Remarks by President Biden and UN Secretary-General Guterres Before Bilateral Meeting

The White House

Intercontinental New York Barclay

New York, New York

6:42 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for taking the time to meet with me as we launch this year’s high-level week at the United Nations. It’s a pleasure to meet with your key staff. And I want to thank you for your continued leadership of the United Nations through the pandemic, as well as navigating a whole raft of global crises and challenges.

The strong partnership between the United States and the U.N. is based on common values and principles. And at this moment, those bonds are more important than ever.

America is back. We believe in the United Nations and its value. Because of the challenges we face today in ending COVID-19 and dealing with the gravest threat to humanity we’ve ever seen, which is the whole climate crisis we’re go- — we’re undergoing that can only be met with global solutions, no one country can — no ten countries can do it.

And the Secretary-General and I share a strong commitment to the principles of human freedom and human dignity on which the U.N. was founded.

I went back and reread the charter. I remember — we sometimes forget what the founding principles were — not you, but we — the world. Every U.N. member state likewise has an obligation to uphold those fundamental commitments and — that we’ve all made. The enormity of the task is already ahead for each one of us, and it’s real. But the vision of the United Nations has never been short in ambition — any more than our Constitution. But the ambition matters.

Today, governments continue to work to — must continue to work together in a system built on international law to deliver equitable prosperity, peace, and security for everyone. And this is as valuable and necessary today as it was 76 years ago.

So, I’m looking forward to speaking to the Assembly tomorrow — what a great honor that will be — and having our meeting today.

Thank you very much for this opportunity.

SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. And I have to say that I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet you, as you have clearly affirmed the strong commitment of the United States to the U.N. and to multilateralism — a multilateralism that we also want to see reformed, more effective, and more in line with the need to solve the dramatic problems of this world.

On the other hand, I’d like to say that the cooperation between the United States and the U.N. is a fundamental pillar for the work of the U.N. The United States, with its strong commitment to human rights; its strong commitment to peace and security in the world; its strong commitment to development, cooperation; and now, with your leadership, a very strong commitment on climate change, the United States represents a fundamental pillar of our activity.

And I’d like to reassure you, Mr. President, that we want to deepen that cooperation. We are extremely happy with the coordination we have with the Mission, with whom we work very, very well. And you can be absolutely sure that we share the same values, the same concerns, and the same commitment to the people of this world, especially to the most vulnerable and to those that have been more than dramatically impacted both by the COVID, the climate, and other challenges that we face together.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: I think we have a great opportunity to do a lot of good. Thank you.

6:46 P.M. EDT

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