|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Security Council President on Programme of Work for January
Major issues on the Security Council’s agenda in January would include Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Nepal, Haiti and the Middle East, Ivan Barbalić ( Bosnia and Herzegovina), President of the 15-member body for the month, said at a Headquarters press conference today.
Unveiling the Council’s work programme for January, he said an important initiative of the Presidency would be holding an open debate on institution-building in the context of post-conflict peacebuilding in the twenty-first century. The event would help ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 15 years of experience in that area could contribute to the Council’s future work, he said, adding that the Secretary-General, the President of the Peacebuilding Commission and officials from Member States that had undergone the process were expected to address the meeting.
“Stronger institutions that were built meant less chance that conflict would re-emerge,” Mr. Barbalić said, underlining in particular the importance of security, rule-of-law, financial and economic-recovery institutions. He projected that the meeting would cover those sectors, as well as the provision of assistance, the role of international organizations and civil society, as well as national ownership. Noting that institution-building helped to prevent “brain-drain” in post-conflict situations, he said his country was still going through the institution-building effort and it was not always easy.
He said an open debate on the Middle East was planned for 19 January, following the regular monthly briefing on that subject. On Côte d’Ivoire, he said the Council was following the post-election stand-off closely, though no meeting was scheduled until 14 January, when it expected to issue a strong statement of support for the activities of regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).
Among other issues to be discussed was a proposed tour extension for troops redeployed to UNOCI from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), he said. The Council was supporting the diplomatic initiatives of ECOWAS to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, he said. For that reason, he could not speculate about Council support for military intervention by regional Powers, he said in answer to questions.
He noted that a public briefing was scheduled later this afternoon by the Head of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), the mandate of which was about to expire on 15 January, possibly terminating the operation. While not expecting an outcome from today’s meeting, he anticipated a presidential statement “soon”, he said.
Replying to questions, he said there seemed to be a feeling among all actors that it was time for UNMIN to end. However, that did not rule out future Security Council involvement in the situation.
Turning to Sudan, he said the Council would follow closely the referendum scheduled for 9 January, and hold a meeting following its completion, on 18 January. Hopefully it would issue a strong presidential statement in support of the outcome, he said, adding that there was “cautious optimism” in the Council about the process. Describing recent statements by President Omer al-Bashir as “constructive”, he said that, while the Council must be ready to react if anything went wrong, it was also important to send a strong message expecting success.
He said he expected that the anniversary of last year’s earthquake in Haiti would be observed ahead of a briefing on 12 January after which the Council would discuss how to improve the effectiveness of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), particularly in the context of political tensions following the recent elections, and enormous remaining reconstruction needs.
On Somalia, he said the Council expected an update on 14 January update regarding developments since it authorized an increase in troop strength for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). On 25 January, Jack Lang, Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, would brief on counter-piracy efforts, he added.
Turning to other areas, the President said consultations on preventive diplomacy were expected to continue with the Department of Political Affairs on 10 January. On 13 January, the United Nations Regional Centre for Central Asia (UNRCCA) would participate in consultations on the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which had appeared to improve since the last briefing.
When asked about his national perspective on the human rights situation in Sudan, he said Bosnia and Herzegovina had much experience with rights abuse and was always ready to raise the issue. The Council saw the situation in Darfur as part of the “total equation” in Sudan, he added, stressing that there was no alternative to peace talks. The Security Council’s visit to camps for the displaced had revealed the urgent need to resolve the situation.
Asked in relation to the institution-building debate, whether he had considered inviting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, given the Palestinian Authority’s current efforts in that area, he said specific invitations were still under discussion and, given that many countries had substantial experience, he would not rule out any options.
Responding to other questions, he said there was cautious optimism that Lebanon would not be an urgent topic for the Council this month. Similarly, the strategy on the Korean peninsula was not to bring the situation before the Council for now.
Asked about Bosnia and Herzegovina’s position on a resolution opposing Israeli settlements, he said his country supported all measures that would bring the parties closer to resuming direct peace talks.
He concluded by saying there was a serious focus on protection issues in regard both to reports of mass graves in Côte d’Ivoire and sexual violence in Haitian camps for the displaced, adding that in all efforts to protect civilians it was important that the Council act in concert with civil society.
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