27 February 2017

Activities of Secretary-General in Saudi Arabia, 11-12 February

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Saudi Arabia from Turkey late on Saturday evening, 11 February.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General visited the Coalition Air Force’s Joint Operations Centre.  There he was briefed on the coalition’s air operations in Yemen.  Later that morning, the Secretary-General visited the King Salman Humanitarian Relief Centre.

Speaking to the press, the Secretary-General said he was encouraged today to see the centre develop its activities, with a strong commitment to humanitarian principles, not only in Syria and Yemen, but in so many countries around the world.

Later in the day, the Secretary-General met separately with senior most Saudi leaders:  King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

The Secretary-General was hosted for a working lunch by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir.  Following lunch, the Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister held a joint press conference.

Asked about the state of the Yemen negotiations, the Secretary-General said there is one simple reason for not giving up on the Yemen talks:  the suffering of the Yemeni people.  “Whatever we can do to make resurrection of the need for people to be able to negotiate, to be able to come to a solution for the Yemeni people, is something that we will always be available to contribute to,” Mr. Guterres said, adding that he had full confidence in the work of his Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

Before leaving for Dubai on Sunday, 12 February, the Secretary-General was given a tour of the Saudi Centre for Studies and Media Affairs.

For information media. Not an official record.