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Source: Secretary-General
30 June 2016

30 June 2016

Activities of Secretary-General in Israel, 27-29 June

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Tel Aviv from Kuwait City on Monday morning, 27 June.

He spoke at a ceremony at Tel Aviv University, in which he was also awarded the George S. Wise medal.  In his remarks to students, he said that global technologies are linking people as never before in webs of commerce, culture and connections.  Our challenge, he added, is how to harness that innovation to meet the challenges facing humanity — from climate change to promoting food security to preventing cyber-crime.  And reflecting on the recent ceremony that he attended in Havana between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Popular Army), the Secretary-General said that seeing those bitter enemies lay down their arms offered a glimmer of hope in today’s world.  (See Press Release SG/SM/17884.)

The Secretary-General also heard presentations by Israeli start-up companies on innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals and by Heads of Tel Aviv University Research Centers on food security, nanotechnologies, cybernetics and environment.

The Secretary-General then travelled to Jerusalem, where he had a working lunch with President Reuven Rivlinof Israel.  Speaking to the press with the President before the lunch, the Secretary-General said that he welcomed the announcement of the normalization of relations between Israel and Turkey, calling it an important and hopeful signal for the stability of the region.

He added that the Middle East Quartet was soon to publish its report.  Once issued, he said that Israeli and Palestinian leaders would need to engage on its recommendations for the resumption of meaningful negotiations.

Mr. Ban also met that day with Isaac Herzog, leader of the Opposition, and he visited the Israel Museum to view the Dead Sea Scrolls.

On Tuesday, after a visit to Gaza in the morning (see Press Release SG/T/3114), the Secretary-General was hosted to lunch by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The Secretary-General told reporters that no solution can come through violence but must be based on mutual respect and the recognition of the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General received a briefing from General Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli general in charge of Israeli coordination activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.  The Secretary-General stressed the need to ease restrictions on the movement of Palestinian people and goods, as well as to review the dual-use list.

Following a visit to Ramallah, the Secretary-General flew from Ben Gurion airport to New York, where he arrived on Wednesday morning, 29 June.

For information media. Not an official record.

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