|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
press conference by Security Council president on programme of work for july
Pledging that the Security Council would carry out its work in as transparent a manner as possible during Uganda’s presidency, Ruhakana Rugunda, that country’s Permanent Representative, today highlighted the 15-nation body’s busy agenda for July, which would include open debates on Somalia and the Middle East, as well as a ministerial-level meeting on post-conflict peacebuilding.
At a Headquarters press conference immediately following consultations on the programme of work, the President said that on 9 July, the Council planned an open debate on the situation in Somalia, a country that had been in “turmoil and anarchy” for some 19 years and where the humanitarian situation continued to be grave and worrying. “This is a country that needs a robust international response,” he added, stressing that such engagement should include support for the Transitional National Government and to help the Somali people rebuild their own country and security services. The African Union force in Somalia, known as AMISOM, also needed support as it was operating only in some parts of the country pending further troop deployments.
Asked why both public and private meetings on Somalia were planned for this month, Ambassador Rugunda said the situation was a priority interest for the Council and the wider international community. Some 4,000 troops had been pledged to bolster the 4,000-strong AMISOM team already on the ground, and measures were under way to speed their deployment. “We’d like the troops sooner rather than later,” he added. As for the outcome of the open debate, he said he expected a presidential statement. The meeting would focus on what the Council had wanted to see all along: the strengthening of AMISOM; the restructuring of Somali security forces; and a more robust response by the international community, especially the United Nations.
Responding to several questions about “headline” situations, including that of Honduras following the removal from office of President Manuel Zelaya by the military, he said the Council had been briefed on the situation and had taken note of the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on Tuesday. Council members had also expressed support for the Organization of American States (OAS) and other regional mechanisms looking into the matter.
He said the Council was also concerned about reports of new missile launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and particularly troubled by Pyongyang’s failure to respect its resolutions on the matter, the most recent of which tightened the Council’s sanctions regime. On Georgia, he said the Council remained open to discuss that issue and the structure of a United Nations mission there, “if and when member States feel it needs to be discussed”.
In response to a question about Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s travels in Asia this week, Mr. Rugunda said he was expected to brief the Council on the trip, including his stop in Myanmar, upon his return.
Returning to the July work programme, he said the Council would kick off its work next week with the adoption of procedural resolutions, respectively, on the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia. Also on Monday, it would hear a briefing in a public session on the situation in West Africa and the work of the United Nations Office there (UNOWA). Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), would present his report on drugs in the subregion. Closed consultations on the same subjects would follow.
The Council’s thematic debate, set for 22 July, would focus on post-conflict peacebuilding and Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs would preside, he said. Also invited to participate were senior representatives of the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), because of the work that the two entities carried out in that area. The Foreign Minister of Burundi had been invited to share the “reasonably good example” of that country’s post-conflict efforts.
He said the Council was also expected to hold an open debate on the Middle East, which provided an opportunity for the 15-nation body to hear the views of the wider United Nations membership on the situation, especially since United States President Barack Obama and other world leaders had recently appointed envoys to help reinvigorate the peace process. The Council would like the level of participation to be as high as possible and would encourage participants to express their views on the spate of new efforts under way to jump-start the peace process.
Asked for specifics about the Council’s 15 July consultations on the situation in the Great Lakes region, he said Uganda and other members of the body were happy that, “at long last”, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda were cooperating on issues that were vital to both nations, especially dealing with the problem of participants in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Many of them were being demobilized and reintegrated.
Another hopeful sign was increased cooperation between the Congolese and Rwandan national armies in addressing threats posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), he said, welcoming that and other initiatives while expressing the firm belief that, with even greater cooperation, many problems in the Great Lakes region could be effectively addressed. Indeed, rebels had used the enmity between countries of the region to flourish. If Governments in all those countries began working more closely together, perhaps the fuel that the armed groups used to sow discord could be extinguished.
He added that consultations on that subject would feature a briefing by Joaquim Chissano, Special Envoy for Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas, who had done “very commendable work”. The Secretary-General had suspended Mr. Chissano’s mandate for the time being since it appeared that LRA leader Joseph Kony would remain outside the final peace agreement. Mr. Chissano, a former President of Mozambique, had fulfilled the other aspects of his mandate, and it was irrational to keep offices and personnel in place awaiting positive steps from Kony. All that remained was for Kony to come forward and sign the peace agreement, Mr. Rugunda said.
Answering other questions about the Great Lakes, he noted that, on 10 July, the Council would hear a briefing by Alan Doss, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). While there had been significant improvements in that country, many problems still needed to be addressed, he said, adding that the meeting would hear an update on the deployment of a Council-approved force of some 3,000 additional troops to MONUC.
Replying to questions about the Council’s 8 July closed-door consultations on Lebanon, and asked whether it would include discussion of the lagging implementation of Council resolution 1701 (2006), which ended Israel’s war against Hizbullah, Ambassador Rugunda urged correspondents not to be too pessimistic about the situation in the Middle East. Despite real suffering and many setbacks, the international community must remain engaged, especially with new efforts under way. “We see some incremental steps forward, and that should be supported, in spite of ongoing challenges”. Specifically on Lebanon, he said peaceful and successful elections had been held and a Government was due to be formed. “We believe that this is a critical moment for Lebanon and indeed the Middle East.”
Among other issues on the Council’s agenda, he said closed-door consultations on the Djibouti/Eritrea situation, where an impasse remained over a territorial dispute, would be held on 21 June. In spite of the Council’s edicts, there had been no movement, so it was reasonable that the Council would revisit the issue. The Council was also expected to hold consultations on the work of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS). The situation in Southern Sudan remained “reasonably stable”, but problems remained, especially over control of the town of Abyei. He added, however, that both Khartoum and the Government of South Sudan had agreed to accept the ruling of the International Court of Justice on the matter.
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