21 April 2018

Secretary-General’s press encounter at beginning of Security Council in Sweden [with Q&A]

I want to express my deep gratitude to the Swedish Government for having organized this event.
I believe it is highly symbolic that the Security Council meets in Dag Hammarskjöld’s house. He said, I believe in 1956 or 1957, that more than ever, the world is one world.
And when we look at what is happening today, when we see so many divides, old divides coming back, new divides multiplying, conflicts that are causing enormous suffering all over the world, Syria the most tragic example of them all: it is the moment to remember those words of Dag Hammarskjöld.
This is just one world and we don’t have the right to destroy it, nor the right to allow for these divides to go on causing so much suffering, causing so many pain, and not allowing us to take full profit of the benefits of civilization.
Dag Hammarskjöld remains today a fundamental symbol and his example is essential for us to be able to do the right thing.
And to do the right thing is to overcome contradictions, to overcome differences and to understand that we all really must work for what is really one world.
Question on Sweden’s role in the Security Council on the issue of chemical weapons.
Secretary-General: I think Sweden has been playing a very important role trying to bridge gaps and to bring different visions that exist in the Council together. I am a great admirer of Sweden’s initiatives. But of course, we still face a very serious divide on that matter.
Question whether any new ideas will emerge from the retreat to resolve the situation in Syria.
Secretary-General: I think we need in Syria essentially two things.
First, to understand that there is no military solution but that the situation is political. The way for a political solution is known: it is the resolution of the Security Council number 2254, with a communiqué in Geneva, and it is through the intra-Syrian talks between Government and opposition to be able to overcome differences that exist.
And the second thing is that we really need to find a way - in relation to violations to international law that the use of chemical weapons represent – we need to find a way… we need accountability. We cannot go on living with impunity in relation to what has been happening with weapons that should have disappeared from the face of the world.
Question on whether there is hope for the retreat.
Secretary-General: I think there is hope. I believe that if things go well – and I hope things will go well – they [Members of the Security Council] will prove that the Security Council can be effective when it is united. The problem is that in many aspects, we have not yet been able to have a united Security Council.
But when the Security Council is united and it works together for important measures, they have an impact on the ground, they make things change.
And today, I believe, in North Korea, the path is open for the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. And this also proves that diplomacy is the way to solve conflicts: not war.
Question on whether the Security Council has a roadmap for a solution in Syria.
Secretary-General: We need to put lots of things on track in relation to Syria, not only a roadmap. We need to put everything on track.
But let’s be clear: there is still a long way to go to bring together the Members of the Security Council in relation to the Syrian conflict.