displaced inside the country, more than 2.6 million refugees coming into the neighboring countries. And, as you can imagine, it’s not only a terrible tragedy for the Syrians. It’s becoming an enormous threat to the stability of the region and a global threat to peace and security.”

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