New York

19 September 2013

Secretary-General's remarks on the opening of the Qatar East Lounge

Thank you very much for joining us for this historic opening.

What a beautiful new lounge! We owe a great debt of gratitude to Qatar for supporting this wonderful addition to our Headquarters.

For years, these spectacular windows were hidden behind curtains in the conference rooms. Thanks to the Capital Master Plan, we can enjoy now this splendid view of the East river.

This lounge can be a place for rest and reflection for delegation members. But I expect it will also host important diplomatic talks. The East Lounge is behind the conference rooms – so it is perfect for behind-the-scenes negotiations. These walls may well witness many diplomatic breakthroughs.

I am especially grateful that this lounge reflects Qatari culture. For many years, Qatar has been host to important meetings on issues at the top of the international agenda. So it is fitting that now we have a small piece of Qatar located at our Headquarters.

This generous contribution is just a fraction of what Qatar provides to the work of the United Nations for development and peace. I especially value Qatar’s advocacy on important issues, including autism awareness, a cause my wife champions as well.

Many of the original sketches of the United Nations envisaged open space facing the river here on the first floor. By creating this East Lounge, we have realized that early vision of open space. Let us hope that in this same spirit, we can realize the aims of our Charter’s founding ideals for peace, human rights and a better future for all of the world’s people.

Thank you. Shukran jazeelan.