Recommitment to the United Nations’ central role in international cooperation to maintain peace, along with work on a range of global situations now of concern, would be the focus of China’s February presidency of the Security Council, the country’s Permanent Representative said this afternoon.
“As we approach the seventieth anniversary of the Organization’s founding, it is time for the United Nations to look at how it could best work to maximize the opportunities we face to foster a new type of international relations based on cooperation, multilateralism and Charter principles,” Ambassador Liu Jieyi told correspondents at the monthly briefing on the Council’s programme of work.
In that light, along with meetings on some 20 other topics, the presidency planned an open debate on 23 February to reflect on the history of efforts by the United Nations to maintain international peace and security through the Security Council and other tools, and to foster cooperative, integrative approaches to face current and emerging challenges, he said.
Some of the principles to be considered were, he said, non-interference in the affairs of sovereign States, equal participation of States, national ownership of assistance efforts, involvement of regional organizations in resolving disputes and international democracy and rule of law. It was an opportunity, however, for Member States to discuss their own priorities in the maintenance of peace and security. No formal outcome was expected.
Concerning other items on the agenda, he said that there would be consultations on Syria on 5 February in regard to political efforts and elimination of chemical weapons, with Special Representative Staffan de Mistura and Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane briefing, respectively. There would be an open briefing on humanitarian issues on 25 February.
Asked about current diplomatic initiatives on Syria, he said that he supported all international efforts to promote a Syrian-led political process towards a lasting solution for that country, including the recent meetings held in Moscow. In that regard, it was up to Syrians to decide who should participate in negotiations.
Among the other briefings he highlighted were one on the situation in Yemen, on 11 February, along with consideration of the sanction Committee for the country, the mandate of which is due to be extended. There would be the monthly consideration of the Middle East, including the Palestinian question on 14 February, and a briefing tomorrow on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
Among the other briefings he highlighted were those on the 1718 sanctions Committee regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, on other sanctions regimes and on collaboration between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The Quarterly debate on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) would take place on 6 February, he said. Adoptions that month would include mandate extensions for the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), the United Nations peacebuilding office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) and the Panel of Experts for the Sudan Sanctions Committee (the “1591 Committee”). Ukraine, Burundi, Libya and many other situations could well come up also during the month, he acknowledged.
In answer to a correspondent’s questions on Palestinian issues, he said that he would ensure that any draft resolution submitted by members received the appropriate consideration in the effort of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. On Boko Haram, he welcomed African efforts to fight the terrorist group, but noted that the role of the United Nations in the effort had not yet been determined.
In regard to questions on the open debate on the maintenance of peace, he said that it could encompass terrorism or any particular challenges that Member States brought up, but the meeting was meant to take a comprehensive look at today’s security landscape and to seek solutions in a broad context.
Asked whether development and human rights should be discussed in the Council under a comprehensive perspective of maintenance of peace, he said that ideas on those issues should be communicated to the bodies that had greater competency for them. “Anything the Council does should contribute to solutions to the problems it faces,” he stressed.