Activities of Secretary-General in Kuwait, 29-31 January

6 February 2013

Activities of Secretary-General in Kuwait, 29-31 January

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, together with Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Kuwait City, Kuwait, early in the morning on Tuesday, 29 January.

He attended a flag raising ceremony with Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, before holding a bilateral meeting with him.

The Secretary-General then met with Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Hamad al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, and with Sheikh Sabah Khalid al Hamad al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.  He also attended a luncheon hosted by the Foreign Minister.

The Secretary-General held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff before holding a bilateral meeting with Nabil ElAraby, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

His last appointment of the day was a joint interview with Kuwait TV and the Kuwait News Agency, where he discussed the following day’s International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria.

The following morning, Wednesday, 30 January, the Secretary-General opened the Conference with the Emir of Kuwait.

“As we search for a political solution, we must do everything we can now to help our fellow human beings who are suffering and dying before our eyes,” he said, appealing to Governments to provide resources to allow life-saving aid to be delivered to people in desperate need.  “We must do more, and we must do it now,” the Secretary-General emphasized.  “We cannot fail the Syrian people.”  (See Press ReleaseSG/SM/14792)

He held bilateral meetings with King Abdullah II bin al Hussein of Jordan and the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa before attending a lunch hosted by the Emir of Kuwait.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General held bilateral meetings with Ibrahim el Assaf, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia; Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response of the European Union; Michel Sleiman, President of Lebanon; and Gunilla Carlsson, Minister of Development Cooperation of Sweden.

At the closing of the Conference, the Secretary-General said that he was pleased to report that the target for contributions had been exceeded, with more than $1.5 billion in additional money having been pledged that day from countries and regional organizations to support the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan and the Refugee Response Plan over the next six months.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14793)

“We have brought a message of hope to the millions of Syrians who have been affected by this terrible crisis,” he told the audience.  “The United Nations will ensure that we use these funds effectively to meet the urgent lifesaving needs of the Syrian people.”

The Secretary-General’s last engagement of his visit to Kuwait was a press conference with the country’s Foreign Minister.

“Together, we are sending a message to Syrians:  You are not alone,” the Secretary-General told reporters.  “The world is standing with the Syrian people in this humanitarian emergency.  We will continue to stand by them as we work to help pull Syria out of its death spiral and find a peaceful end to this calamity.”

The Secretary-General returned to New York the following day, Thursday, 31 January.

For information media. Not an official record.