17 May 2022

Activities of Secretary-General in Republic of Moldova, 9-10 May

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in the Republic of Moldova from New York on Monday morning, 9 May, for a two-day visit to express his solidarity and to thank the Republic of Moldova for its steadfast support for peace, and for its people’s generosity in opening their hearts and homes to almost half a million Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.

Shortly after arrival, the Secretary-General was received by Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița.

Following their meeting, the Secretary-General spoke to the media.  In his remarks, he thanked Moldova and said that the impact of the war in Ukraine across the region and the world is profound and far-reaching.  He underscored his deep concern about the continuation and possible spread of the war that the Russian Federation is waging in Ukraine, and by the impact it is having not only in the region, but around the world.  Countries like the Republic of Moldova, he underscored, are already struggling with the ramifications of the conflict.  The Secretary-General added that the United Nations was committed to supporting the people of the Republic of Moldova as they help those in need.

Later in the day, the Secretary-General met with Igor Grosu, Speaker of the Parliament, before attending an official dinner hosted by the Prime Minister.

The Secretary-General continued his visit to the Republic of Moldova on 10 May, starting his day with a meeting with the United Nations country team.  He thanked them for their efforts at quickly adapting to the shifting priorities due to the war in Ukraine and encouraged them to scale up operations in support of the Government and people of the Republic of Moldova.  The Secretary-General also noted that many members of the United Nations team were themselves hosting refugees in their private homes.

The Secretary-General then met with President Maia Sandu.  During their discussions, he expressed appreciation for the immense generosity and solidarity shown by the Government and people of the Republic of Moldova towards those fleeing the war in Ukraine.  He also noted that the Republic of Moldova, already a fragile country, is by far the country that has received the most Ukrainian refugees, as a proportion of its own population.

The Secretary-General expressed the United Nations full solidarity and commitment to scale up the Organization’s assistance to the Moldovan authorities to address the refugee crisis and the full impact of the war in Ukraine, as well as to the strengthening of the country’s national institutions.

Prior to leaving Chişinau, Mr. Guterres visited a refugee centre run with the support of United Nations agencies, and where refugees can find temporary places to stay, hot meals and register for cash assistance.  The refugee centre, which also holds a Blue Dot — a support centre for emerging needs of children and their mothers — and an Orange Safe Space, provides refugee youth, women and older persons a physically, emotionally and socially protective environment.

During the visit, the Secretary-General had an opportunity to meet a number of families who are housed or just using the services provided by the centre.

In comments to the press after the visit, Mr. Guterres reflected on the families he had just met in the centre.  “It is impossible to meet refugees and not be deeply moved by their stories,” he said, adding that this tragedy demonstrates that war is a senseless thing, and that this war must stop.”

Given the fragile state of the Republic of Moldova, the Secretary-General called on the international community to show massive support corresponding to the generosity shown by the Moldovan people and their Government.

Immediately following the visit, the Secretary-General visited the home of a Moldovan family which was hosting Ukrainian refugees, Vasilie and Claudia Turcanu.  The Secretary-General thanked them for the generosity they had shown by opening their homes to those fleeing violence.  They told him that it is their duty to support their relatives from Ukraine and that their hospitality has no limits.  They are safe now in Moldova and can stay as long as the war continues, they said.

The Secretary-General then flew to Vienna for a bilateral visit.

For information media. Not an official record.