Activities of Secretary-General in Germany, 15-16 February

21 February 2018

Activities of Secretary-General in Germany, 15-16 February

United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres arrived in Munich, Germany, on Thursday, 15 February, to attend the Munich Security Conference.

In the evening, he held a bilateral meeting with Dr. Joanne Liu, International President of Médecins sans frontières.

The following day, he delivered a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Munich Security Conference.  He said that, over the past year, there had been two qualitative changes that made the global security situation worse.  For the first time since the end of the cold war, we face a nuclear threat.  He said that it was essential to maintain pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to create an opportunity for diplomatic engagement on the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula within a regional framework, and for the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to hold meaningful discussions.

The second change relates to the broader Middle East, which he said had turned into a Gordian knot, with different interconnected fault lines that had created a quagmire.  He warned about the absence of a common vision in the region and said that, even if interests were contradictory, the threats these conflicts represent would justify some efforts to come together.  Turning to cybersecurity, the Secretary-General called for a serious discussion on the international legal framework in which cyberwars take place.

Concluding his speech, he said that Governments and others had been unable to manage human mobility.  He warned that this had created mistrust and doubts about globalism and multilateralism.  This is a reason to unite, he said, and he stressed the need to affirm that global problems can only be addressed through global solutions.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18900.)

The Secretary-General also held bilateral meetings on the margins of the conference, including with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, representatives of The Elders, French Defence Minister Florence Parly, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Chief Negotiator of the European Union Michel Barnier, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The Secretary-General left Munich for Lisbon, Portugal, in the evening of Friday, 16 February.

For information media. Not an official record.