United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres departed New York very early on Wednesday, 30 October, and arrived in Istanbul that afternoon.
Mr. Guterres met that day with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, with whom he discussed regional issues, including Cyprus and Syria, as well as climate change.
On Thursday, the Secretary‑General spoke at the start of the sixth Istanbul Mediation Conference and said that mediation is one of our most important tools to reduce and end conflict. He said that the tragedy in Syria is a clear illustration of the importance of political solutions to conflict, adding that Wednesday’s first meeting in Geneva of the Constitutional Committee was a landmark but also “in itself a clear success of mediation”. The Secretary‑General hopes that this will be the first step towards a political solution that will end this tragic chapter in the lives of Syria’s people and create the opportunity for all Syrians to return to their places of origin, in safety and dignity, to end their status as refugees. (See Press Release SG/SM/19838.)
The Secretary‑General said that mediation cannot wait for a military stalemate or a request for help. Rather, he said, “There is a need for mediation at all stages of the peace continuum, from prevention to peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development, including between parties to protracted conflicts.”
On the sidelines of the conference, the Secretary‑General met his High‑Level Advisory Board on Mediation and reviewed political situations around the globe with them.
In the afternoon, the Secretary‑General visited the UN Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries. Inaugurated in 2018, the Bank was created by the General Assembly to improve the least developed countries’ scientific research and innovation base, promote networking among research institutions and help them access and utilize critical and appropriate technologies in the effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Secretary‑General met with the Bank’s staff and Managing Director, Joshua Setipa, and toured an exhibit of companies showcasing innovations by companies that have partnered with the technology bank to deploy Sustainable Development Goals‑related technologies in a number of key sectors, including water, agriculture health and waste management. The Bank, the Secretary‑General said, is already having a very important role in supporting least developed countries to have access to new technologies and to be able not to be left behind in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
On Friday, 1 November, the Secretary‑General had a working breakfast with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with whom he discussed Syria and a number of ongoing situations in the region, including Yemen, Libya and the Middle East peace process, and several additional issues of mutual concern in other parts of the world.
The Secretary‑General then departed to Bangkok, Thailand.