16 April 2019

Activities of Secretary-General in Egypt, 1-3 April

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Cairo from Tunis early on Monday evening, 1 April.

On Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General met with Grand Imam Ahmed el Tayeb at the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo.  After their meeting, the Secretary-General took the opportunity to reiterate his respect for Islam and his solidarity with the Muslim community around the world, particularly in light of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.  The Secretary-General stressed that, “in this time of difficulties and divisions, we must stand together and protect each other”.  He also commended the Grand Imam’s call for Muslims in the Middle East to protect Christian communities, as well as the initiatives taken by Al-Azhar to promote the true face of Islam and counter violent extremism.  (See Press Release SG/SM/19528.)

The Secretary-General also toured the premises of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is expected to open in 2020.  During his visit, he interacted with the archaeologists doing restorations there, as well as the staff carrying out the construction of the museum.

Later, the Secretary-General met with the United Nations country team at the Mena House Hotel, and had lunch there following his meeting.

Following internal consultations in the afternoon, he attended an official dinner hosted by Sameh Shokry Selim, Egypt’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The next day, the Secretary-General met with President Abdel Fattah al Sisi.

Following his meeting, he held a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shokry.  The Secretary-General said his talks with the President covered the three pillars of the United Nations:  peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights.

The Secretary-General left Cairo early on Wednesday afternoon for Tripoli, Libya.

For information media. Not an official record.