|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by President of Security Council for January
The Security Council had undertaken a significant amount of work over the past month, including several well-attended debates, Mohammad Masood Khan (Pakistan), that body’s outgoing President, said today at a Headquarters press conference.
“It was not the usual light January,” said Mr. Khan, adding that the Council had been efficient and effective, thanks largely to “quick decision-making” on the part of its 15 members. It had just concluded its wrap-up session for the month, which had provided an opportunity for the membership to review and preview its work, examine broad trends and exchange information.
Among its output for the month, the Council had adopted four resolutions and issued one presidential statement and six press statements, he said. It had held two special thematic debates — one on a comprehensive approach to terrorism and the other on peacekeeping – which had attracted a high level of participation, wide support and interest among Council members. There had also been an open debate on the Middle East, as well as consistently strong interaction between the Council and the media. In addition, he said, the Council had undertaken an important mission to Yemen.
On 21 January, he recalled, the Council had held a debate on the importance of multidimensional peacekeeping, an approach aimed at ensuring coherence among peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development activities in order to respond effectively to post-conflict situations. To that end, the Council had unanimously adopted resolution 2086 (2013), by which it stressed that peacekeeping activities should be conducted in such a manner as to facilitate post-conflict peacebuilding, help prevent a relapse into conflict, and assist progress towards sustainable peace and development.
He went on to note that the Council had also adopted resolution 2887 (2013), on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and authorized the renewal of two mandates — those of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
The Council had also focused on the situations in Mali and Syria, among others requiring “urgent and continuing” attention, he continued, pointing out that “several of these issues will require further consideration and follow-up by the Council in February”.
Asked about the recent communication from the Government of Syria to the United Nations — which allegedly described reported Israeli airstrikes on that country — he said the Council was aware of the communication and would remain seized of the matter. “We are monitoring the situation and we will continue to do our best,” he said in that regard. The United Nations was in the process of translating the communication from the representative of Syria, which did not contain a request for an emergency Council meeting. The letter would be issued as an official document, he added.
When asked about the resolution concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, alleged by a correspondent to have been “essentially negotiated between the United States and China” without the involvement of other members, Mr. Khan said there had been a strong desire among Council members to have “some sort of product” on that issue. It was indeed important for the United States and China to engage on the matter, he stressed, noting that the situation remained “sensitive” and that the Council continued to monitor it.
Asked for more information about the new Council-authorized African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), he explained that the fast-evolving situation in the country required a “rapid response” — the reason for the deployment of French troops. Hopefully, that would allow the Government of Mali to secure all the country’s towns. Indeed, it was the desire of all Council members that “we should move fast”, as time was of the essence. “We will have to fast-track all the initiatives”, with a view to making United Nations and international efforts most effective, he added.
To several questions on the situation in Syria, including one about the smuggling of weapons to the Free Syrian Army, Mr. Khan said Council members had been cautioned in that regard, as “we do not know with whom, and where, [weapons] will end up”. One should learn lessons from the Libya experience and take the necessary precautions, he added.
Responding to a question about Security Council reform, he said the Council had “covered a lot of ground” in January, and stressed that he did not wish to prejudge the outcome of ongoing discussions on reform.
Asked to compare Asia’s past development experiences with Africa’s current ones, Mr. Khan spotlighted two trends — one towards economic development and the other towards conflict. Africa and its “dynamic” regional and subregional organizations must now build on its economic successes and reduce divergences, he emphasized.
* *** *