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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

New York, 28 July 2015 - Secretary-General's remarks at event commemorating the reinstallation of the Kiswa [as delivered]


I am pleased to join you to mark the reinstallation of this magnificent gift to the United Nations from Saudi Arabia.

I thank Ambassador Abdallah bin Yahya Al-Mouallimi and the staff of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who coordinated this effort.

In 1983, as the Ambassador just said, Saudi Arabia presented the Kiswa to the United Nations on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. 

It was a privilege to receive this cover to the door of the Holy Kaaba, in Mecca. 

The practice of covering the Kaaba with an embellished curtain dates back more than six hundred years. 

The ritual endures today, witnessed by millions of pilgrims each year during the Hajj.

This particular tapestry is composed of nearly 50 different black cloths made of pure silk. 

It is decorated with Qur'anic verses and interwoven with silver threads covered with gold.

Now, with the completion of the Capital Master Plan, the Kiswa hangs again where it was before the renovation of the General Assembly Building. 

This foyer is a common meeting spot for delegates, who will again be able to observe the grandeur of the Kiswa.

We are honoured that this example of cultural heritage and tradition is here with us at the United Nations.

Again, thank you [to] His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, his Government, Ambassador [Abdallah bin Yahya Al-Mouallimi] and colleagues from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their generosity.


Statements on 28 July 2015