Press Conference by Security Council President on July Programme of Work

3 July 2017

Press Conference by Security Council President on July Programme of Work

The Security Council would consider questions spanning four continents this month, and its work would include action on peacekeeping and political mandates, as well as holding two open debates and a briefing on Syria, on the heels of peace talks expected to resume tomorrow, Liu Jieyi (China), its President for July, said at a Headquarters press conference today.

Releasing the Council’s monthly work programme, he said the 30 meetings on the schedule would be dealing with issues in the Middle East, Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean and Europe.  More specifically, the Council would focus on Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Colombia, Haiti and Cyprus.

On 10 July, he continued, the Council was scheduled to establish its second special political mission for Colombia to monitor implementation of the final peace agreement.  On 17 and 24 July, it would extend the mandates of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), respectively.

On Syria, the President said the Council would focus mainly on three dimensions:  the political process, chemical weapons, and humanitarian conditions.  July was an especially crucial month for the political process, with new peace talks scheduled to begin tomorrow in Kazakhstan.  The Council expected to hear Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, brief members on the latest developments in that country

Regarding the situation in Yemen, he expressed hope that the Council would help bring the parties to the negotiating table in order to resolve outstanding issues through political means and abandon the notion of a military solution.  A briefing on Yemen was scheduled for 12 July, he added.

Two open debates were scheduled for the month, he said.  The first, on 18 July, would focus on “enhancing African capacities in the areas of peace and security”, a continuation of the Bolivian June presidency’s focus on cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union.  Egypt and Ethiopia, who would hold the August and September presidencies, respectively, were also likely to hold debates on Africa-related issues, he said.  “We always seek African solutions to African problems.”

The second open debate, scheduled for 25 July, would focus on the Palestinian question, he said, expressing concern over the direction in which that situation was heading.  The debate should generate positive momentum to move both sides to negotiation, which in turn would lead to a lasting two-State solution, he added.

Asked about challenges relating to cooperation, the President emphasized every Member State’s duty to support multilateralism, noting that the entire international community shared “a common future and a shared destiny”.  That notion must override all differences, he added.

Concerning the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he said the focus was on three elements:  denuclearization, ensuring security, and resuming negotiations.  If tensions continued to rise at the current rate, the consequences could be disastrous, he warned.  Denuclearization, security and a peace plan could potentially address the concerns of all parties on the Peninsula, he said, underlining that applying sanctions was not the only way to deal with the matter.  “We have always been opposed to unilateral sanctions,” he stressed.

When asked whether the Council would support Haiti’s recovery from the cholera outbreak, the President said the Council was focused on phasing out the peacekeeping mission there.  Funding the recovery was not up to the Council, but rather the General Assembly, where ways to provide support for the Haitian people were under discussion.

Asked whether the July presidency would push support for the Syria political talks in Astana and Geneva, he said the 15-member Council would continue to promote political dialogue and try to encourage a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned process.  It was important that the Council encourage whatever positive developments that may emerge from the Astana and Geneva processes, he added.

For the Council’s full programme of work, please see www.un.org/en/sc/programme/.

For information media. Not an official record.