2 September 2011
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for September


While remaining seized of ongoing situations of concern in Libya, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan and elsewhere, the Security Council planned to focus on preventive diplomacy when world leaders arrived for the opening of the upcoming General Assembly session, Nawaf Salam ( Lebanon), Council President for September, said at Headquarters today.


President Michel Suleiman of Lebanon would preside over a meeting on conflict prevention, scheduled for 22 September, Mr. Salam said during the monthly press conference on the Council’s programme of work.  Positive replies to invitations had been received by high-level officials of other countries, although the United States had not yet signalled its representation, he said, adding that a presidential statement on the subject was expected.


Responding to questions on Libya, Mr. Salam said the monthly briefing was scheduled for 26 September, which would be an opportunity to review previous Council actions.  However, a meeting could be called as early as next week in light of yesterday’s Paris meetings of the Group of Friends and as the civil conflict wound down.  So far, there were no formal proposals for a United Nations presence in Libya and no drafts for any action before the Council, he said, adding that the relevant Sanctions Committee was handling the unfreezing of frozen funds on a case-by-case basis.


Turning to Syria, he said there were two draft resolutions before the 15-member body and informal consultations involving their respective sponsors, as well as other delegations and experts, were ongoing.  There was a large gap between the two texts and it was difficult to say whether either would be put to a vote, he added, pledging that the Presidency would ensure that the rules of procedure were followed to the letter, if and when the drafts progressed further.


Asked about his country’s position, he said the Arab League had decided to ask the Secretary-General to visit Syria, after which there would be further consideration of the situation.


Consultations on Sudan and South Sudan were planned for 8 September, he said, adding that the Council would consider Sudan sanctions on 29 September.  Presumably, the reported violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile State would be discussed alongside the Secretary-General’s second report on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).


Mr. Salam said that a debate on Somalia planned for 14 September would be followed by action on 16 September to authorize a mandate extension for the African Union Mission there, known as AMISOM.  Other debates were scheduled for 16 September, on Haiti, and for 29 September on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).


He said an open briefing on the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) was expected on 12 September, to be followed on 14 September by action to renew its mandate.  The Council would also hold briefings on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), on 13 September, with a related draft resolution up for adoption on 15 September; on Iran, by the Chair of the 1737 Sanctions Committee; on the Middle East, on 27 September; and on the Secretary-General’s assessment report on the status of negotiations in Cyprus and related developments.


Additional adoptions were expected on the appointment of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and possibly on renewing the redeployment of three armed helicopters with crews from UNMIL to the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), which was scheduled to expire on 30 September.


To a question about the possibility of a Palestinian request for United Nations membership being presented to the Council in September, Mr. Salam said that was not on the work programme adopted this morning.  No request had so far been submitted to the Secretary-General, who would refer it to the Council, he added.


Asked his country’s position on Palestinian membership, he said it was well known that Lebanon supported fully Palestine’s quest for recognition as an Observer State in the General Assembly, if it so chose, and for full membership if it submitted a request to the Secretary-General.  Like the majority of Member States, Lebanon already recognized the State of Palestine declared in 1988.


He went on to say that Palestine met all the criteria for a State, although it was occupied.  It had called for the international community to join together to end the occupation and help Palestine gain independence.  The fact that its borders had not yet been agreed upon did not rule out recognition, since many recognized States were embroiled in border disputes, he said.


Mr. Salam declined to comment on the flotilla investigation report, saying he had not read it.  As Council President, he would consult with other members and decide what course the body should pursue, if any, after the report was released.


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For information media • not an official record