Security Council Discusses September Programme of Work amid Differences over Whether to Include Situation in Nicaragua on Agenda

SC/13482
4 September 2018
8339th Meeting (AM)

Security Council Discusses September Programme of Work amid Differences over Whether to Include Situation in Nicaragua on Agenda

The Security Council discussed its programme of work for September during a public meeting today, while considering whether to include on its agenda the topic of human rights violations in Nicaragua.

After hearing each member, the delegation of the United States, which holds the presidency for September, decided that the 15-member Council will begin its activities without formally adopting its work programme, and proceed with an open meeting on the situation in Nicaragua tomorrow morning.

Council President Nikki R. Haley (United States), speaking in her national capacity, said that she convened today’s meeting to enhance the transparency of the organ’s work, adding that members can publicly express their views on the agenda items proposed by her delegation.  “I hope that this will be the start of us continuing transparency,” she said.  “I think we’ve come a long way in the past couple of years in terms of making sure all Council meetings are starting to be in the open.  In the United States presidency, every meeting will be in the open.  And we hope that you will respect this and also consider it when it is your presidency, as well.”

Several Council members expressed their concerns about the proposed inclusion of the Nicaragua situation on the agenda, with Bolivia’s representative saying it is “not a threat to international peace and security” and can be dealt with by regional and subregional organizations, through the Secretary-General’s preventive diplomacy and at the Human Rights Council.  The Security Council taking up this matter means more power given to the Council and such a practice weakens the multilateral system, he added.

The representatives of the Russian Federation and China echoed Bolivia’s position, while Equatorial Guinea’s delegate emphasized that the situation in Nicaragua does not constitute a threat to international peace and security, and it is thus premature to put it on the agenda.

In supporting the presidency’s proposal, other delegations cited Article 54 of the United Nations Charter, which states:  “The Security Council shall at all times be kept fully informed of activities undertaken or in contemplation under regional arrangements or by regional agencies for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Peru’s delegate said that a meeting on the situation in Nicaragua is perfectly suitable under Article 54, noting that serious violations and abuses of human rights are often an early indication of forthcoming conflict.

The United Kingdom’s representative said his delegation supports the programme of work, citing Article 34 of the Charter:  “The Security Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Poland’s delegate echoed Peru’s statement, while France’s representative voiced full support for the proposed work programme.

Kazakhstan’s delegate expressed reservations about including the Nicaragua situation on the agenda, while the representatives of the Netherlands and Côte d’Ivoire voiced their support for the proposed work programme.

Kuwait’s delegate commended the proposal by the United States to make all meetings public, pointing out that it is the permanent Council members that have preferred closed meetings.  Emphasizing the importance of unity among Council members, he emphasized, however, that discussions on such contentious situations as Nicaragua and Iran do not foster unity.

Ethiopia’s representative said it is difficult to support Nicaragua’s inclusion on the agenda because it does not constitute a threat to international peace and security.

Sweden’s delegate said his country has no objection to the work programme.

Ms. Haley (United States), speaking again in her national capacity, said she was hearing similar views to those expressed when her country was proposing a meeting on Venezuela.  Given the unfolding situation in that country, she asked:  “How many people have to die before the situation becomes a matter of peace and security?”  It is already a threat and the United States does not want another Syria or Venezuela, she added.

The meeting began at 11:57 a.m. and ended at 12:28 p.m.

For information media. Not an official record.