Multilateral Cooperation Vital to Meeting Complex Challenges of Modern World, Senior European Union Official Tells Security Council

9 March 2015
7402nd Meeting (AM)

Multilateral Cooperation Vital to Meeting Complex Challenges of Modern World, Senior European Union Official Tells Security Council

Describing a deep partnership between the United Nations and the European Union, speakers at the Security Council this morning called for strengthening the relationship further in a range of critical areas.

“At a time when we face multiple crises, strengthening this partnership for peace, human rights and sustainable development is more necessary than ever,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the meeting, which also heard a briefing by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Mr. Ban pointed to the importance of partnership with Europe in diplomacy, particularly in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Middle East Peace Process, the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, promotion of talks in Libya and support for United Nations mediation efforts.  In all such efforts, early diplomatic action needed to be better mobilized for conflict prevention.

He also described cooperation in counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism, as well as peacekeeping, for which he noted that European operations had tremendous potential as “bridging mechanisms” for United Nations missions.

For Europe to engage in all such international work, he stressed the importance of the region’s transcending whatever internal frictions it was experiencing, noting as well the need for collective work towards a political resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Ms. Mogherini agreed that multilateral cooperation was critical to meet the complex challenges of the modern world.  “The new global order will be multilateral, or it will not be,” she said.  Affirming that the partnership with the United Nations was key, she underlined the importance of regional partners, notably the Arab League, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the African Union and interlocutors in Asia and Latin America.

With that in mind, she discussed necessary collective action to assist Libya, to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS), to counter extremism, to bring about accountability for grave violations committed against civilian populations and to build respect for international humanitarian and human rights law and democracy.

Noting that war, terror and poverty forced millions to leave their home countries, she acknowledged the need to face the phenomenon of migration under many perspectives:  international aid, crisis management, border control, integration and social inclusion.  “But there is one thing we should never forget:  this is a matter of human lives — saving lives,” she stressed, referring to incidents of migrants drowning in their attempts to reach Europe.  “We cannot let the Mediterranean, the cradle of millennial civilizations, turn into a grave for tens of thousands of innocent people.”

To find political and operational solutions, she said that deeper cooperation among Union Member States was being forged.  At the same time, support for the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were being stepped up.  Europe was doing its part, but all countries must stand up to the challenge.

Describing European cooperation with United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Mali and elsewhere in Africa, she affirmed that the Union was committed to supporting Africa’s efforts to manage its own security, providing over €1.2 billion to support African-led peace operations through the Africa Peace Facilities.

In Africa and elsewhere, she stressed the importance for preventing crises and United Nations and European efforts to support good governance, the fight against corruption and the full respect for constitutional rule.  She also noted European work, under the lead of the United Nations, in fighting Ebola.

In Europe’s neighbourhood itself, she said that the Ukraine crisis was the most serious since the Balkans conflict, work on which had borne fruit in the past 20 years.  She reiterated the European condemnation the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol that aligned with the General Assembly resolution on the matter, and underlined the importance of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

All such current crises, she said, must not distract from the need to resume the Middle East peace process and protect the viability of the two-State solution.  Regional turmoil reinforced the urgency.  In that context, she stressed the importance of taking advantage of what she called a “historical opportunity” to reach an agreement with Iran that guaranteed the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

Finally, she spoke of communality of goals between the Union and the United Nations in formulation of a post-2015 development agenda, in women’s empowerment and in making peacekeeping more effective through updating available tools to meet new challenges.  Holding the same values that led to the founding of the United Nations 70 years ago, Europe, she said, was confident it had a key role in all those areas.  “We will only succeed if we all do our part,” she concluded.

Following Ms. Mogherini’s briefing, Security Council members took the floor to welcome the synergies between the United Nations and the European Union.  Most supported the High Representative’s priorities and several affirmed the need to strengthen the relationship between the world Organization and regional organizations in joint rapid response to emerging crises. 

Angola’s representative, among others, welcomed European support for capacity-building for African security efforts, while Jordan’s representative commended extensive Union efforts in the Middle East and North Africa.  France’s representative said “decisive” actions of the Union were often complementary to those of the Security Council.

The representative of the Russian Federation enumerated many areas of cooperation between his country and Europe, despite differences in areas such as Ukraine.  He stressed the importance of ensuring all that cooperation with regional organizations was conducted under the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter.

Also speaking in that discussion were the representatives of Spain, United Kingdom, Lithuania, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, United States, Venezuela, Nigeria, China, Chad and France.

The meeting began at 11:05 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m.


ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) agreed that the European Union was a community of values and principles, which were shared by various regional organizations, notably for the maintenance of peace and security.  Offering examples of cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations, he cited the Union’s civil and military operations in which bridge organizations had been established, as well as the Union’s trained and equipped missions.  Challenges included the streamlining of the rapid response modalities as well as triangular work among the European Union, United Nations and the African Union.  It was important for Iran to have access to the peaceful development of nuclear energy, while that country’s neighbours should be able to live in peace.  In Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was playing an important role, with the Union’s support.  Africa and Europe shared the goals of combating terrorism, radicalism and piracy, and he supported the Union’s efforts to making the African peace and security architecture more operational.  He also encouraged continued joint work between the Council and the Union.

MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said the European Union — like the United Nations — had arisen as a direct consequence of the Second World War.  The echoes of Article 1 of the United Nations Charter were clear to see:  both organizations championed human rights, the rule of law, development and peaceful dispute settlement.  Through such efforts, they both had fostered international peace and security, as had been seen in Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic.  The Union’s force in Bosnia and Herzegovina had replaced United Nations peacekeepers.  That had allowed that country’s citizens to choose their own future, he said, while also noting that EUFOR ALTHEA, the European Union military operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was vital to prevent the violent return of divisions that had once plagued the region.  Elsewhere, the role of the “E3+3” in negotiations with Iran offered another example of how such efforts could preserve international peace and security.  In some situations where the United Nations was unable to act, the Union had done so, as had been seen in Ukraine.  Implementation of the Minsk accords must be monitored by the OSCE if trust was to be built.

ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said cooperation with regional and subregional organizations had strengthened United Nations efforts to maintain international peace and security.  Today’s security challenges demanded strengthened cooperation in crisis management, mediation, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.  The Africa-European Union partnership had enhanced dialogue between the African Union Peace and Security Council and its counterpart in Europe.  The European Union’s capacity-building efforts in Somalia, and support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), had been instrumental in bringing stability to that country.  In Mali, the European Union was committed to supporting the political, security, humanitarian and development levels for implementing the Sahel Strategy.  Welcoming the 19 January launch of the Common Security and Defence Policy mission in Mali, he supported the Union’s lifting of restrictions on cooperation in Guinea-Bissau.  He urged the High Representative to brief the Council again on order to enhance cooperation between the two bodies.

NIDA JAKUBONĖ (Lithuania) said the European Union had been the “most reliable” partner in promoting United Nations principles.  It was only through institutional cooperation that effective counter-terrorism policies could be shaped and resolution 2178 (2014) provided important guidance in that regard.  Lithuania recently joined the Counter-Messaging Working Group of the Counter-ISIL/Da’esh Coalition, in line with the Union’s strengthened commitment in the field.  More systematic interaction among the United Nations, European Union and other regional and subregional organizations was crucial for ensuring effective response to global challenges, such as Ebola.  Welcoming the High Representative’s efforts to reach a solution to Iran’s nuclear issue, she said the Union also was working with the United Nations to facilitate a political solution to the Syrian conflict.  On Ukraine, the European Union and the United Nations should continue providing support to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.

MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) affirmed the importance of United Nations cooperation with regional organizations in today’s complex environment.  Regional challenges required regional solutions in cooperation with the world Organization, particularly in the area of peace and security.  He welcomed the work of the European Union in that context, noting the common values held by the Union and the United Nations.  The Union was particularly commendable because it realized that the security of any one region depended on the stability of all regions.  In that regard, he paid tribute to the Union’s efforts to bring about peace in various situations in the Middle East and North Africa, including its role as the biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority, and noted European cooperation with his country on several initiatives.

VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation), also supporting cooperation with regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the Charter, said that there was added value in much of the European Union’s work with the United Nations.  Despite the fact that relations with Europe were “currently being tried”, there were many areas, from counter-terrorism to peacekeeping to the Iranian nuclear issue, on which his country was continuing to cooperate with the Union.  “We are interested in a full-fledged cooperation with Brussels,” he emphasized, as long as it took into account the interests of all parties.  In that context, anti-Russian rhetoric was regrettable.  He also cautioned that all cooperation must be carried out in compliance with Security Council resolutions.  On Ukraine, in addition, he questioned Union actions in that country, including seeming support for the commemoration of groups connected to the Nazis in the Second World War.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said it was necessary to keep strengthening the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, particularly the European Union, which he added shared many concerns with his country, such as the priority of human rights.  Chile had also worked with Europe in counter-piracy efforts and on other initiatives.  While welcoming European support in African peacekeeping and capacity-building, he also stressed that it was important for all such efforts to respect the principle of national ownership.  He also underlined the importance of regional organizations in promoting the participation of women in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.

HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia) supported expanded cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, citing the European Union’s vital role in advancing efforts towards a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  Welcoming the Union’s financial support in building institutions and infrastructure in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as Sweden’s recognition of the State of Palestine, he urged the European Union to be at the forefront of ending impunity in that conflict.  He called on the bloc, as a Quartet member, to foster resumed negotiations on the peace process.  Recognizing the Union’s pivotal role in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, he encouraged all parties to continue dialogue.  In Africa, he acknowledged the Union’s sharing of technical expertise to ensure the success of electoral processes, including in Burundi, and welcomed its support for the “Algiers” process.  Welcoming efforts by France and Germany to engage with parties to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, he called on the Union to facilitate a political solution.

CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand) said it was clear that local perspectives were essential to the shared goal of maintaining international peace and security, noting that each regional organization could assist the Council’s work, regardless of size or resources.  She acknowledged the constructive role of the “E3+3” in negotiations to achieve a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, as well as the Union’s efforts to negotiate a two-State solution between Israel and Palestine, welcoming also its role in helping to manage the humanitarian impact of the Syrian crisis.  In Africa, the European Union had added value to the Council’s work through its long-term commitment in Mali and Somalia.  The Union should maintain its focus on conflict prevention, working with regional organizations.  A firm belief in more active conflict prevention under the Charter’s Chapter VI was among the reasons why New Zealand had sought membership on the Council.

DAVID PRESSMAN (United States), citing “medieval barbarism” in Syria, Iraq and northern Nigeria, said Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS) had a disgust for modernity, using differences of any kind to justify crimes that shocked the conscience.  There should be a united resolve to confront those who conspired or participated in those groups, he said, welcoming the Union’s €1 billion package to address the situations in Syria and Iraq, and the fight against ISIL/ISIS.  Countering violent extremism must be an active process of engagement at the local level, building resilience in communities targeted for recruitment and highlighting paths of peace for the vulnerable.  Stating that peace in Europe had been challenged, with the Russian Federation’s sponsoring of instability and redrawing of borders in Ukraine, he commended the Union’s sanctions aimed at pressuring the Russian Federation to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.  In peacekeeping, he said the United Nations needed advanced military support, noting the Union’s role in battling piracy off the Horn of Africa, training troops in Mali, strengthening security in the Central African Republic and building civilian capacity in Niger.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) commended the efforts of the European Union and other regional organizations in peacebuilding and in the prevention of conflicts.  He supported a strong relationship with the United Nations and the Union under the provisions of Chapter VIII.  He welcomed, further, European efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis in Ukraine and encouraged further action of the Union to help bring about a Palestinian State, to promote dialogue in Libya and to bring about stability in many African situations.

U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) acknowledged the pivotal role of the European Union in international peace and security in conjunction with the United Nations and the African Union.  She commended, in particular, the Union’s initiatives in the Central African Republic and Mali and its work in the Sahel to enable sustainable development and combat violent extremism and terrorism.  She also welcomed its work in the Balkans.  In development assistance, she paid tribute to a wide range of efforts being supported by the European Union, which she said “touched the lives of millions of people around the world”.  The European model of cooperation was one of collective action.

WANG MIN (China) supported the Union’s constructive role in supporting United Nations values such as the peaceful settlement of disputes.  He stressed the importance of compliance with United Nations principles such as national sovereignty in all such efforts.  He hoped that cooperation on “win-win” objectives would continue, commending European work to strengthen collective efforts for international peace and security.  Noting plans for strengthened partnerships between China and the European Union, he said that his country would continue to support the Union’s efforts to complement the efforts of the United Nations in peace and security.

GOMBO TCHOULI (Chad), affirming the primary responsibility of the Security Council for maintenance of international peace and security as well as the importance of the partnership provisions of Chapter VIII, praised the relationship between the United Nations and the European Union.  He encouraged the strengthening of such cooperation, particularly triangular cooperation that included the African Union.  Prevention and settlement of conflicts, the suppression of cross-border crime and other issues were important subjects of such joint efforts.  He welcomed in particular European efforts in the Central African Republic, expressing concern over the planned reduction of forces, and called for agreements in Mali to be implemented.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said the European Union was an essential partner to the Council through complementary action.  Indeed, just last year, the Council welcomed the Union’s training of Malian security forces.  Paying tribute to the EUFOR mission in the Central African Republic, he said the Union was also a partner in the fight against Boko Haram, and it played a crucial role in talks with Iran, aimed at finding a comprehensive solution to that crisis.  The same was true for the crisis in Ukraine, where the European Union had resorted to sanctions not to punish but rather to prompt stakeholders into dialogue.  It also had been active there on the diplomatic and humanitarian levels.  In Libya, the Union was backing the political dialogue aimed at finding a comprehensive settlement to the conflict there.  It also was promoting bilateral dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, as well as helping Bosnia and Herzegovina foster stability.

Taking the floor again, Ms. MOGHERINI assured delegates of the European Union’s readiness to maintain its partnership with the United Nations, and, specifically, the Council in the coming years.

For information media. Not an official record.