Press Releases Press statement by President von der Leyen with UN Secretary-General Guterres

Press statement by President von der Leyen with UN Secretary-General Guterres

Dear António,

I am very glad to see you here in Brussels. At a time when we face several crises that are intricate, interlinked, and international by nature whether it is Ukraine or Gaza, Sudan or Haiti. This makes the cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations more important than ever before. We work together to help restore peace and stability in regions in turmoil.

Today, we will of course discuss Gaza. Allow me, first of all, to express my deepest condolences for the recent loss of UN staff on the ground. We are extremely concerned about the war in Gaza and the unfolding catastrophic humanitarian situation. Gaza is facing famine. This is unacceptable. It is critical to achieve an agreement on a ceasefire rapidly now that frees the hostages and allows more humanitarian aid to reach Gaza. So let us hope for a positive outcome of the discussions led by the United States, Qatar and Egypt. I discussed this with Emir Bin Hamad Al Thani recently, and President El-Sisi in Cairo on Sunday. We are also very concerned about the risks a full-scale offensive in Rafah would have on the vulnerable civilian population. This needs to be avoided at all costs.

In the meantime, we do everything we can to channel more aid to Gaza. We allocated an additional EUR 125 million for humanitarian aid for Palestinians in 2024. Out of this total, EUR 81 million has already been contracted to key UN partners such as the World Food Programme, WHO and UNICEF. Now, the flow of aid by land is too slow. So we call for the opening of more land crossings, while we further develop alternatives, for example, airdrops and of course through the maritime corridor we opened from Cyprus. I am very glad that the Open Arms’ operation was completed successfully, but now of course we need to see many more such ships and deliveries via the maritime corridor to Gaza.

But of course, we must also continue to focus on the actual delivery of aid to Palestinians on the ground. We have seen the images of food distribution, among stampede and chaos. So we must work on safe delivery of aid with agencies that are present on the ground, and this includes of course, first and foremost, UNRWA. I appreciate, António, your determination and transparency in addressing the allegations against UNRWA staff. We have a constructive dialogue with UNRWA. It allowed us to disburse a first payment of EUR 50 million as part of the EUR 82 million to be implemented through UNRWA in 2024, in the interest, first and foremost, of the people of Gaza.

While we address the emergency of the crisis, we must also prepare for the day after. Europe will support recovery and reconstruction, as soon as conditions allow. And we need to build a clear political path towards a two-state solution.

Dear António,

We will also of course discuss Ukraine. The European Union is steadfast in its support to Ukraine in its brave fight for freedom. Our EUR 50 billion Facility for Ukraine is now up and running. We have just disbursed the first EUR 4.5 billion today. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you, António, for your efforts. I remember very well how you promoted the Black Sea Grain Deal last year. It helped Ukraine continue to export grain to the world at the beginning of the conflict – that was crucial. Today it is good to see how much grain is being exported again via the Black Sea, also thanks to the Ukrainian armed forces.

To conclude, dear António, Europe will continue to play an active role in the UN initiatives for peace and stability. We are your number one financial supporter, and proudly so. And we are also looking forward to making your Summit for the Future in September a real success.

Related media

Contacts for media


  • Chief Spokesperson
+32 2 299 40 73


  • Deputy Chief Spokesperson
+32 2 298 70 24
If you do not work for a media organisation, you are welcome to contact the EU through Europe Direct in writing or by calling 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *