|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for February
Protection of civilians, rule of law, and the situation in Syria would be among the Security Council’s top priorities in February, the Permanent Representative of Lithuania said at a Headquarters press conference today.
Briefing on developments during her country’s February presidency, Raimonda Murmokaitė said the chamber’s work programme would include two open debates. The first, on the protection of civilians, would be held on 12 February and focus on the protection aspects of peacekeeping mandates, specifically: translating existing normative commitments into actions on the ground. The meeting was expected to produce a presidential statement.
The second open debate, on the rule of law, would be held on 19 February, she said, and explore ways to improve the impact of rule-of-law mandates in building sustainable peace. “In too many situations, countries coming out of peace and on the path of peace tended to relapse,” she said. “Once built, peace can be sustainable”, and the rule of law was a useful instrument in that process. Chaired by Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, the meeting also was expected to produce a presidential statement.
On 14 February, the Council was scheduled to hear a briefing by European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton on United Nations-European Union cooperation, she said, adding that the last such briefing had taken place one year ago. The meeting would be chaired by Lithuania’s Foreign Minister. On 24 February, the Council would be briefed on the Swiss priorities for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Regarding mandate renewals, two decisions were expected: one on the situation in Burundi, on 13 February, and the second on the United Nations Regional Office in Central Africa, on 28 February.
Most of the Council’s attention, however, would focus on Syria, she said, noting that on 6 February, consultations on the chemical weapons situation would be held with the Special Coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Mission, Sigrid Kaag. On 13 February, a closed briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos was expected, while on 25 February, Syria would likely be considered during the regular monthly briefing on the Middle East.
She went on to say that on 10 February, the Council would hold its debate on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), with the Prime Minister of Serbia and the Representative of the Kosovo Authorities. On 11 February, it would hold consultations on Sudan and South Sudan, as well as on the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS was expected to brief.
Also on 11 February, the Chair of the “1591” Sudan Sanctions Committee would present that Committee’s report. The Council was expected to renew the Mission’s mandate later in the month. On 20 February, the Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the United Nations and Chair of the “1718” Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Sanctions Committee would present that body’s report, while Lithuania’s representative, as Chair of the “2127” Central African Republic Sanctions Committee, would present that body’s report. On 18 February, a formal briefing would be held on the situation in the Central African Republic.
Also on 13 February, she noted, Gérard Araud ( France) and Mahamat Zene Cherif ( Chad) were expected to brief on the Council’s visiting mission to Mali.
On 25 February, a briefing on the situation in the Middle East by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, followed by consultations, was expected. On 26 February, the Council would address the situation in Guinea-Bissau, with briefings by the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), as well as the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Guinea-Bissau Configuration. The month would conclude with a wrap-up session on 27 February. The last such session was held half a year ago and it was time to renew that practice, she added.
Taking questions, Ms. Murmokaitė said a draft resolution on the humanitarian situation in Syria had not been discussed in the Council, so she could not comment on that. In her national capacity, she said Lithuania had raised its huge concerns about the humanitarian situation in Syria and looked forward to continued dialogue on the matter. Lithuania was also deeply worried by the lack of progress on the chemical weapons issue. Her Government looked forward to hearing how Syria would cope with the expected timeline.
To a question on the wrap-up session, she said Note S/2010/507, the basis for the session, was a working methods report. In her national capacity, she added, “we have an interest to ensure there is sufficient openness and transparency vis-à-vis non-members”.
To a query on South Sudan, she said it was up to the Council as to whether there would be a resolution on that situation. Regarding whether the discussion on Sudan would include broadening the arms embargo, she it would be wise to wait and see how the discussion took shape. She added in her national capacity that it was important for sanctions — wherever they were — to have an effect on the ground. “That’s our main concern,” she said.
Asked about the open debate on the rule of law, she said a concept paper had been posted on the Council’swebsite, which offered direction for the presidential statement. There was already a good normative basis for the discussion, so the meeting would focus on implementation.
To a question on Burundi, she said the mandate for the United Nations Office there, known as BNUB, would end on 15 February, so a decision must be taken before then to ensure the mission could continue its work. There were various views on the renewal of that mandate and she underscored the need for all parties involved to discuss the situation closely.
Asked about Lithuania's position on Ukraine, she said in her national capacity that the future of Ukraine was a very big issue. Lithuania had been engaged in the eastern partnership of the European Union, with a focus on integration. Recent events were an upset and she hoped a peaceful resolution to the issues would be achieved “sooner rather than later”. She was pleased that the European Union was engaging — and would continue to engage — on the ground and through mediation efforts. Lithuania was ready to support the aspirations of Ukrainians to achieve rapprochement with the European Union. Despite setbacks, that was the best possible support for Ukraine’s modernization.
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