UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua/GNA) – The
United Nations on Thursday congratulated Sahle-Work Zewde, a UN
undersecretary-general, on her election as the first female president of
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received
a phone call on Wednesday from Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who
informed him of the news, said Farhan Haq, Guerres’ deputy spokesman.
“The secretary-general congratulated the
government and people of Ethiopia on that choice,” Haq told reporters on
“We know her and her work very
well,” he said, referring to the fact that Sahle-Work currently serves as
Guterres’ special representative to the African Union and head of the UN Office
to the African Union.
The president of the UN General Assembly,
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, also congratulated Sahle-Work.
Espinosa wished success to Sahle-Work, who
sets an example for women in Africa and beyond, said Monica Grayley, Espinosa’s
spokeswoman, on Thursday.
“Women do make a difference in
politics,” said Espinosa, who took pride of the fact that a former UN
official has become Ethiopia’s first female president.
Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations
Sacha Llorenti, who was presiding over a Security Council meeting as president
of the council for the month of October, broke protocol to congratulate
At the beginning of a high-level debate on
women, peace and security, Llorenti said: “Allow me, please, to break
“We all woke up this morning with very
good news: today the first woman president was elected in Ethiopia — Madame
Sahle-Work Zewde. I think it’s a very good (thing) to start this important
debate,” said Llorenti to applause in the chamber.
Sahle-Work has been approved by Ethiopia’s
parliament as president after the resignation of President Mulatu Teshome. The
appointment of a female president has significant symbolic meaning although the
position of president is ceremonial in Ethiopia.
Sahle-Work is an experienced diplomat. She was
head of the UN Office at Nairobi before her current job at the United Nations.
Before that she was the special representative
and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African
Republic and Ethiopia’s ambassador to the African Union and the UN Economic
Commission for Africa, as well as director-general for African affairs in the
Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia.
Educated in France, she also served as the
Ethiopian ambassador to France and to the Paris-based United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Sahle-Work had also served
as ambassador to Djibouti and Senegal.