|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for July
With the independence of South Sudan due in a matter of days, the Security Council would be paying particular attention to the world’s newest country, as well as larger regional issues and dynamics, Peter Wittig (Germany), Council President for July, said at a Headquarters press conference today.
He said that following independence on 9 July, the Government of South Sudan would transmit a request for United Nations membership, which the Council would then take up. “We will most probably adopt a resolution on 13 July to recommend membership of this new State to the General Assembly, which then, as it is envisaged, acts back-to-back on the following day.” Mr. Wittig said the Council would also hold a debate, chaired by Germany’s Foreign Minister, on the larger issues involved, including the challenges and opportunities of the new situation in Sudan, the region and beyond.
With Council members currently holding expert-level discussions on a draft resolution that would mandate a new peacekeeping mission in Southern Sudan, he said, “intensive” consultations would be held in the next few days regarding its form, shape and purpose. A decision would be taken “one or two days before” the 9 July deadline, he predicted.
Among other outstanding issues relating to Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement was the situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, which the Council would monitor, he said, adding that on 22 July, it would hear a briefing by Ibrahim Gambari, Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), on both the Doha-based peace talks and the Darfur political process.
Turning to Afghanistan, he highlighted tomorrow’s debate on the “incremental and conditions-based transfer” of security responsibilities from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to the Afghan security forces. Following a briefing by Stefan di Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the Council would examine the medium–term future of the design and context of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), as well as the Afghan-led political process currently under way, he said.
The President said Libya would once again be high on the agenda, with consultations scheduled for 11 July, when Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, would brief on his efforts for a meaningful and sustainable ceasefire and the ongoing political process. The regular briefing mandated by resolution 1973 (2011) was slated for 28 July, he added. Meanwhile, the Council would continue discussing the draft resolution on Syria presented by its European members, including Germany, he said.
He said that among other highlights of Germany’s presidency would be a briefing by the Department of Political Affairs on the Lord’s Resistance Army’s recruitment of child solders and its larger, harmful impact in the Great Lakes region and Central Africa. In addition, Germany’s Foreign Minister would preside over an open debate on children and armed conflict on 12 July, he said, expressing hope that the Council would subsequently adopt a resolution to further enhance the protection agenda by focusing on attacks against schools, in particular.
Mr. Wittig said he would convene an open debate on 20 July to highlight security-related issues of climate change, especially the existential threat posed to small-island and low-lying States by rising sea levels, and the effects of climate changes on food security, including the consequent risks to international peace and security.
Asked about the speed of the delisting processes for the Afghanistan-related sanctions regimes, Mr. Wittig recalled that the previous Al-Qaeda/Taliban sanctions regimes had recently been split to highlight that the two groups had different agendas and should be treated separately. Highlighting an expectation of greater flexibility for the Taliban in the delisting process, as well as more Afghan ownership, he nevertheless noted that three conditions would have to be fulfilled: a renunciation of violence; an acceptance of the Afghan Constitution; and the severance of ties with international terrorist groups. The delisting process was moving forward, he reported, adding: “My expectation is that we will see some delisting decision… in the coming weeks.”
Responding to a number of questions on Syria, he confirmed that a briefing on 14 July by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would address that country, noting that the Agency had recently referred it to the Council.
Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Wittig said he hoped broader support for the draft resolution on Syria could be enlisted in the next days and weeks. With some countries having signalled a willingness to accept Council action if the text was “downgraded” to a presidential statement, he stressed that “the idea is to have a resolution”.
Asked about the “stalemate” in Libya, he said next Monday’s briefing would provide an update on the overall situation there. Pressed as to whether a meeting of the Council’s Sanctions Committee had been requested to discuss France’s reported arms deliveries to Libyan rebels, he said Member States had discussed the matter briefly without reaching agreement.
In response to a question about whether the reach of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA) would be spread over a larger area, given the problems in Southern Kordofan, and what mechanisms might be put in place to monitor human rights there, he said that although a mandate was in place, the situation in Southern Kordofan remained volatile, and a United Nations presence would possibly be needed in areas beyond Abyei. However, the direction of that discussion was unpredictable, he said, noting further that while there was a framework agreement on a border mission, it must be set in a broader context. The Council’s discussions on those matters were continuing, he added.
Asked whether a new mission in South Sudan should include the kind of “offensive” terms authorized in the newly mandated Abyei mission, he reiterated that the terms of a mission in South Sudan remained a “moving target” and the Council would be busy until the end of the week discussing details of the resolution. Nonetheless, any such force would include three components: the military element, comprising the bulk of the operation; civilian personnel for various peacebuilding functions; and a police force. The balance of those elements remained subject to continuing negotiations.
Responding to a question about the Council’s efforts to persuade the Government of Sudan to agree to a monitoring mission on the North-South border after 9 July, he referred to the provisional agreement negotiated under the guidance of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on a future border-monitoring mission, stressing that the final set-up of such a mission was not yet clear. Those details would be part of the Council’s “homework” in the coming days and weeks, he said.
In response to a question about the proposed draft resolution on climate security, he said many countries — particularly small-island and low-lying States — were urging the Council to provide for follow-up, and discussions were continuing on what that might entail.
Regarding children and armed conflict, he told a questioner that his country wanted an enlargement of the trigger mechanism for the “name-and-shame” list. While Germany also sought an avenue by which persistent perpetrators could be sanctioned — possibly beyond the existing United Nations sanctions regimes — expert-level consultations were continuing, he said, adding that he did not wish to prejudge their outcome.
Asked about reports that the Palestinians must submit an application for United Nations membership by 15 July to ensure action in September, he said that while the Council’s 26 July open debate on the Middle East would provide an occasion to discuss various future possibilities, Germany had not been approached on that specific matter. A meeting of the Quartet ( United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, European Union) in Washington, D.C., was envisaged for the middle of July, he said, suggesting that that was another forum to watch when speculating about Palestinians efforts in July and beyond.
To a question about the intended outcome of the Council meeting on the Lord’s Resistance Army, he replied that the purpose was to put the Ugandan rebel group on the agenda once again. A presidential statement was “in the realm of the possible”, he said, noting that the debate was also intended to address the regional dimension surrounding the forthcoming independence of South Sudan.
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