4 November 2013
Press Conference

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 in November would adhere to a “tight” schedule, comprising 30 meetings and consultations on 20 items, with the Middle East and Africa featuring highest on the agenda, the Permanent Representative of China said today, as he assumed the presidency of the 15-member body.


Speaking at a Headquarters press conference, Liu Jieyi noted that the actual workload might even increase if other issues came into focus.  Its consultations on Syria would feature a briefing on the joint mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and United Nations.  In addition, the Council would take up the situations in Sudan and South Sudan, Yemen, Libya, the Middle East as a whole, Kosovo, Iraq, the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau, among others.


On 18 November, the Council would decide on the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), which was set to expire by month’s end, he said, noting the Council would also be briefed on that day by Hilde Johnson, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).  On 6 November, consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo would focus on the latest developments in that country.


Turning to subsidiary bodies, he said the Council would consider the work of the 1718 Committee governing sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, and the 751/1907 Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee.


More broadly, he said that on 7 November, he would present the Council’s annual report to the General Assembly.  On 25 November, he would speak at the commemorative meeting to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  Speaking in his national capacity, he said China was guided by objectivity, impartiality, pragmatism and transparency; it would maintain contact with all parties concerned to ensure the Council’s work was conducted smoothly.


Fielding questions from journalists, first on Iran, he said the Council had no plans to address “Iranian nuclear issues”, citing ongoing efforts between the “P5+1” (permanent five Council members — China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States — plus Germany) and Iran to solve those matters.  However, if the situation required attention, “I’m sure the Council will take up the issue as necessary”, he said.


Speaking in his national capacity, he said sanctions were not the way to solve problems.  The process of resolving Iranian nuclear issues must be accelerated, so that the next stage of resolving the problems arising from those sanctions could be reached.


Regarding the Council seat turned down by Saudi Arabia, he said he did not have an answer at this point, but discussions were under way outside New York.  He would follow the situation closely, as there were two months to go until new Council members started their work.


Taking a question on Syria in his national capacity, he said resolution 2118 (2013) outlined two goals:  the destruction of chemical weapons facilities and stockpiles in Syria; and advancing the political process through the Geneva II Conference.  On the elimination of chemical weapons, there had been “good” progress on the ground, with close collaboration between the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations.  He hoped the positive momentum would continue.  Chinese experts were taking part in the joint mission of those two bodies and his Government was contributing to the financial aspect of the chemical weapons process.


He went on to say that a political solution was the only viable way out of Syria’s problems.  China was concerned that “things are not progressing as smoothly as we would wish”, he said, calling for national, regional and international efforts to persuade the sides to sit at the table without preconditions and work out the country’s future.  China would work to move the various sides forward.  In that context, he commended efforts by the Secretary-General and his Special Representative, urging the major parties with influence also to support them.


As for whether the Council would adopt a resolution on the “dire” humanitarian situation in Syria, he said he did not have the details on today’s briefing to the Council by the Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  But the Council had been “chipping in” where it could to make a difference in that respect.  Whether it would take further action was up to its members, he said, noting that China would need to follow the situation on the ground to determine the best response.  “We do need to look at the political track, the elimination of chemical weapons track and also the humanitarian situation,” he said.


In his national capacity, he said that China had provided $11 million in humanitarian aid to Syrians inside and outside the country.  It was providing 15 million yuan in emergency humanitarian assistance to Jordan, and had given 24 million yuan to both the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be used towards the Syrian situation.


To a question on Kenya, he said the Council had received a draft resolution co-sponsored by African countries on a deferral of International Criminal Court proceedings against Kenyan leaders, citing the Council’s usual practice of holding consultations on the draft and then deciding upon a course of action.


In his national capacity, he said China was a “good friend” of African countries and supported a positive response to calls by the African Union and the Kenyan Government.  The Council should support regional organizations in the area of peace and security.  The issue had been raised in the context of counter terrorism.  Kenya played an important role in regional stability, mediating regional issues and countering terrorism.  The Council should acknowledge those efforts and ensure Kenyan leaders could discharge their constitutional duties in those three areas. International judicial bodies should respect national sovereignty and abide by the norms governing international relations.


To a question on the Central African Republic, he said the Council would take up the Secretary-General’s recommendations on that country and determine if there were actions to take.  He could not prejudge what would happen.  More broadly, the Council had heard briefings on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and members were concerned that no positive results had emerged from the Kampala process.  The Council would try to play a role that would impact the situation on the ground.


As for whether the Council could advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, he said the 15-member body had a vital role to play in that regard.  “The Council is only as good as its members,” he said, noting that those issues had been on its agenda for decades.  In his national capacity, he said China shared the urgency of finding a solution.


Asked if the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had spoken with China about opening an office to monitor human rights, he said he was not aware of that situation.


Regarding the visit of the Secretary-General and World Bank President to the Sahel region, he said China had made arrangements for that issue to be taken up by the Council in November.  He hoped that visit would be successful, as there was a need for a holistic approach to regional problems.  If the Council was briefed on the results of that visit, he was sure it would determine ways it could improve the situation and support any recommendations that had emerged.


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For information media • not an official record