|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for October
Women, peace and security, the rule of law, and the Middle East would be discussed in open debates this month at the Security Council, the Permanent Representative of Guatemala said this afternoon as he introduced the agenda for his October presidency of that body.
“There will be three open debates, in part because of the desire of the Council to be a little more open and a little more transparent for non-members,” Gert Rosenthal said at the regular monthly Council press conference on its programme of work, noting that this would be first time in its history that his country had held the presidency.
Mr. Rosenthal said that the debate on the item “Promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security”, scheduled for 17 October, would focus on the Council’s linkages with the International Criminal Court.
No outcome was sought from the debate, he said. Rather, the purpose was to make member States aware of the Court’s role in preventive diplomacy through its contributions to the fight against impunity. On the basis of a concept paper prepared by his delegation, the focus would be on “how two bodies could support each other in their work to make this a better and safer world”.
On 29 October, under the agenda item “Women, Peace and Security”, implementation of the Council’s resolution 1325 (2000) would be discussed, he said, noting that the related report of the Secretary-General placed emphasis on the role of civil society in the empowerment and protection of women in situations of armed conflict. Guatemala’s Head of State was expected to preside and a presidential statement was expected. The tri-monthly open debate on the Middle East would take place on the 15th.
At least eight consultations were planned for the month, he said, including two on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan where, he commented, there had been some important progress in the past two weeks, and the Council hoped to receive briefings from mediation principals.
There were also consultations scheduled tomorrow on the proposal of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to field a mission in Mali, he said. Little was known of the details of that proposal, such as the scale or budgetary implications of the proposed force, or of the basic positions of Council members on it, so this first meeting would be a preliminary discussion, he added, responding to correspondent’s questions. For that reason, another meeting was probable in the course of the month. Clearly, a resolution was needed under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter to authorize it.
Consultations, he said, were also scheduled on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), in the disputed border region between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as on the 1559 Committee concerning Lebanon, the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions committee and on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
Resolutions, he said, would be considered to renew the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), as well as to renew the authorizations for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan (ISAF). A members-only debate on MINUSTAH would be presided over by Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, he stated, commenting that Latin American countries had contributed much to the mission.
The Council planned to adopt its annual report 3 October, he said. On 18 October, the General Assembly had scheduled an election for the five non-permanent members of the Security Council who will replace Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa, whose terms end on 31 December. Finally, he said there would be a briefing on the Special Court for Sierra Leone regarding the completion of its activities and the hand-off of remaining tasks to the so-called residual mechanism of the international tribunals.
In response to further questions, he said that non-proliferation was not on the schedule, but it would be discussed if new developments occurred, as would the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Syria, on which he said it was “hard to imagine that the month would transpire without a briefing”.
On Guinea-Bissau, he said that Council action had not been possible because there were differing points of view among ECOWAS States such as Togo, which was a Council member, and the Community of Portuguese-speaking States, which included Portugal, which was also on the Council. The inability to determine who legitimately represented that State at the general debate of the Assembly showed the problem.
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well, he said, the Council was waiting for agreement among Great Lakes regional countries on the next step to face the challenges of security in the eastern part of the country. “But the situation is not good,” he said, adding that the topic may very well come up during the month.
Finally, asked if he thought whether the western powers that supported the coup in his country would ever be brought before the International Criminal Court, in the context of the fight against impunity for preventing future conflict, he said that the Council was concerned with preventing future mass atrocities, no matter who was culpable for them. “Impunity doesn’t have a nationality,” he said.
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