71 UNGA: The Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, Ambassador Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez, participates at the Informal Session with Designate Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. António Guterres.

Mr. Peter Thompson, President of the General Assembly,

Mr. Antonio Guterres, Designate Secretary-General,

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, it is my pleasure to extend to Mr. Antonio Guterres our warmest congratulations on his election as Secretary-General of the United Nations. His election by acclamation reaffirms the unanimous support of the international community of his candidacy.

Mr. President,

In adopting the 2030 Agenda last year, the Member States have ratified our willingness to put an end to world poverty and hunger, to combat inequalities within and among countries, to build peaceful, fair and inclusive societies, to protect human rights and to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, as well as to ensure a lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources.

In order to address this commitment undertaken, tremendous challenges must be faced in a world where multilateralism is put to the test every day, with prevalence of wars, soft coups and attempts at regime change promoted by some hegemonic nations, with interference in internal affairs of States, violations to sovereignty on the pretext of the fight against terrorism, arbitrariness and double standards, a profoundly unfair and unsustainable world economic order and a growing deterioration of the environment.

Challenges are huge. To meet these challenges, the United Nations must be defended from unilateralism and, at the same time, it will have to be deeply reformed to democratize it and bring it closer to the problems, needs and aspirations of peoples. We must be able to heading the international system towards peace, sustainable development and respect for the human rights of all.

The strengthening of the General Assembly and the recovery of the duties usurped by the Security Council, must guide the quest for a more democratic and effective organization.

It is therefore imperative that the elected Secretary-General acts in the interests of all members of the Organization, taking into account the principle of sovereign equality of nations. We are convinced that H.E. Mr. Guterres has the will to conduct his actions in line with this premise. It is likewise necessary to maintain an adequate balance among the three pillars of the Organization: peace and security, development and human rights.

On their part, the Member States must "respect the exclusively international character of the functions of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat staff and to refrain from seeking to influence them in the discharge of their duties", as set out in Article 100 of the Charter.

Mr. President,

Allow me to confirm to H.E. Mr. Guterres the full support of Cuba in discharging his functions.

We reiterate to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon our recognition and appreciation for his dedication to promoting and protecting multilateralism, his contribution to international peace and security and his efforts towards the realization of the right to development and respect for human dignity. The Secretary-General bequeaths a legacy that includes the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Climate Agreement.

Thank you very much.