Speakers Voice Support, but Stress Adherence to United Nations Charter Principles
The United Nations was committed to strengthening its partnership with regional organizations in Eurasia and Central Asia on peace and security matters, even though their strategies may sometimes differ, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council today.
“That is why it is so important to deepen our strategic dialogue, forge common approaches to emerging crises, and strive to improve our collective responses to peace and security threats,” he said, as the Council discussed cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.
Before the Council was a concept note prepared for the meeting (document S/2016/867), in which the Russian Federation’s Council presidency for October explained that regional organizations were seen as increasingly valuable in seeking peaceful political solutions to emerging conflicts in their respective areas. For that reason, the Council regularly held meetings on cooperation with the African Union, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union. In that vein, today’s meeting would discuss how cooperation with the three Eurasian regional organizations could be strengthened in areas of common interest.
Also briefing the Council were Nikolai Bordyuzha, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Rashid Alimov, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and Sergey Ivanov, Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Secretary-General Ban and the three briefers all highlighted the existing cooperation between the United Nations and the three regional organizations in combating terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime, and in countering other threats to peace and security in Eurasia and Central Asia, including though the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. While resources, capabilities and mandates varied — and regional organizations might sometimes have “particular challenges that could limit their role as honest brokers” — the Secretary-General emphasized the importance of each entity using its respective strengths. “Let us use this valuable Security Council meeting to advance our partnerships for the sake of the peoples of these regions and our world,” he added.
Following the briefings, Security Council members expressed their strong support for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in matters of peace and security, under the framework of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and in cognizance of the Council’s primary role. Many speakers described the work of their respective regional organizations, with some calling for strengthening the cooperation between the Commonwealth of Independent States and Collective Security Treaty Organization entities, particularly in fighting terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and in other security areas.
Some speakers, however, while welcoming cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, stressed that all entities involved must abide by Charter principles. The representatives of Ukraine and the United States said that, in the case of Georgia and Ukraine, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Collective Security Treaty Organization had been unable to defend or advocate for the principle of territorial integrity. The United Kingdom’s representative called for the application of standards to organizations cooperating with the United Nations.
The Russian Federation’s representative, speaking in his national capacity, said that if such criteria were to be applied, they should also apply to other regional organizations. Given the important work that the three organizations before the Council were undertaking in a region fraught with threats, ties with them should be strengthened and the knowledge of their valuable cooperation disseminated.
The representatives of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan spoke in their capacities as Chairs of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Also speaking today were representatives of China, Japan, Uruguay, Angola, Spain, Egypt, Malaysia, New Zealand, France, Venezuela, Senegal, India, Iran, Pakistan, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Ahead of his statement on cooperation with regional organizations, Secretary-General Ban made a brief statement concerning the International Criminal Court.
The meeting began at 10:38 a.m. and ended at 1:45 p.m.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, ahead of his remarks on the matter at hand, expressed regret that three African countries had stated their intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, which could send a wrong message regarding their commitment to justice. Citing the Court’s gains in ending impunity, he said challenges could best be addressed not by diminishing support, but by strengthening it from within.
Turning to the topic of cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, he said recent major reviews of United Nations efforts emphasized the urgent need to prioritize conflict prevention in a collective manner, drawing on regional and global partnerships. In that context and in line with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, intensified interactions had been sought with the heads of regional and subregional organizations, he said, noting that in Central Asia, the Organization had been in close contact with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
He went on to note that those organizations regularly exchanged information with the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia on terrorism, violent extremism, drug trafficking and other issues of shared interest and concern. Petko Draganov, Special Representative for Central Asia and Head of the United Nations Regional Centre, met regularly with their leaders to discuss their joint agenda. The Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) were cooperating with those organizations on drug trafficking, irregular migration and counter-terrorism. They had discussed how peacekeeping challenges could be tackled more effectively together and worked to promote stability in Afghanistan through the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.
The United Nations was committed to strengthening that productive partnership even though strategies might differ, he continued. Resources, capabilities and mandates varied and regional organizations might sometimes have “particular challenges that could limit their role as honest brokers” he noted. “That is why it is so important to deepen our strategic dialogue, forge common approaches to emerging crises, and strive to improve our collective responses to peace and security threats, “ he emphasized. “In that way, we can make the most of our respective strengths,” he added, calling on all to “use this valuable Security Council meeting to advance our partnerships for the sake of the peoples of these regions and our world”.
NIKOLAI BORDYUZHA, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), gave an overview of that organization’s history and its development of a collective security strategy focused on coordinating the work of senior officials of its member States and cooperation with the United Nations, other organizations and bilateral partners. Rapid deployment mechanisms were a particular focus, he said, adding that international terrorism and extremism, illicit trafficking in narcotics and persons, cybercrime and conflict prevention were also major concerns. He described the organization’s efforts in tracking terrorists, training for counter-terrorism, monitoring migration flows and other areas.
He said the organization had established a crisis centre and was strengthening coordination with crisis centres of the United Nations. Noting that cooperation with the United Nations was enshrined in the CSTO’s observer status in the General Assembly, he described contacts with high-level officials of the Organization, including the Secretary-General, and expressed hope that close relations would continue with his successor. He also described cooperation with the UNODC on countering narcotics and with the Executive Directorate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee on countering terrorism. Particularly broad, he said, was cooperation with the Central Asia Regional Centre and with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in training peacekeepers from Member States and other efforts. Enhancing the relationships should include more mutual briefings and information-sharing, closer contacts among existing organizations, establishing an effective system to end the illegal drug trade, and dealing with the problems of drug addiction that drove it, among other efforts.
RASHID ALIMOV, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said the organization was implementing a model of intergovernmental cooperation based on the “Shanghai spirit” that encompassed the principles of mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation and development. Members of the organization believed the United Nations was the main international platform for maintaining international peace and security, and they believed in enhancing its coordinating role in international affairs.
Among the main priorities of the organization were ensuring regional security and stability; counteracting terrorism, separatism and extremism; and addressing illegal trade and trans-border crime, he said. It advocated greater coordination under the aegis of the United Nations to address the terrorist threat. He described how terrorist organizations had been destroyed, and terrorists arrested, extradited and sentenced, by relevant bodies under the coordination of regional anti-terrorist structures also known as RATS. He emphasized the importance of stability in Afghanistan and the organization’s readiness, as expressed in its Tashkent Declaration, to support an intra-Afghan settlement. He went on to discuss the confiscation of many tonnes of heroin, marijuana and other drugs and underscored cooperation with the UNODC.
SERGEY IVANOV, Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said the constructive potential of the Commonwealth had been recognized as an important element of extensive international cooperation. CIS representatives regularly attended United Nations meetings and maintained contacts with its specialized agencies, he said, giving several examples. CIS member States actively participated in all United Nations activities. Economic cooperation was their priority, but now — given growing international security threats — security cooperation needed to be addressed. New hotbeds of tension aggravated protracted conflicts and serious crises, permanently endangering not only individual countries but also entire regions.
Terrorist threats required increased collective counter-measures, including the relevant efforts of regional organizations, he said. The Commonwealth was concerned by serious risks near its external borders, including the Afghan-Pakistani region. External interference and the export of “colour revolutions” and artificial regime change had meanwhile plunged once-stable countries into chaos. At the same time, the information space of CIS countries had come under aggressive attacks from some States trying to use to their domination of the global information network for economic, political and military goals. Given such an environment, cooperation between the Commonwealth’s member States and the family of United Nations institutions and other international organizations should be deepened and expanded. Concluding, he said it would be appropriate to resume the practice of conferences and high-level meetings between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe that had been held annually since 1993 in order to engage in high-level dialogue to elaborate common approaches to address them.
LIU JIEYI (China) emphasized the essential importance of Chapter VIII partnerships with regional organizations in today’s complex security environment. They must abide by the principles of the United Nations Charter under a well-developed framework, and the partners should be supported in their work in their respective regional efforts. National sovereignty must be respected and the unique advantages of each regional organization should be applied in efforts aimed at the peaceful settlement of disputes. The three organizations under discussion today had been valuable in their region, he said, noting that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in particular, had produced excellent results in its short history. It had strengthened its relationships within the region as well as internationally through openness and good-neighbourly relations, thereby providing a model for regional relations. China had recently adopted measures to comprehensively enhance regional cooperation in development and other areas, including security, he said, reaffirming his country’s readiness to work towards a new order of international relations for durable peace, security and prosperity.
YOSHIFUMI OKAMURA (Japan), affirming support for regional and international cooperation on peace and security matters, emphasized that the activities of all organizations participating in mutual efforts must be in line with United Nations principles. He said that his country had strong ties with members of the Eurasian organizations under discussion. Detailing Japan’s ties with OSCE as well, particularly in its activities relating to Central Asia, he said mutual trust and confidence was the key to stability in the region, expressing strong hope that all organizations would redouble their efforts to that end.
ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), affirming the need for coordinated responses from the international community to complex modern challenges, said his region had a very long tradition of cooperation through regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and many others. There was broad potential for complementarity between such organizations and the United Nations, including in matters of peace and security. Mutual efforts with the organizations under discussion today on early warning, humanitarian affairs, counter-terrorism and other areas were indeed valuable, he said. Bearing in mind the particularities of each region and the mandate of the organizations concerned, Uruguay supported the continued strengthening of cooperation with regional organizations.
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said that experience had demonstrated the value of cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in strengthening the conflict-prevention work of the United Nations. The efforts of the organizations before the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States in such areas as counter-terrorism, small arms and light weapons, cyberterrorism, drug trafficking and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were greatly valued. It would be constructive to strengthening and deepening interactions on the basis of Article VIII of the United Nations Charter, he said, adding that they could strengthen the international community’s efforts to address both current challenges and future threats. He encouraged the three organizations to use their influence and that of their member States to pursue cooperation with the United Nations and other partners.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said that cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union, African Union and the OSCE had reached a level of maturity. In the case of other younger organizations, cooperation with the world body was less structured, which was case with the three organizations under discussion today. Citing the very active efforts of the United Nations Centre for Preventative Diplomacy in Central Asia, he said it was playing a prominent role in promoting cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in a very satisfactory manner.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said his country was a member of several regional organizations in its attempts to strengthen relations with different parts of the world, including Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Egypt enjoyed observer status with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and was pleased with that body’s activities concerning terrorism, drug trafficking and small arms and light weapons. Egypt also supported the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s role vis-à-vis terrorism, drug trafficking and cross-border organized crime. As for the Commonwealth of Independent States, he noted its initiatives in such areas as free movement of goods, going on to urge the Council and the Secretariat to communicate regularly with regional organizations, including through annual consultations.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) said that enhancing relations with regional organizations on matters of peace and security was indeed a worthwhile goal, given today’s complex security environment. Each of the organizations under discussion today had developed deep knowledge of the situation in its region and he urged enhanced relations with the Central Asia Regional Centre, particularly on conflict prevention, the fight against terrorism and illicit trafficking and the building of regional stability. He supported the resolution under consideration in the General Assembly to strengthen such relationships, and he stressed that, in working towards common goals, differences should be set aside.
GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand) expressed strong support for active and regular cooperation between the Security Council and regional and subregional organizations in preventing and resolving conflict. As today’s briefers had made clear, the peace and security challenges facing Central Asian countries could not be met effectively without close cooperation between the countries of the region and strong partnerships with the international community, particularly given the range of ongoing tensions, including those related to Afghanistan. He encouraged regional players to continue coordinated efforts and use all tools to support peace and reconciliation efforts and the fight against terrorism and criminal networks, including trafficking of drugs, money and arms. The Central Asia Regional Centre had an important role in facilitating international support for all those efforts. Reginal cooperation for security should also encourage intra-regional trade, which remained extremely low. Commenting that considerable scope remained to enhance cooperation and more fully benefit the people of Central Asia, he expressed hope that today’s discussion would represent a constructive step in that direction.
ALEXIS LAMEK (France), describing the major challenges of the Central Asia region, said that cooperation was crucial among all actors in the area, with the Central Asia Regional Centre providing a valuable contribution to implementing the global anti-terrorist strategy and bringing together partners in many efforts. He noted that the European Union had also played an important role in the Central Asian region in promoting the stability of Afghanistan and fighting drug trafficking and other ills.
HENRY ALFREDO SUÁREZ MORENO (Venezuela) said cooperation between the United Nations and Security Council and regional and subregional organizations helped the multilateral approach to resolving conflicts. Primordial responsibility for maintaining peace and security lied with the Security Council, but regional organizations had a closer view of conflicts and their underlying causes. Venezuela firmly believed that regional bodies and subregional organizations like the three today played a fundamental role in promoting dialogue and cooperation. They should work in close cooperation with the United Nations as strategic allies. He commended the efforts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization in combating such scourges in Afghanistan as terrorism, violent extremism and drug trafficking in coordination with that country’s Government.
OLEH HERASYMENKO (Ukraine), citing examples of positive cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations, said efforts should be substantially mainstreamed since the nature and structure of current initiatives had often been undermined by the interests of some Council members. While some regional organizations worked to prevent, manage and resolves crises, others tended to abstain from such initiatives and politicize their activities due to some of their members’ actions. Among several concerns, he said Collective Security Treaty Organization, CIS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization members had demonstrated a lack of will to effectively respond to conflicts in the region. Meanwhile, the Russian Federation had continued to blatantly violate the charters of the United Nations, Collective Security Treaty Organization and CIS, and international law. Those organizations were currently pretending that there was no Russian aggression against Ukraine, no occupation of Crimea, no de facto occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and no war crimes being committed. Calling on member States of those organizations to speak up collectively, he said their voices were important to a common drive aimed at defending the Charter and the credibility of cooperation efforts. The Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine had clearly demonstrated the insufficiency of mechanisms of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, he said, underlining a need to develop such tools to shorten the response time for preventing and settling conflicts.
MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said that strong coordinated action between the United Nations, regional organizations and partner States had brought peace and mitigated conflict in many parts of the world. Regional groups were a force multiplier. However, such organizations were strong when they were not dominated by a few members. In the case of Georgia and Ukraine, the CIS and the Collective Security Treaty Organization had been unable to defend or advocate the principle of territorial integrity. She said the United States record of promoting strong cooperation with regional organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the African Union, the European Union, the OSCE and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), was clear and unwavering. However, in considering strengthening cooperation with other regional organizations, it was imperative to ask whether the activities of those organizations advanced the purposes and principles of the United Nations, whether their decision-making reflected the diversity of their member States and whether they had the capacity to respond to regional crises.
PETER WILSON (United Kingdom), describing the complex challenges of Central Asia, including those of insecurity, environmental damage, corruption and organized crime, strongly supported cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations there. Such organizations must uphold United Nations principles, however. He said valuable contributions in the region were being made by the OSCE in that regard, as well as the Council of Europe and the European Union, including in the area of sustainability of natural resources. For further strengthened partnership with countries of the region, he looked forward to working with Kazakhstan when it joined the Security Council at the beginning of next year.
COUMBA GAYE (Senegal) said that today’s meeting was an opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, which were a link between the local and international levels and were helpful in tackling a range of issues. She praised the work of the Central Asia Regional Centre in bringing together the actors in its region.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said that his country had made the meeting a central meeting of its presidency because it dealt with many of the burning issues on the Council’s agenda. All three organizations had been engaged in mutually beneficial cooperation with the United Nations. The deficit of knowledge of such ongoing cooperation between the organizations under discussion had not been useful, nor had attempts to marginalize the organizations. There had been mention by some speakers this morning of criteria for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, but if those criteria were applied, NATO would be ineligible. Membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization was strictly voluntary and there was no coercion involved.
Meanwhile, he said, the threats to regional security posed by terrorism required strengthened cooperation, as did the chronic instability in Afghanistan, which affected many countries of the region, in relationship to terrorism and drug trafficking. Collective Security Treaty Organization countries continued to enhance cooperation on those issues, and the expertise of the organizations should be fully utilized by the United Nations in those areas as well as in peacekeeping, given the importance of training future peacekeepers. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization had also done much valuable work, which would be strengthened with the planned membership of India and Pakistan. He added that closer economic cooperation in Central Asia was sorely needed; the existing organizations could be seen as a prologue to broader regional cooperation.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan), speaking on behalf of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said the organization’s member States had been actively developing contacts and cooperation with other countries, as well as with regional and international organizations. In accordance with the principle of openness, procedures were under way to admit India and Pakistan as full members, he reported. The rapidly changing world situation was characterized by ever-increasing geopolitical tensions, intensifying terrorism, separatism and extremism that negatively affected the entire system of international relations.
Under such conditions, the United Nations remained the leading international organization for the maintenance of global security and the main platform for addressing inter-State and other international issues, he continued. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization stood for further strengthening of the Security Council’s leading role in the maintenance of international peace and security and continued extensive consultations with it in the search for a “package solution” to the issue of reforming the Council in order to enhance its transparency and effectiveness. All disputes should be resolved peacefully through friendly negotiations and agreements between the parties concerned without external interference, he emphasized.
ANDREI DAPKIUNAS (Belarus), speaking on behalf of member States of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said the organization — whose membership represented more than half of the world’s population — supported promoting an effective partnership with the United Nations in the economic and security spheres. It was an important partner of the international community, having developed an effective multifaceted structure with the capacity to respond to contemporary challenges and threats. Fruitful cooperation with the United Nations system was a first priority, based on progress already achieved. In the near future, the Collective Security Treaty Organization would be submitting proposals on joint actions with the United Nations in peacekeeping.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said integration with CIS would be the only path for Belarus. That organization had, since its creation 25 years ago, dealt with many challenges related to the break-up of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He went on to note that, since July 2015, Belarus had been an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It was cooperating with that organization and it was ready to become its western gate. India’s and Pakistan’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization had enhanced that body’s authority and potential.
TANMAYA LAL (India) said that security problems, including terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational crime, often spilled over borders, and regional and subregional groups could play an important role in facilitating closer international cooperation in countering such threats. As a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, whose membership spanned from the Pacific region to Europe, India could contribute its capacities in trade, investment and other spheres to the creation of widespread synergies among its member States, she said. Effective partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations must be rooted in respect for regional processes, complementarity and a division of labour based on comparative advantage. Under the United Nations Charter, regional and subregional organizations must make every effort to help their member States settle disputes in peaceful ways, in cooperation with the United Nations, as appropriate, she said, emphasizing that cooperation should encompass all relevant international peace and security issues, including the fight against terrorism.
MIRGUL MOLDOISAEVA (Kyrgyzstan), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Commonwealth of Independent States, said the organization was founded on the principles of the United Nations Charter and its membership was committed to working together in facing the region’s current complex threats, including extremism and drug trafficking. Its member States supported settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan by the Afghan people themselves, with the United Nations playing a central role.
She went on to state that Commonwealth member States were participants in the full range of United Nations efforts and were signatories to many international treaties. The resolution to be adopted by the General Assembly during the current session should enhance the effectiveness of coordination between the Commonwealth member States and particular United Nations agencies, she said, adding that she trusted that such coordination would continue to have a positive impact on world peace and security.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), affirming the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in matters of international peace and security, said the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization operated in a vast region with huge political influences. Recounting the areas in which they had supported the international community’s efforts in the region, including on counter-terrorism and organized crime matters, he said the United Nations should continue to build its coordination and interaction with regional and subregional organizations on the basis of Chapter VIII of the Charter, while those organizations should also try to “align their potentials with the terms of engaging in accordance with the United Nations Charter”.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said the international order established after the Second World War was falling apart, but a new order had yet to emerge. While the United Nations remained indispensable, it faced the imposing task of dealing simultaneously with a variety of opportunities and challenges. It could therefore benefit from enhanced cooperation with regional and subregional intergovernmental organizations. Noting that Pakistan had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, paving the way for its full membership, she called for enhanced dialogue and cooperation between that entity and the United Nations since they shared the same purposes and principles. “The United Nations provides the umbrella under which regional organizations can promote cooperation with each other in advancing their objectives of peace, stability and prosperity,” she said, adding that the principles contained in the United Nations Charter remained the foundation upon which nations could cooperate across regions in an interdependent world.
ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia), associating himself with the statement of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said no country — especially those with modest capacities — could effectively pursue its national agenda without engaging with others. The United Nations was a critical forum for interregional engagement, and Armenia was a participant in its peacekeeping missions. Armenia welcomed the expanded cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, particularly between their respective Secretariats. He went on to welcome United Nations support for the established format for negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh, expressing regret that Azerbaijan had raised tensions in that regard, launching an April military aggression in violation of a trilateral ceasefire agreement.
TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said important cooperation had been forged with regional organizations in promoting peace, but significant challenges remained in terms of shaping that cooperation. Not all organizations were able to enlist their member States to comply with their statutory obligations, and there were instances in which States in violation of international law abused their membership in regional organizations. Emphasizing that collective defence organizations must avoid ambiguity when seeking to coordinate efforts with the United Nations, he said the world body should not be misused by those committing grave violations of international law. In that regard, he said, it was regrettable that Armenia had used today’s debate to deny the crimes it had committed in the course of its aggression against Azerbaijan.