Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the wreath laying for the victims on the Ethiopian air crash, in New York today:
We come together in sadness and solidarity to pay tribute to our fellow United Nations family members who perished on Sunday. In doing so, we also remember all the victims of the air crash that claimed so many lives — including civil society partners and humanitarian workers.
We send our deepest condolences and heartfelt wishes to their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time. With our condolences also to the people and the Government of Ethiopia.
But the very nature of a tragedy such as this is something that we should be able to think about, our colleagues were in many ways a random group. They were from many agencies, with many areas of expertise, from the highest level in the hierarchy to all kinds of functions within the United Nations and coming from all over the world.
Yet, together, they also were a mirror of the United Nations: they really represent what the United Nations is, and the best of the United Nations. Women and men; some in the beginning of their careers, others closing in on retirement but each on an individual mission, but at the same time together, representing our larger quest — doing their part, in solidarity with all of us, to build a better world, brick by brick, deed by deed, day in and day out.
As we continue that mission, let us reflect on their lives, let us honour their service and let us be inspired by their extraordinary example.
I ask all of you please to join me in a minute of silence paying tribute to the colleagues that we shall never forget.