|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for November
The Security Council’s work programme for November will be packed not only with discussions of difficult situations around the world, but also with business not completed at the end of last month, the Permanent Representative of India, which holds the body’s presidency for the month, told correspondents at Headquarters this afternoon.
“It’s going to be a busy month”, Hardeep Singh Puri said, noting that “just about every global hotspot will figure in the work of the Security Council”, as he held the regular start-of-the-month briefing. He added that several matters were postponed from the end of October because of Hurricane Sandy.
The Council’s work would begin with consultations on Syria on 6 November, which, he said in response to questions, would include a briefing either by Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, or by the Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman. Noting that the Syrian crisis had been occupying the Council’s attention for 18 months, he commented that the presidential statement of 3 August still held, and it was agreed that all parties should walk back from the conflict, followed by the start of inclusive political process. He would not speculate on what the Council would do after last week’s failed ceasefire.
He went on to say that the first half of the month would also include briefings on Libya on 7 and 8 November, consultations on Somalia and Eritrea, also on 7 November, and on Sudan and South Sudan on 12 November. A debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina would follow on 13 November. The Council would present its report to the General Assembly on 15 November and the Finnish Workshop — orientation for new non-permanent members — would take place 15 to 16 November.
In the second half of the month, there would be briefings on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Middle East, Yemen, Iraq, and on the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. He said that consultations on Western Sahara and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would take place and discussions on the work of various counter-terrorism and sanctions committees would be held throughout the month.
The debate on women and peace and security, originally scheduled for 29 October, was now planned for 30 November. Other thematic open debates included one on piracy planned for 19 November, at which the Council would try to issue a presidential statement, as well as a one on working methods, scheduled for 26 November.
The scheduling of a discussion of the situation in Mali, “which by any account is very worrying”, he said, was awaiting the Secretary-General’s report due on 26 November, and consideration of Sierra Leone was awaiting results of the elections planned for 17 November.
Consultations on the so-called “1559 report” on Lebanon, which had been pending in the absence of contact with the Special Representative there, were now scheduled for 9 November. Also pending was the scheduling of an interactive session with South African President Thabo Mbeki on the Sudan-South Sudan situation, which would now take place on 12 November at 9 a.m., in order to allow delegates to focus later that morning on elections to the Human Rights Council, taking place in the General Assembly.
Asked why Guinea-Bissau was not on the programme, he said that it had been but the country that requested the meeting — based on the event that he said was being called a “cocaine coup” — reconsidered the request and was willing to defer a meeting until more comprehensive information was available. Much attention was being paid to the situation, however.
In response to questions on Rwanda’s rejection of the report of the Panel of Experts of the sanctions committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said that such a response by a State was not unprecedented. At the meeting on 28 November, the Council would give full consideration to the report, as well as the objections to it. There were discussions on the subject already in the margins of the General Assembly. On whether Rwanda’s presence on the Council, as a non-permanent member starting in January 2013, would make such discussions more difficult, he said that was not necessarily the case, and the situation must be discussed on the basis of the facts at hand.
Asked to comment in his national capacity about Security Council reform, he responded: “How can I thank you for asking that question!” He commented that the body as it was currently structured “is completely out of tune with what is happening in the world”. He ascribed a good part the current polarization of the Council to what he called selective implementation of resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya, adding that the resultant deadlock on Syria and other matters strengthened the need for reform.
From his national perspective, he said, there was a need to enlarge the size of the Council, given changes in the international community, with a permanent seat provided for Africa and South America, in addition to another for Asia. What countries got those seats was a matter for Member States to decide. The veto could be retained, but a discussion was needed for some sort of agreement on restraint of its use, particularly in situations when genocide threatened and the Council was deadlocked.
On the scheduled discussion of Council working methods, he said that if it was true that the Council had an impact on all the Member States of the Organization, then more engagement of the full membership should be incorporated in its work. For that, the Council needed to be more transparent and end the practice of “selective briefings and selective leaking”.
His country, he said, would continue promoting monthly outreach sessions, and would ask for input from all countries in putting together the concept paper for the meeting on working methods. He expected little input from the permanent members whom, he commented, thought that the Council and its rules were their “exclusive domain”. Warning that such a situation could not last, he reiterated that “change will come”.
Finally, praising Finland for sponsoring the workshops for new non-permanent members, he noted that this would be the tenth year they would be held, and that former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had been invited for the occasion.
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