UN General Assembly gets new president
Updated: 2015-06-16 08:58
Chairman of the Danish parliament Mogens Lykketoft poses for a photo at his office at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen September 22, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
UNITED NATIONS - Mogens Lykketoft, speaker of the Danish Parliament was elected president of the 70th annual UN General Assembly by acclimation Monday, succeeding Sam Kutesa who served as president of the 69th annual session.
There was no suspense leading up to the election because he was choice of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), whose turn it was to nominate an assembly president. The WEOG decision to name him was made behind closed doors by group members. Representatives of the other groups and WEOG welcomed Lykketoft.
He is the first Dane to hold the post and the third Scandinavian for the position, coming behind Norway's Edvard Hambro in 1970 and in 2005, Sweden's Jan Eliasson, now Deputy Secretary General to Ban Ki-moon.
Lykketoft, 69, is scheduled to open the benchmark anniversary session Sept 15. On Sept 22 he will preside over the annual General Debate where global leaders will address the world body.
In his opening remarks to the General Assembly Monday, Lykketoft recalled how 55 years ago he visited the UN Association in Copenhagen, Denmark, to collect information about the United Nations and its role in peace making and keeping, disarmament, international cooperation, development and civil rights.
"Today, this hope and these objectives remain as relevant as ever," he said. "We will celebrate the UN's 70th anniversary throughout the session. I aim to organize our work in a way that allows us to reflect on the successes -- but also the shortcomings - in these first 70 years, while also looking to the future."
"The theme of my term as President will therefore be 'The United Nations at 70 -- A New Commitment to Action'," said Lykketoft, who also has held Denmark's foreign and financial ministerial portfolios. He also headed up the Social Democrats party.