|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7245th Meeting (PM)
Co-Leaders Brief Security Council on Multi-Country Visiting Missions,
Stressing Need for National Unity Government in South Sudan
Visits to Belgium, Netherlands, Somalia Also Described
The Security Council this afternoon heard briefings from the co-leaders of its visiting mission to Europe and Africa, which took place from 8 to 14 August.
Briefing on the first leg of the mission to Belgium on 9 to 10 August, Michael Bliss (Australia) said that the purpose was to commemorate the centenary of the commencement of the First World War, to pay tribute to the sacrifice of those who served and draw lessons relevant to the Council. Visits to the towns of Dinant, Leuven, Ypres and a military cemetery underlined the futility of armed conflict, the dramatic scale of losses in a war that was supposed to “end all wars”, and the importance of protection of cultural heritage.
The final part of the Belgian leg was a visit to the Poelkapelle military base, where chemical weapons from the First World War continued to be dismantled and destroyed. It served to underline the devastating impact of those weapons and was a timely reminder to the Council of the need to ensure their complete elimination, Mr. Bliss said.
Cristián Barros Melet ( Chile) described the Council’s visit to the Netherlands. The Council met with the International Court of Justice (ICJ); the Special Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Sierra Leone; the International Criminal Court; and the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to express their support for the bodies and to receive updates on their latest work.
He expressed appreciation for the direct exchange between the Council and the ICJ in which issues of sovereignty, borders and emerging issues were discussed, as was recognition of the Court’s universal jurisdiction, implementation of its rulings, and its relationship with other international tribunals. During meetings with the Special Tribunals, their contribution to developing a specific area of international law and fighting impunity was discussed, as was each Special Tribunal’s specific aim.
Meeting with the Criminal Court, the Council learned of the Court’s work against impunity and atrocities. Strengthened cooperation was discussed, with the Council’s prestige and related ability to support the Court’s work emphasized, along with broader cooperation in preliminary examinations and synergy in sanctions use. With the OPCW, the bodies discussed their joint mission to implement Council resolution 2118 (2013). The Council also met with the Dutch Government where members received thanks for approving resolution 2165 (2014).
In his presentation on the mission to South Sudan on 12 and 13 August, David Dunn ( United States) said that the visit to that beleaguered country could be called “an emergency call”. In meetings with President Salva Kiir and other members of the national cabinet, as well as with opposition leader Riek Machar, via videoconference, the Council’s key message was that there was no military solution to the conflict and plans must be acted upon to form a Government of national unity. In addition, the Council stressed the critical need for full cooperation with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). At the conclusion of the meetings there was a sense of “hope but not confidence” that the leaders would take action on the points raised, he said.
Mr. Dunn also recounted a visit to the Malakal camp in which thousands of civilians were being protected by the United Nations and where Council members were moved by the civilians’ dire plight and by the testimonies of civil society and women’s groups. Finally, in meetings with UNMISS staff, the Council paid tribute to their work and assured them of the body’s full support. He also described a stop-over in Nairobi, Kenya, where Council members met with President Uhuru Kenyatta and officials of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) on the situations in Somalia and South Sudan.
Finally, Mark Lyall Grant ( United Kingdom) said the trip to Somalia had focused on progress towards the 2016 election, the participation of women, the security situation and efforts to tackle Al-Shabaab, and the humanitarian situation. It was the first time the Council had visited since 1994 and members welcomed Somalia’s recent progress while underlining the importance of unity within the federal Government. They also underlined the importance of establishing a constitution and other key legislation.
In discussing Al-Shabaab, the need to provide basic services in areas recovered from that group was cited as vital. The Government briefed the Council on its next phase of work in combating Al-Shabaab, he said, adding that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) had underlined their need for attack helicopters. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) also briefed the Council on the humanitarian situation and the underfunding of the United Nations emergency humanitarian fund was also discussed. He expressed a feeling of optimism, despite the immense challenges, stressing that if the Government followed through on its commitments, the Somali people could have the peace and prosperity that they deserved.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:20 p.m.
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