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Sweden hopes to give new UN head a good start

Updated måndag 2 januari kl 09.45
Published tisdag 27 december 2016 kl 09.00
UN-ambassador: The atmosphere is a little like going back to the Cold War
(2:20 min)
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Sweden's UN ambassador Olof Skoog.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Sweden's UN ambassador Olof Skoog. Credit: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden takes its temporary seat at the UN Security Council this week, and at the same time takes over the presidency of the council for one month. Sweden's UN ambassador hopes to help the new secretary general get off to a good start.

The presidency of the UN Security Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month. And it just so happens that Sweden is next in line straight from the first day that it began its two-year term in the council, on the first of January.

Sweden's ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, says he welcomes the challenge, and it pleased that it coincides with the beginning of the term of the new Secretary General, António Guterres.

"The Security Council needs a boost to how it does its work and that could be us providing a platform for the new secretary general to set out a re-energised Security Council," Skoog told Radio Sweden.

For the past few months, he has been an observer at the council meetings, and there is certainly room for improvement in terms of how the council works, as well as the atmosphere between the members of the Security Council.

"It is quite bad, for me it is a little bit like going back to the Cold War. It comes out of the Syria situation, but I think there is a risk that it spills over negatively and also affects other issues on the council, where normally I would argue the big countries, the veto-yielding powers may not have such diverging views," Olof Skoog said.

This will be the first time in 20 years that Sweden has held a seat in the UN Security Council.

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