Security Council, Considering Cooperation with Regional Bodies, Commends European Union’s Efforts in Pursuit of United Nations Aims

8 February 2011
SC/10168

Security Council, Considering Cooperation with Regional Bodies, Commends European Union’s Efforts in Pursuit of United Nations Aims

8 February 2011
Security Council
SC/10168
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6477th Meeting (AM)

Security Council, Considering Cooperation with Regional Bodies, Commends

 

European Union’s Efforts in Pursuit of United Nations Aims

 

Members Briefed by High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Security Council members welcomed today the European Union’s work to help realize United Nations peace and security goals in a wide range of situations around the world, following a briefing by the regional organization’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Surveying a few of those situations, Catherine Ashton emphasized that security, development and democracy, good governance and respect for human rights were all interlinked.  “We must pursue these goals in concert — or none will succeed”.  That meant addressing both the wider root causes of conflict and developing appropriate tools to address them, she added.

She also called for more investment in conflict prevention and the peaceful resolution of conflict while addressing underlying causes, which included underdevelopment, weak institutions and a lack of democracy and respect for human rights.  Accordingly, she noted that people in many countries, particularly in North Africa, were demanding greater freedoms, democracy and accountability.  Last Friday, the 27 Heads of State and Government of the European Union had saluted the “peaceful and dignified” expressions by the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples of aspirations that were in accord with the bloc’s values, she recalled, offering assistance to governmental transitions in that context.

Reaffirming also the European Union’s commitment to a negotiated two-State solution to the Middle East conflict, she outlined its support for Palestinian state-building and for easing the plight of the people of Gaza.  However, she expressed regret that during her chairmanship of recent talks on Iran’s nuclear programme, that country had placed preconditions on confidence-building proposals.

As for electoral process, she said that while crucial for democracy, it was also very delicate, going on to describe European Union assistance in South Sudan, its support for the efforts of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to overcome difficulties in Côte d’Ivoire, and its contributions to reinforcing democratic institutions in Haiti.  The bloc was also active in both anti-piracy and stabilization efforts in Somalia, she said.

Pledging the European Union’s full commitment and support for “the great responsibility of the Council in steering the international community away from conflict and confrontation”, she announced the start of operations of the European External Action Service, one of the main innovations of the Lisbon Treaty, saying she expected it to strengthen the regional organization’s contribution in addressing international concerns.

Following her presentation, all 15 Security Council members commended the European Union on its efforts in international peace and security, with many speakers noting the common objectives shared by the bloc, the Security Council and individual countries.

Others emphasized the importance of regional organizations in complementing the Council’s work, with South Africa’s representative emphasizing that their cooperation with the United Nations should reflect specific characteristics and comparative advantages.  Given the increasing complexity of conflicts and the methods used to address them, regional organizations had begun, over the past decade or so, to act when the Security Council had been unwilling or unable to act, he said, noting that the African Union had taken the peacekeeping lead in Burundi, Sudan and Somalia.

The representative of the United States praised the European Union’s efforts in consolidating stability and peace, saying it had become an important partner for the Council in “its own neighbourhood” — as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Georgia — as well as beyond Europe and around the world.  She welcomed in particular its role in the Middle East Quartet.

The Russian Federation’s representative, noting the European Union’s activities and his own country’s involvement in nuclear arms reduction and Middle East peace efforts, affirmed the importance of the multilateral system.

Also speaking this afternoon were representatives of France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Germany, China, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Lebanon, India, Gabon, Colombia and Brazil.

The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and ended at 11:55 a.m.

Background

Meeting this morning to consider cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security, the Security Council heard a briefing by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Briefing

CATHERINE ASHTON, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, announced the beginning of operations, as of 1 January, of the European External Action Service, one of the main innovations of the Lisbon Treaty, saying it was expected to strengthen the regional bloc’s contribution in addressing international concerns.

Noting that people in many countries today were demanding greater freedoms, democracy and accountability, particularly in North Africa and the wider Middle East, she recalled that, accordingly, last Friday, the 27 Heads of State and Government of the European Union had saluted the “peaceful and dignified” expressions by the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples of aspirations that were in accord with the European Union’s values.

“The democratic aspirations of citizens must be met through dialogue, genuine political reform and free and fair elections that are well prepared,” she declared.  Pledging that the European Union would offer practical support to the transition process, she said she would visit the region next week to clarify the possibilities for such assistance to the difficult democratization process, which called for fighting corruption, creating transparent local administration, ensuring independent media and making the justice system fully independent.

Turning to the wider Middle East, she said the European Union was following up on the search for a negotiated peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians within the well-known parameters of two States coexisting in peace and security on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as the capital of both.  The European Union was at the forefront of budgetary and security assistance to the Palestinian Authority as it laid the foundations for a future State, she stressed.

She said she had reconfirmed, in visits and talks with Palestinian leaders, her support for the new National Plan and pledged to “frontload” an initial financial package of €100 million for the Occupied Territory under the 2011 budget.  Also, the European Union would soon host a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee to promote Palestinian state-building.  The European Union was also fully committed to supporting the people of Gaza, she said, adding that she had proposed a package of support focusing on infrastructure, equipment and training, with the objective remaining the unconditional opening of the border crossings, while addressing legitimate Israeli security needs.

On Iran’s nuclear programme, she recalled that on 20-21 January, she had chaired a series of meetings between Iran and the E3+3 (France, Germany, United Kingdom, China, Russian Federation, United States).  The fundamental problem was that “we do not have confidence that the Iranian nuclear programme is purely civilian in nature”, she said, expressing regret that Iran had met concrete proposals for building confidence and transparency with a request for prior recognition of its “right to the entire fuel cycle, including enrichment” and a lifting of sanctions.  However, the practical proposals remained on the table and if Iran were to adopt some of the proposed transparency measures already implemented by most countries, the process could go far.

She went on to say that while electoral processes were crucial for democracy, they were also very delicate.  The European Union praised the willingness of the Sudanese authorities to find a peaceful solution ensuring the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and urged them to continue to do so while resolving all outstanding issues.  She also commended the United Nations leadership in the process and pointed to the progress that could be made when the international community persisted with concerted efforts.  The focus must be maintained, she stressed, noting that the European Union had contributed an observer mission and pledged to remain engaged with the North and South alike.

Unfortunately, some electoral processes had run into difficulties and the international community must remain engaged and firm, she emphasized.  In Côte d’Ivoire, the European Union fully supported the leadership of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as the key role played by the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).  The European Union had recognized President Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the Ivorian elections and had adopted targeted sanctions to ensure that others heeded the results.  It supported the process launched at the recent African Union Summit and looked forward to real results.

In Haiti, she continued, the recent electoral process proved that reinforcing democratic institutions was essential.  All political forces in the country needed to contribute responsibly so that the second round of presidential and legislative elections could be concluded in line with the Constitution and the will of the Haitian people.  The European Union was contributing significant resources to the country’s administration and reconstruction, she noted.

Regarding failed States, she said the focus should be on ensuring stability and security as the basis for economic and social development.  In Somalia, the European Union had an important naval operation offshore, but there could be no long-term solution to piracy without stability onshore and greater regional capabilities.  The European Union was therefore working hard on those tracks as well.

“Security, development and democracy, good governance and respect for human rights are all interlinked,” she pointed out.  “We must pursue these goals in concert – or none will succeed.”  That meant addressing both the wider root causes of conflict and developing appropriate tools to address them, she said, citing as examples the exploitation of natural resources and climate change.  More investment was also needed in conflict prevention and the peaceful resolution of conflict while addressing underlying causes — underdevelopment, weak institutions and lack of democracy and respect for human rights.

She commended the Brazilian Council presidency’s intention to convene a special session on the links between development and security, noting that the European Union was very engaged in that area.  There were many other cases in which the regional organization was involved in protecting the vulnerable and ensuring that genuine democracy could take root.  She acknowledged the Council’s great responsibility in steering the international community away from conflict and confrontation, and pledged the European Union’s full commitment and support for those efforts.

Statements

GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said the European Union had been and remained a “prime mover” on the international stage, especially following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.  It had played its full role in resolving crises around the world, including by participating in Council-mandated peacekeeping missions and helping countries such as Haiti overcome the effects of disasters.

As a founding member of the European Union, France continued to support the bloc’s efforts to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, he said.  As it became clear that the two parties were incapable of taking bold steps on their own, it was time for the European Union and other members of the diplomatic Quartet to consider a “phased approach” to getting the negotiations under way.  As for Iran’s nuclear programme, he expressed support for the European Union’s recent request that the country fulfil its obligations, in line with Security Council resolutions.

He also noted that the European Union was the largest donor to the key development issues on the United Nations agenda.  The regional body supported the promotion of human rights, equality between men and women, the rule of law and democratic reforms worldwide.  Nevertheless, there was much to be done, and the European Union would continue to grow and achieve solid results if its member States continued to work together as well as with other international actors.  France would continue to support the regional body, working to ensure it fulfilled its obligations in the area of international peace and security.

IVAN BARBALIĆ ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) said a new phase in European history had begun with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.  The European Union had begun to harmonize and step up its activities to help the international community meet its objectives in a number of countries and regions, including Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic, Haiti and the Middle East.  The bloc also supported efforts to promote human rights and the rule of law in post-conflict societies.  While major gains had been achieved, there was always room for improvement, especially in enhancing the multilateral system, he stressed. There was an absolute necessity for more coherent and coordinated actions among all actors, including international groups, he said, calling on the European Union to speak in a stronger voice in coordinating such cooperation.

JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) said that one year after the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force, important steps were already being taken to give the European Union a stronger and more unified voice and capacity to act.  Given the importance of cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations, strengthening the regional bloc’s foreign policy would also contribute to the reinforcement of an effective multilateral system, with the United Nations at its centre, he pointed out, adding that the challenges of the twenty-first century demanded concerted action by global, regional and subregional actors.  With its specific tools in the fields of security, crisis management, development and environment, among others, the European Union was singularly well placed to support the world body’s responses to the multidimensional challenges of the day.

He went on to cite several examples of cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations that was either taking place or being developed: the Balkans, Chad and the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia and Sudan.  In Sudan specifically, the timely and peaceful conclusion of the referendum was a historic accomplishment and milestone, not only in terms of underlining the Sudanese people’s attachment to the democratic process, but also as evidence of what could be achieved through cooperation and commitment among all stakeholders.  The referendum’s outcome would pave the way for the normalization of relations between Khartoum and the international community, he said.

He went on to express support for the High Representative’s assessment of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, noting that, in keeping with the European Union-African Strategic Partnership, it was very important to back the efforts of the recently created African Union High-Level Panel for the Resolution of the Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire to find a political solution to the current stalemate.  More generally, he said, some of the challenges facing that country were shared by others in the region and it was important that the European Union and the United Nations “undertake serious reflection” on their joint approach to West Africa as a whole.  As for the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, he said recent developments would undoubtedly resonate worldwide.  Many issues affecting that geopolitical space could not be addressed in an inconsistent and incoherent manner, he said.  Indeed, they required an efficient partnership involving all stakeholders, including the European Union and the United Nations.

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) noted the importance, in terms of international cooperation, of the recent Munich Conference of the Middle East Quartet, as well as his country’s conclusion of the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) with the United States, both of which were based on the understanding that unilateral approaches were counterproductive.  Recently, a Russian-European Union committee had been established to move cooperation between Moscow and Brussels to a totally new level, he said.  That cooperation had strengthened greatly in respect of common goals in the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear programme, Southern Sudan and Côte d’Ivoire, he said, commenting with regard to the latter that there was no alternative to a peaceful resolution of the crisis.  He also called for a peaceful resolution of the political crisis in Haiti, underlining the responsibility of the Haitian people themselves for resolving it.  The Russian Federation supported further development of the cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations, within the context of the United Nations Charter, he said.

PETER WITTIG ( Germany) said reforms were the only way forward in Egypt and Tunisia as he welcomed efforts for a two-State solution to the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.  The Munich statement of the Quartet was important in that regard, he added.  The European Union was built upon consensus among its members and Germany had been part of that peacebuilding exercise from the beginning, he pointed out, adding that, with the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force, the European Union should be an even more effective partner.  It supported other regional bodies, particularly the African Union, in building capacity and pursuing stability.  Germany remained committed to a strong partnership between the United Nations and the European Union, he added.

YANG TAO (China) said his delegation attached great importance to cooperation among the United Nations, the European Union and other international and subregional organizations.  Indeed, during its Council presidency in 2010, it had drafted a presidential statement reiterating the importance of that cooperation and calling for it to be strengthened and enhanced.  In recent years, the European Union had stepped up its efforts in such areas as preventive diplomacy, mediation, negotiation and other activities to end conflict or defuse tensions by peaceful means.  China supported the European Union’s role in maintaining international peace and security, as well as in wider international affairs, and trusted that as all the elements of the Lisbon Treaty began to take hold, the European Union, United Nations and the Security Council would be able to carry out more pragmatic and sustainable cooperation.

BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said multilateralism was strengthened through enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, as set out in Chapter VIII of the Charter.  The role of the European Union and the African Union in that regard, particularly in the area of maintaining international peace and security, was evidence of the foresight of the Charter’s drafters, he said, adding that multilateralism would also be strengthened through enhanced cooperation between and among various regional organizations.

Acknowledging the importance of the strong cooperative relationship between the African Union and the European Union, he emphasized that each regional organization was unique and the challenges they faced in addressing international peace and security issues differed.  Their cooperation with the United Nations should therefore reflect specific characteristics and comparative advantages.  Highlighting some of the findings of the 2008 Prodi Report on cooperation with and support to the African Union, he noted the increased complexity of conflicts and the methods used to address them.  As such, regional organizations had begun, over the past decade or so, to act when the Security Council had been unwilling or unable to act, he said, pointing out that the African Union had taken the peacekeeping lead in Burundi, Sudan and Somalia.

Yet, despite strong political will to establish peace and security throughout the continent, the African Union still faced constraints, he said, commending the European Union’s role in the establishment of the African Peace Facility to assist peace-support operations mandated by the African Union.  He recalled that, during a meeting in Tripoli last November, leaders of both bodies had recognized the need for more cooperation, including with the United Nations.  The meeting had also stressed the importance of follow-up to the “Prodi Report”, especially on attaining predictable, sustainable and flexible funding for the African Union.  Africa and the European Union were committed to strengthening dialogue and cooperation with the United Nations to address global threats to peace and security, he reiterated.

ROSEMARY DICARLO (United States) said the European Union had become an important partner for the Council in facing problems of peace and security, and thanked the bloc for its efforts in its own neighbourhood, such as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Georgia.  Beyond Europe, she welcomed its role in the Middle East Quartet.  In Somalia, Haiti, Sudan and Côte d’Ivoire, the United States would continue to cooperate with the European Union and the wider international community, she said, emphasizing that the world must maintain unified responses in those cases.  Commending the European Union’s work with the African Union, she also praised its police training mission in Afghanistan as well as its other contributions there, before hailing its efforts for the protection of women in conflict situations.  The United States looked forward to further discussions on how to deepen cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations, she said.

RAFF BUKUN-OLU WOLE ONEMOLA(Nigeria) said he particularly valued the European Union’s crucial efforts in improving governance in Haiti, Sudan and Côte d’Ivoire, among others, and confirmed the linkages between security, development and international aid.  Nigeria saluted the regional bloc’s work in Haiti, as well as the efforts of other regional organizations, such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and other international actors, stressing that the international community must remain fully committed in that country.  He also expressed satisfaction with the European Union’s readiness to help both North and South Sudan tackle upcoming challenges following the successful holding of the referendum.  The European Union’s support also remained necessary in Côte d’Ivoire, and its commitment to Middle East peace was also commendable.  The vitality of the partnership between the African Union and the European Union was evident and showed that partnerships were an effective means of maximizing international resources, he said, calling for the strengthening of such partnerships and an international system based on mutual rights and support.

MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said his delegation had a strong interest in ensuring that the partnership between the European Union and the United Nations became ever more effective in addressing the many challenges facing international peace and security.  Lady Ashton had highlighted the European Union’s unique ability to lead a global approach on such matters, putting its vital tools in play, from military intervention and political influence and diplomatic negotiation, to humanitarian assistance.  Indeed, the bloc could support the full range of United Nations activities, from Afghanistan to the Balkans, he said, highlighting the European Union’s ability to combine its tools with those of the Security Council and the wider United Nations to prevent or end conflicts. 

As for recent events in North Africa and elsewhere, he noted that in Tunisia, the European Union was already working on a broad package of democratic reforms and socio-economic development initiatives, adding that the United Nations should be a natural partner in that process.  As for the Middle East, he said the European Union had been involved in pressing for a political solution, while at the same time providing critical assistance to the Palestinian state-building process.

The European Union also had an important role to play in sharing experience with other regional organizations, he said.  Indeed, its activities with the African Union in Somalia and elsewhere were clear examples of what could be achieved when partners worked together.  In addition, the European Union could be a force for development by maintaining an open and receptive marketplace, since open markets played a huge role in maintaining regional as well as international peace and security.  The body could also make strides in non-traditional areas such as climate security, which was likely to feature on the Council’s agenda later this year.  Hopefully, the European Union could take that issue forward as a priority, in close partnership with the United Nations.  He also expressed hope that the two organizations could enhance their cooperation in the areas of preventive diplomacy and peacebuilding, saying he looked forward to a strengthened partnership, based on shared values and a strong commitment to supporting them.

NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon) pointed out that the Charter had set out the need for and parameters of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations some 60 years ago.  Cooperation was more important than ever today, especially with the rapid geopolitical changes taking place, driven largely by the explosion of information and communications technology and interactions among nations.  Lebanon appreciated the European Union’s work and urged it to continue its efforts in support of United Nations aims.

While noting the European Union’s efforts in the Middle East through the Quartet, he emphasized that merely condemning some Israeli practices “from time to time” was insufficient, especially when that country’s actions contravened the very practices of the European Union in terms of respect for human rights and the rule of law.  Israel also contravened the Geneva Conventions prohibiting collective punishment, which that country was clearly committing in the Gaza Strip.  It was high time for all those calling for the creation of a Palestinian State to take active steps to help the Palestinian people and leaders achieve that goal by the next General Assembly, he stressed, adding that such efforts should be carried out in cooperation with the League of Arab States and other regional groups.

HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) congratulated the European Union on its contributions to international peace and security, saying his country’s bilateral relations with the regional body had grown significantly, both in trade and political cooperation.  A recent summit between the two had resulted in pledges of even stronger cooperation, particularly on terrorism.  Commending European Union efforts in capacity-building in Africa, police training, governance and other areas, he said India had worked in many of those areas and had also participated in anti-piracy efforts alongside the European Union.  He hoped a consensus could emerge soon on even stronger cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations.

ALFRED ALEXIS MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI (Gabon) highlighted the importance of the European Union’s work in pursuit of United Nations goals, particularly in South Sudan, Haiti, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Somalia.  He also applauded the regional organization’s role in assisting the world body in the quest for peace and stability around the globe.

NESTOR OSORIO (Colombia) said the United Nations and the European Union should work towards raising awareness among Member States on key issues, including the consequences of transnational organized crime, among other ills.  The two organizations should step up cooperation and information-sharing on such matters as customs reform while enhancing cooperation in the area of disaster relief and climate change mitigation and adaptation.  Colombia also valued the European Union’s efforts, through the Quartet, to ensure peace in the Middle East, he said, stressing that such efforts should be based on the principles of respect for human rights and the peaceful settlement of disputes.  Aspirations for democratic change were “front and centre” in the Arab world today, he pointed out, which placed a new responsibility on the international community to ensure that the region’s peoples could achieve it.

On Sudan, he said the international community must support the political process under way there in such a way as to address the needs and status of all the parties concerned.  Another issue demanding continued vigilance and enhanced cooperation was the full reconstruction of Haiti, he said, emphasizing that the European Union, United Nations and other organizations and partners must press for policies that would lead to the creation of solid and representative political structures and broad physical reconstruction, which were inextricably linked to ensuring peace and security.  Cooperation among the European Union, African Union and the United Nations would also be the key to helping Côte d’Ivoire “find its heading”, he said.

Council President MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil), speaking in her national capacity, recognized the European Union’s contribution to situations of vital importance to her delegation, including security-sector reform in Guinea-Bissau and the rehabilitation and reconstruction in Haiti.  Specifically on Haiti, she emphasized that the process leading towards full democratic governance, the promotion of human rights and reconstruction must be carried out in a manner that addressed the needs of the people.

She went on to express hope that the changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty would help further strengthen cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations in such a manner as to reinforce the Security Council’s primary role in the maintenance of international peace and security.  Through the Union of South American Nations (UNASUL), countries in the region were consolidating a genuine zone of peace and prosperity, she said, adding that, by promoting dialogue and understanding, UNASUL provided its own contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.

Ms. ASHTON, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, thanked all Council members for their encouragement and support.  She pledged to continue to strengthen the crucial relationship between the European Union and the Council in light of the possibilities provided by the Lisbon Treaty.

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