Activities of Secretary-General in Uganda, 20-23 June

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres departed New York on 20 June, flying via Brussels to Entebbe, Uganda. He then travelled to Kampala by road on Wednesday evening, 21 June.

Early on Thursday, 22 June, he met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the State House in Kampala. The Secretary-General thanked the Government and people of Uganda for welcoming so many refugees from South Sudan and other places and pledged that the United Nations system would do whatever it could to support the Government's efforts. They also discussed the situation in South Sudan.

Later that morning, Mr. Guterres flew north to Arua District, West Nile, to visit the Imvepi settlement where he met with local officials, refugees and representatives of host communities. He thanked the local authorities and the host community for showing such generosity to South Sudanese refugees and said that their generosity should serve as an example to richer countries. He encouraged the international community to show generosity in advance of the next day's pledging conference.

The Secretary-General also spoke to the press in Imvepi.

On Friday, the Secretary General and President Yoweri Museveni attended the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees in Kampala. Pledges of more than $350 million were made towards Uganda's efforts to support more than 1.2 million refugees hosted, for the most part, in local communities.

In the opening session, the Secretary General praised Uganda's Government and people for the way they had opened the country's borders and their homes to refugees. It is necessary, he said, to recognize that Uganda remains a symbol of the integrity of the refugee protection regime that unfortunately is not respected everywhere in the world. Not all doors are open, he said, not all refugees are accepted, and sometimes in countries much richer than Uganda.

The Secretary General recalled with emotion how, 12 years ago in northern Uganda, he had celebrated with South Sudanese who were about to return home full of hope. Now he was back and South Sudanese had been forced to flee their homes again. The conclusion was obvious, he said: Everything must be done to end the war in South Sudan. In answering a question at the press conference, the Secretary General said that the United Nations was committed to protecting civilians in its protection of civilians' sites for as long as it took. (See Press Release SG/SM/18587.)

In remarks to the press at the end of the pledging session, the Secretary-General congratulated the Ugandan Government for the conference. What had been pledged, he said, was a good start but could not stop.

In answering a question at that press conference, the Secretary-General said that the United Nations was committed to protecting civilians in its protection of civilian sites for as long as it took. The Secretary-General also conducted a number of media interviews.

After the conference, the Secretary-General held a town hall meeting with the United Nations country team staff. He encouraged them to be innovative and make delivering as one not just something that was talked about but something that was actually done.

Later in the evening, the Secretary-General had a number of bilateral meetings. He met separately with the President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo of Somalia; the Vice-President of South Sudan, James Wani Igga; and the Special Representative of China for African Affairs, Ambassador Xu Jinghu. He also met that day with the Rwandan Minister for Refugees, Seraphine Mukantabana.

Before leaving Uganda late on Friday, the Secretary-General visited the United Nations Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

Source: United Nations

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