21 June 2018

Opening remarks at joint press conference with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia

António Guterres

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, thank you very much for your presence. I want, first of all, to express my deep gratitude for the excellent hospitality that once again the Russian Federation, President Putin, Minister Lavrov, have granted to me during this stay.
I am a strong believer that we face a number of very dramatic challenges in today’s world: the multiplication of conflicts, the fact that conflicts are more and more related to terrorism, the fact that climate change is running faster than we are and movements of people around the world, without effective international cooperation to handle them. And this reaffirms my deep conviction that facing dramatic global challenges, we need a global capacity to address them that reaffirms the importance of multilateralism and the importance of a rules-based set of international relations based on the rule of law and in accordance with the UN Charter.
And Russia as a founder of the UN, the Russian Federation as a permanent member of the Security Council, has an absolutely key role to play in the construction of this multi-polar world that we hope will be served by stronger multilateral institutions able to care for the global public goods, to the benefit of all humankind.
We had very constructive discussions about all the situations that are of course worrying us - from the global Middle East, in particular Syria, to several African locations, to North Korea, to Ukraine, to different other crises around the world.
I believe we had very constructive and positive discussions and I’d like to underline the common efforts in which we are engaged in relation to Syria.
As you know the UN participated in the Sochi meeting and we have been working together to make sure that the conclusions of Sochi are fully met.  I hope that the constitutional committee that was decided will be soon formed. And our objective is to work closely together with the Russian Federation in order to achieve the right endgame, which is a Syria that has its territorial integrity preserved, that avoids fragmentation. A Syria in which a secular regime prevails where all religious confessions and all groups can feel comfortable. A Syria that is able to run itself, to run its destiny with democratic institutions in which all can participate.
And we will be totally committed to cooperate with the Russian Federation in the different steps to reach this end goal.
In all other areas we will be working very closely with the Russian Federation, and I want to say that it is our deep commitment indeed to reform the Secretariat of the UN to make sure that we are much more effective, much more cost-effective, and much more able to answer the aspirations and to meet the needs of the peoples.
Our role is very simple: It is to serve. To serve Member States and to serve the peoples of this world. We know that sometimes people tend to be reticent about the role of the international organizations. There is a lack of trust in many aspects.
Globalization that of course brought many benefits also created situations in which people are left behind. There are different foci of mistrust and it’s very important to show the added value of the UN, the capacity of the UN to deliver in relation to the interests of the peoples of this world, the Member States that are represented in the UN, and for that, we are totally committed to a process of reform of the Secretariat that we hope will serve this objective and of course the support of the Russian Federation is extremely important for that. Spasibo bolshoe.