3 December 2019

Activities of Secretary-General in Germany, 25-27 November

United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres departed New York on Sunday evening, 24 November, and arrived in Berlin, Germany, on Monday afternoon, 25 November.

On Monday evening, he held an informal dinner with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akıncı to take stock of efforts toward reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.  In a statement issued after the talks, the Secretary‑General said he had agreed to extend his efforts to achieve terms of reference to serve as a consensus starting point for phased, meaningful, and results‑oriented negotiations at the earliest feasible opportunity.  In that regard, he committed to explore with the Turkish Cypriot leader and the Greek Cypriot leader and with the Guarantor powers the possibility to convene an informal five‑plus‑United Nations meeting at an appropriate stage.  (See Press Release SG/SM/19880.)

On Tuesday morning, 26 November, the Secretary‑General had a breakfast meeting with the President of Germany, Frank‑Walter Steinmeier.

He then went to visit the ReDi School for Digital Integration, a school founded in 2015 to provide technology training to refugees and asylum‑seekers.  The Secretary‑General met with the school’s co‑founder, Anne Kjaert Riechert, and students.

Immediately after this visit, the Secretary‑General stopped at the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse for an informal visit.  He toured the memorial and took a moment to record a short video for social media in which he remembered that as we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, we must think about all the walls, physical and virtual, that are being built to separate people.

The Secretary‑General then met with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister of Defense.

Following this meeting, the Secretary‑General joined Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, at the Internet Governance Forum’s opening ceremony.  The Forum, a gathering of thousands of members of Governments, civil society and technology specialists, was held this year under the theme “One Vision. One Net. One Vision”.  (See Press Release SG/SM/19882.)

The Secretary‑General called on Member States, companies, technology experts and civil society to join forces and explore the possibility of a global commitment on digital trust and security.  He also announced that he would soon appoint a technology envoy to help advance international frameworks and nurture a shared digital future that puts people first and helps bridge the social divide.

Immediately after this event, the Secretary‑General had a bilateral meeting and joint press encounter with Chancellor Merkel.  In his remarks to the press, the Secretary‑General said that digital technology is shaping history and reiterated that we have a collective responsibility to maximize its benefits, while managing risks and avoiding unintended consequences.

His last meeting of the day was with Heiko Maas, Germany’s Foreign Minister.

The Secretary‑General left Berlin on Wednesday morning.

For information media. Not an official record.