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Ban Ki-Moon bids a final farewell as UN Secretary General

The UN head’s ten-year term as Secretary General comes to an end at midnight tonight.

UN Ban Ki-moon Ban Ki-moon poses for a selfie with one of his staff members on his last day at UN headquarters Source: Mary Altaffer

UN SECRETARY BAN Ki-moon has paid an emotional farewell to the United Nations, wistfully describing his two-term stint at the helm of the global body as something of a fairy tale.

“I feel a bit like Cinderella. Tomorrow at midnight, everything changes!” he joked to staff and colleagues as he wrapped up a decade leading the United Nations.

Beginning tomorrow, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres (67) takes over the role of Secretary General.

Guterres is the first former head of government to lead the UN, succeeding Ban for a five-year term.

Ban, in a more serious vein, said it has been a “privilege” to have been at the head of an organisation that endeavored to tamp down global conflict and end suffering — and said it was an honour to have shared that mission with his co-workers.

Source: euronews (in English)/YouTube

“You should be very proud – just as I am so very proud to call you my colleagues,” the South Korean diplomat said.

He added that in his decade at the UN, he has endeavored “to never give up. To keep dreaming, to keep believing, and to keep working hard until we achieve progress,” he said.

Ban added that as UN chief, he also has been guided by a desire “to keep the focus on people – on people’s rights and people’s dignity… and to stand up for those who are left behind.”

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As a first act after leaving the pinnacle of global diplomacy, Ban will ring in the new year at Times Square by formally launching the traditional New Year’s Eve ball drop this evening, to be attended by hundreds of thousands of revellers.

“On the eve of the New Year, I will be in Times Square for the ball drop – millions of people will be watching as I lose my job!” the outgoing UN leader joked.

© – AFP, 2016

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