Election of the President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

Remarks by the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, on the occasion of election of the President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

31 May 2017

PGA 72 electionI would like to extend my most sincere congratulations to His Excellency Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, on his election by acclamation as the President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly.

As a three-term Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, having served the United Nations and the European Union in a number of senior conflict prevention, resolution, and mediation roles, and having worked previously as a career diplomat, Minister Lajčák brings a dedicated work ethic, an unwavering commitment to multilaterialism, and a wealth of experience to the role.

Without doubt, these are skills that will serve him, and the United Nations, well over the coming session.

Minister Lajčák will assume the Presidency of the General Assembly on 12 September at a critical time for the United Nations and the international community.

With the world facing global challenges on a massive scale, including cycles of conflict and relapse; the largest refugee and humanitarian crisis since World War II; the spread of terrorism and the destructive impacts of climate change, the General Assembly has a critical role to play in  setting the stage for achieving sustainable peace and sustainable development.

In recent times, I have had the honour of meeting Minister Lajčák on several occasions, and have been struck by his commitment to forging a United Nations fit for the 21st Century, an organisation that serves the people, one that is based on ethics and transparency, and one that promotes human rights and the rule of law.

I am confident that under Minister Lajčák’s leadership, the United Nations will be strongly positioned to advance our global efforts to sustain peace; promote human rights; and stay the course on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

In the months ahead, I will continue the close collaboration already begun with Minister Lajčák and his team, to ensure continuity in the work of the General Assembly and its subsidiary committees. I am confident we will achieve a smooth transition between our presidencies, and that his team will hit the ground running.


The General Assembly has today elected a dedicated and able President for its 72nd Session.

I congratulate Minister Lajčák on his election, and wish him the very best for the session ahead.

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