PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

2 December 2008

PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

2 December 2008
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

 

The Security Council needed to send a strong message confirming its determination and unity in the fight against terrorism, the President of the 15-nation body for the month of December told correspondents at a Headquarters press briefing this afternoon.

Briefing correspondents on the Council’s busy programme this month, the Permanent Representative of Croatia, Neven Jurica, said every country presiding over the Council could arrange a thematic debate on the subject of its choice, and Croatia had chosen to address the threats of international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, with an open debate on the matter on 9 December.  He stressed the timeliness of the subject in view of last week’s tragic events in India.  The President of Croatia would preside over the meeting, and the Secretary-General was expected to attend.

Fighting terrorism required a flexible, multidimensional approach, covering both specific traditional counter-terrorism steps and preventive measures and policies, including the elimination of conditions conducive to terrorism.  The possible outcome of the meeting would be a presidential statement, calling for reaffirmation of international solidarity in combating terrorism and encouraging more energetic counter-terrorism efforts by Member States.

Tomorrow, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, would present his eighth report to the Council, pursuant to resolution 1593, which had referred the situation in Darfur to the Court’s jurisdiction.  The briefing would be held in an open format, so everyone would have a chance to hear the Prosecutor’s assessment of the progress achieved since his last report in June, notably on the main three cases, including those against President Omar al-Bashir and the rebels.

He said other subjects on the Council’s agenda included tomorrow’s consultations on setting up a special tribunal on Lebanon, which was expected to begin its work next year, as well as a 16 December briefing on the work of the International Independent Investigation Commission.  The mandate of the Commission expired on 31 December, and the Council would decide on further action on the basis of its report.

On Iraq, the Council would address the mandate of the Multinational Force, the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board.  The provisions of resolution 1790 (2007) on the mandate of the Force and arrangements for the Fund and the Monitoring Board would expire on 31 December, as well as immunity provisions relating to petrol and gas products.  The Council would have to consider such recent significant developments as the ratification of a bilateral security agreement between Iraq and the United States, and decide on further steps.

Also on the agenda was an open thematic debate on the Middle East on 18 December, he continued.  In the course of the month, the Council would deal with several issues regarding the Middle East.  Apart from questions relating to Lebanon, it would also be presented with a report on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on 10 December.  With the mandate of the Force expiring on 31 December, he expected a regular one-year extension.

The Council would discuss the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) on 22 December.  Given the expiration of the sanctions regime and the mandate of MONUC at the end of the month, the Council would work on the timely adoption of the two resolutions.

The situation in Burundi would be discussed on 11 December.  After the presentation of the latest report, along with input from interested delegations, the extension of the mandate would be discussed in closed consultations.  The resolution renewing the mandate of the Mission was expected to be adopted on 19 December.  On Friday this week, the Council would hold consultations on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and have a debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Among other things, the Council would also discuss MINURCAT, the situation in the Great Lakes region and Liberia sanctions.  Several issues, including peace and security in Africa, Myanmar and non-proliferation, were included in the footnote to the provisional programme of work and could be raised at any time.

Responding to several questions regarding the impact of the Presidency of small countries like Croatia, he said that, in presiding over the Council, each country was in a position to make input only during the thematic debate of its choice.   Croatia had picked the issue of counter-terrorism, and that would be its contribution to the work of the Security Council in December.  Overall, the role of the President of the Security Council was to facilitate the work of that body.  Speaking in his national capacity, he added that Croatia’s first-ever Presidency of the Council was a historic achievement for the country.

Asked to respond to criticism that Croatia’s Presidency was not very helpful to the countries that had voted for its seat on the Council, since it was “always going with the western countries and the European Union”, he said that his country’s foreign policy was well-known and consistent.   Croatia’s position and activities at the United Nations were based on that policy.

To another question, he said that, during this morning’s consultations, the Council had been formally informed of the prospect of the United States Secretary of State participating in the meeting on the problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia on 16 December.  The Council would be provided with further details in due course.

If things went well in Iraq, how would the Council terminate the mandate of the Multinational Force, a correspondent asked.  Mr. Jurica replied that the Council would discuss the issue this month and he would inform the press about its decision at the stakeout later in December.

“We still don’t know,” he said in response to a question if Tony Blair, Special Envoy of the diplomatic Quartet, would appear before the Council this month.  To another question, he said that, this morning, the issue of possible participation of the group of elders on Zimbabwe had been raised in connection with the issue of peace and security in Africa.  A possible briefing by a member of the group was discussed, and the name of the former Secretary-General had been mentioned in that regard.  Further consultations would be held with interested members on possible format, timing and participation in such a briefing.

Asked if he intended to continue the policy of openness that had been pursued by his predecessor, the representative of Costa Rica, last month, Mr. Jurica said that he would “use any tools” necessary to facilitate the Council’s work.

On the reform of the Security Council, he said that he was a realist and was encouraging positive contributions from Member States on the issue.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.