The Secretary-General’s briefing on his participation in the African Union Summit was among the highlights of a February densely packed with meetings and discussions, Security Council President Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine) told fellow members during an end-of-month “wrap up” meeting today.
Recalling that occasion, he said: “Such meetings on a regular basis would strengthen immensely the relationship between the Council and the Secretary-General.” He also described the Council’s efforts to address developments in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, as well as initiatives to improve its working methods.
Sebastiano Cardi (Italy) described the Secretary-General’s involvement with the Council on 2 and 24 February as a “game changer” and best practice that should be pursued as a way to make meetings more policy-oriented. “I have found the Council to be more united than I had been told it would be,” he added.
On that point, Petr V. Iliichev (Russian Federation) said his delegation had prepared a press statement following a briefing on 2 February, but due to a refusal to recognize regional organizations, no agreement had been reached. That did not convey the right message to the Secretary-General, who had made preventive diplomacy the crux of his activities, he noted.
Other speakers argued that the relationship between the Council and the Secretary-General was growing stronger. Joakim Vaverka (Sweden), emphasizing the existence of ideas for making the Council more effective, said the Ukrainian presidency had put those ideas into practice with the use of agreed press elements as a way to increase transparency. Briefings by representatives of civil society and regional organizations had brought in a field perspective and enriched the quality of the Council’s decisions, he added.
Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia) highlighted the Council’s unanimous support for resolutions 2340 (2017) on the situation in South Sudan, 2341 (2017) on the protection of critical infrastructure, 2342 (2017) on the situation in Yemen, and 2343 (2017) on the situation in Guinea-Bissau, noting that they had all resulted from dialogue and negotiation.
Nevertheless, said Elbio Rosselli (Uruguay), it was crucial that the Secretariat distribute as much documentation as possible ahead of closed meetings. It was also unacceptable to deny access to information that would be essential for determining positions and taking action.
Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), speaking also for Ethiopia and Senegal, urged the Council to adopt the concept of “sustaining peace” in a practical and applied manner, and as a target and process. He advocated a paradigm shift away from managing conflicts to addressing their root causes, in accordance with different contexts, while ensuring national reconciliation.
Discussing the European theatre, delegates commented on the 2 February emergency meeting on the situation in eastern Ukraine, with some recalling the targeting of monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) by combined Russian and separatist forces. Others emphasized the need for greater cooperation with the OSCE, while still others welcomed the 21 February ministerial meeting on conflicts in Europe and the 27 February meeting on the situation in Kosovo.
Speakers also noted that the Council had also addressed several country situations in Africa. Some drew attention to the 8 February briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, who confirmed that the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) would hand over responsibilities to the Ivorian authorities, in accordance with the Mission’s drawdown. Other speakers highlighted efforts by the President of the Central African Republic to stabilize and reconcile the country, while a recent meeting on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had featured comments about slow progress in implementing the 31 December political agreement.
On the Middle East, Kanat Tumysh (Kazakhstan) said his country was seen as a neutral bridge-builder in that region, trusted by all sides of the Syrian conflict. The 24 January summit that Kazakhstan had hosted in Astana had paved the way for the intra-Syrian dialogue currently under way in Geneva, he noted.
Many speakers encouraged the Council to remain vigilant on the crisis in Syria, now entering its sixth year.
Concerning Asia, Koro Bessho (Japan) said it was significant that the Council had unanimously condemned the 12 February ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He urged States to implement the relevant resolutions to make Pyongyang change its course of action, commit to denuclearization and return to dialogue.
A number of delegates remarked on the 20 February death of Vitaly I. Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation for the last 11 years.
Also speaking today were representatives of France, United States, China, Senegal and the United Kingdom.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 11:25 a.m.