20 April 2017

Activities of Secretary-General in Belgium, 4-5 April

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Brussels from New York on Tuesday morning, 4 April, where he would participate the following day at the Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, which the United Nations co-hosted with the European Union.

The Secretary-General spoke on Wednesday morning at the Conference, and told the participants that, today, as the conflict lines shift, there may have been a perception that the situation has eased.  “This is completely false,” he said.  “Recent months have been some of the worst yet.  Hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured as fighting goes on,” he continued.  The Secretary-General said that the Brussels Conference must represent a moment of truth, when the international community takes decisive steps to increase its support for the victims of the Syria conflict, and for the neighbouring countries that are providing a safe haven for millions of refugees.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18485.)

Before speaking at the Conference, the Secretary-General told reporters that the horrific events of the previous day — the chemical attack in Idlib — demonstrate that, unfortunately, war crimes are going on in Syria, and that international humanitarian law continues to be violated frequently.  He noted that the Security Council was meeting that day and added, regarding accountability, that he was confident the Security Council would live up to its responsibilities.

The Secretary-General also met on Wednesday with Alexander De Croo, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, and with Mustafa Akıncı, the Turkish Cypriot leader.

The Secretary-General returned to New York on Wednesday evening.

For information media. Not an official record.