Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your presence.
I usually come before you to express deep concerns about unfolding developments and trends around the world.
Today, a bit of good news.
I want to address a promising development for global peace and security.
The world is closely watching what will take place in Singapore in a few hours’ time.
I commend the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States for pursuing a diplomatic solution.
I also thank all those who contributed to creating the conditions for this key moment.
The two leaders are seeking to break out of the dangerous cycle that created so much concern last year.
Peace and verifiable denuclearization must remain the clear and shared goal.
As I wrote to both leaders last month, the road ahead will require cooperation, compromise and a common cause.
There will be inevitable ups and downs, moments of disagreement and tough negotiations.
Relevant parts of the United Nations system stand ready to support this process in any way, including verification if requested by the key parties. They are the protagonists.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has a mandate to apply safeguards on all nuclear material in peaceful use, including all material removed from military programmes.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization could also play an important role in monitoring the DPRK’s announced moratorium on nuclear explosive tests.
The Security Council has consistently underlined its desire for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation, as well as urging further work to reduce tensions.
I particularly welcome the trust-building and momentum on the inter-Korean track, as evidenced by the recent Panmunjom Declaration.
Going forward, I urge attention to the humanitarian situation in the DPRK, where we are seeking
$111 million to meet the immediate needs of six million of the most vulnerable people.
The people of the DPRK need our generosity and help.
It is also important that diplomatic processes pave the way for progress on human rights issues, from family reunions to engagement with international mechanisms.
In closing, I hope all parties will seize this opportunity to support a peaceful, prosperous, secure, and verifiably denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
Let us build on this positive momentum for the people of the Korean Peninsula and the wider world.
Thank you very much.
**Questions and Answers
Thank you very much.
Question: Secretary General, you’ve mentioned verifiable a couple of times. Have… you said no request has been made yet by the parties. But have you had any informal discussions with maybe the Americans about what role the UN could play when it comes to verifying?
Secretary-General: We are here to support. As I said, we are not the protagonists. The protagonists are the parties, but we are here to support. Whatever the UN agencies and mechanisms that are related to the UN can do will be at the disposal of the parties. But as I said, our objective is not to play a role. Our objective is the success of these negotiations, and we are here to support whatever will be required by them.
Question: Can I just ask you a quick question on Yemen?
Question: There’s been some reports that the UAE has warned the UN that NA groups to leave Yemen within three days. What can you tell us about this?
Secretary-General: There are, at the present moment, intense negotiations. Martin Griffiths is shuttling between Sana’a and also the UAE and Saudi Arabia to hope that there will be a way to avoid the military confrontation in Hodeidah. We are, at the present moment, in intense consultation. There is a lull in the fighting to allow for them, and I hope that it will be possible to avoid a battle for Hodeidah.
Spokesman: Thank you, Michelle. [Cross talk]
Question: Did you receive this three day warning from the Emiratis?
Spokesman: Did you receive a three day warning from the Emirates?
Secretary-General: What I say is that there was a lull, as I said, to allow for discussions, and I hope that that will us to avoid a battle.
Spokesman: Okay. Ben?
Question: When it comes to the credit for the summit, I mean, who… what kind of credit do you feel the Pres… President [Donald] Trump deserves? What kind of credit do you think the…
Spokesman: What kind of credit?
Question: What kind of credit do you think the Security Council deserves in bringing this all forward to the summit?
Secretary-General: I believe that this summit is an extremely important event. I believe the two leaders need to be credited for the courage with which they decided to move forward with the summit and to engage in a constructive negotiation to reach an objective that is vital for us all: the peaceful and verifiable denuclearisation of North Korea. So, I do believe that this is a very positive fact, and I congratulate the two leaders for the courage that they have shown.
Spokesman: Thank you. Italian [inaudible].
Question: Yes. Thank you. Secretary General, do you have any comment on the decision by the Italian Minister of Interior to shut the port of… to the migrants’ boat?
Secretary-General: I’ve always been extremely concerned with the fact that the space for refugee protection in Europe might be shrinking, and my strong appeal is that, recognising that countries have the right to manage their borders and have the right to define their own migration policies, countries should do it in a protection sensitive way and countries should do it in full respect for international refugee law. Thank you.