Antonio Guterres was sworn as the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, saying the world body must change to better confront global crises such as the war in Syria. During a solemn ceremony at the General Assembly, the former Prime Minister of Portugal placed a hand on the un charter and took the oath of office administered by the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson. The first former head of government at the UN Helm, Guterres takes over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1 amid ongoing bloodshed in Syria and questions over how the us role in the world should shift under president-elect Donald Trump. The 67-year-old socialist politician said the United Nations must “recognize its shortcomings and reform the way it works,” singling out the failure to prevent crisis as a serious weakness. The UN’s refugee chief for a decade, Guterres was sworn in as Syrian forces were on the verge of retaking the entire city of Aleppo — a potential turning point in the nearly six-year war.

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