|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for August
The crises in Gaza, Syria and eastern Ukraine would be among the Security Council’s top priorities in August, Mark Lyall Grant (United Kingdom), Council President for the month, said at a Headquarters press conference today.
Unveiling the 15-member Council’s August work programme, Mr. Lyall Grant said the third week of the month would be “exceptionally busy”. That period would include briefings on the Middle East and the United Nations Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), as well as consultations on Sudan, South Sudan and the Organization’s security force in Abyei, its peacekeeping force in Lebanon, and sanctions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Also that week, the Council would commemorate World Humanitarian Day on 19 August with a briefing on the protection of civilians, and hold an open debate on 21 August on conflict prevention — a constant focus for the United Kingdom in the past four years, particularly in light of the 100th anniversary this year of the outbreak of the First World War, he said.
During the latter debate, the Council would hear from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, he said. It hoped to adopt resolutions at the end of both meetings on their respective topics. There would also be a briefing that week on the Council’s upcoming mission to Europe and Africa.
The Council would meet twice specifically on Syria, in consultations on 5 August on the use of chemical weapons, and in a briefing followed by consultations on 28 August on the humanitarian situation there.
Earlier today, Council members were briefed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, and on the situation in Lebanon by France’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, he said.
On 26 August, the Council was expected to renew the mandates of two missions set to expire at month’s end: the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
The United Kingdom’s Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds would chair the Council’s 7 August morning debate on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), to which African foreign ministers had been invited to participate. In the afternoon an informal session would follow to generate momentum behind the peace process in the Great Lakes region and the disarmament process of the Democratic Forces of the Liberation of Rwanda.
Also this month the Council would hold a debate on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), briefings on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB), and United Nations Support Mission in Liberia (UNSMIL), as well as consultations on Yemen, Guinea-Bissau, and sanctions on Sudan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
He expected meetings on the crises in Gaza and eastern Ukraine to be added to the work plan during the course of the month as new elements arose in both those areas. Finally, the Council would hold a wrap-up session at month’s end.
Responding to questions about Gaza, he said he could not predict if and when the Council would next take action. The Arab Group had met today on the matter, and he was not certain if it planned to bring the issue back to the Council or take it to the General Assembly. There was no consensus on referring war crimes in Gaza to the International Criminal Court, but the Human Rights Council in Geneva had launched a commission of inquiry into abuses committed by both Israel and the Palestinians.
Regarding Council action on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and its takeover of territory in Syria and Iraq, he said the United States delegation was preparing a press statement on that matter, particularly the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq. The United Kingdom and other Council members also were discussing the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant for the wider Middle East region.
Asked if the Council planned sanctions on South Sudan, he said that while there had been discussion on doing so, the United States delegation, the Council’s penholder on the issue, had not presented a resolution or statement to that effect.
On a memo leaked a couple of months ago about UNAMID not functioning properly and being biased, he said Council members were concerned and had held informal discussions about threats to civilians in Darfur and obstructions put in place by UNAMID. Those discussions would factor into the specific aspects of that mission’s mandate renewal.
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