Activities of the Secretary-General in Bahrain, 15-17 May

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres flew from Muscat, Oman, to Manama, Bahrain, in the early evening of Wednesday, 15 May.

That evening, he met with Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, and Fuad Mohammad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq.

The Secretary-General spoke to the Summit of the League of Arab States in Bahrain on Thursday, 16 May.

He told the assembled leaders that he sees much potential in the Arab region.  “You have the resources.  You have the culture.  You have the people.  But there is one core condition for success in today’s world:  unity,” he said.

Mr. Guterres encouraged Arab leaders to overcome divisions and move forward together to build a more peaceful and prosperous future for the people of the Arab world and beyond.

Turning to Gaza, the Secretary-General said that the conflict is an open wound that threatens to infect the entire region.  He repeated his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza, as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages in Gaza.

He reminded the delegates that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) remains the backbone of the UN’s operations in Gaza and a lifeline for Palestine refugees across the region.

It needs full support and funding, the Secretary-General stressed.

The Secretary-General also raised the situation in Sudan and urged the international community to intensify its push for peace.  He called on all the warring parties to agree on a lasting ceasefire which would need to be followed by a political process that includes women’s and youth groups.  (See Press Release SG/SM/22230.)

Prior to going to the Summit venue, the Secretary-General met with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, with whom he discussed cooperation between their respective organizations, as well as the situation in the Middle East region, including the conflict in Gaza, as well as Sudan and Syria.

He then met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati of Lebanon.

They discussed the situation in Lebanon, including concerns in relation to the heightened tensions along the Blue Line.  They also discussed refugee-related issues, including UNRWA’s critical work.

On the sidelines of the Summit, the Secretary-General met with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.  They exchanged views on regional developments, particularly the role of Saudi Arabia in the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict leading towards a two-State solution.  The Secretary-General and the Crown Prince also discussed the situations in Sudan and Yemen.

He also discussed Gaza in separate meetings with King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein of Jordan and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.

He also met with Mohamed Younis A Menfi, President of the Presidential Council of the State of Libya.

The Secretary-General returned to New York on Friday, 17 May.

For information media. Not an official record.