4 April 2018

Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 2-3 April

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Geneva in the evening on Monday, 2 April.  On Tuesday morning, he opened the high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, together with Ueli Maurer, Vice‑President of Switzerland and Minister for the Federal Department of Finance; Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for International Development Cooperation; and Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

In his speech, the Secretary-General recalled that Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people — three quarters of the population — in need of humanitarian aid and protection.  The Secretary‑General stressed that a negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue is the only solution, and he urged all parties to engage without delay with his new Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths. (See Press Release SG/SM/18968.)

At a midday press encounter, the Secretary-General announced that more than $2 billion had been pledged to support the humanitarian response in Yemen.  He stressed that humanitarian resources are very important, but they are not enough — it is essential that they reach the people in need, he added.  And for that, the United Nations and its partners need unrestricted access into Yemen and everywhere inside Yemen.  All the parties to the conflict need to respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians; above all, the Secretary-General said, all the parties need to engage in a serious political process leading to a political solution.

While in Geneva, Secretary-General Guterres held a number of bilateral meetings with, in the following order:  Abdulmalik al-Mikhlafi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yemen; Ueli Maurer, Vice-President of Switzerland and Minister for the Federal Department of Finance, and Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for International Development Cooperation, co-hosts of the pledging event; Gennady Gatilov, Permanent Representative of Russian Federation to the United Nations Office at Geneva; Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany; Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway; Christos Stylianides, European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management; Abdul Latif bin Rashid al Zayani, Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf; and Abdullah al-Rabeeah, Adviser to the Royal Court and Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre of Saudi Arabia.

The Secretary-General also gave an interview to France 24 in which he spoke about the humanitarian and political situation in Yemen, the conflict in Syria and the current situation in Gaza.

The Secretary-General left Switzerland to return to New York on Tuesday afternoon.

For information media. Not an official record.