Members Hail Bloc’s Initiatives in Tandem with Others, Including Mediation, Reconciliation, Peacekeeping Efforts Worldwide
The European Union is investing in cooperation with the United Nations system as never before, the bloc’s senior-most diplomat told the Security Council today, detailing its involvement in conflict resolution, reconciliation and support for global priorities as diverse as climate change and disarmament.
Briefing the Council for her final time in her present capacity, Federica Mogherini said the regional bloc is contributing to a more effective multilateral system “because we want to take our part of responsibility for our common home”. Ms. Mogherini is the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
She said that in supporting the United Nations-led process in Syria, for example, the European Union is co-chairing the third Brussels Conference on the future of Syria and the region. In Afghanistan, it offered to serve as a guarantor of the peace process there, while in Venezuela, it established an international contact group to create suitable conditions for presidential elections. And where there is a peace process or United Nations peacekeepers deployed in Africa, the European Union is there to support it, she emphasized. More broadly, she said that without Europe’s commitment, progress on the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals would have been impossible.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates welcomed the European Union’s commitment to multilateralism, a point on which the Russian Federation’s representative noted that the bloc’s interests “fully coincide” with those of his own country. He expressed Moscow’s concern, however, over the trend to replace international law with a “rules-based order” designed to fit the needs of the very ones calling for it.
Many speakers agreed that the European Union has fostered stability in regions outside its own, with Indonesia’s delegate saying the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has benefited in that regard, and Poland’s representative citing the bloc’s establishment of a training mission in the Central African Republic and its efforts to fight human trafficking off the coast of Libya.
Several delegates underscored the importance of trilateral cooperation among the European Union, African Union and the United Nations. Côte d’Ivoire’s representative recalled the third trilateral meeting in 2018, where they recommitted to promoting the multilateral system and adopting measures on cooperation to tackle global challenges. Kuwait’s delegate said that Europe and the Arab region share many points of common history, allowing for close cooperation on terrorism, climate change and migration.
The United Kingdom’s representative said that, notwithstanding his country’s imminent departure from the European Union, cooperation across the three pillars of United Nations activities would be mutually beneficial for both. Germany’s delegate noted: “We are stronger together.”
Also speaking today were representatives of the Dominican Republic, China, Belgium, Peru, South Africa, United States, Equatorial Guinea and France.
The meeting began at 10:41 a.m. and ended at 12:45 p.m.
FEDERICA MOGHERINI, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, provided an update of the main fields of cooperation between that regional bloc and the United Nations. Touching first on conflict resolution, she noted that conflicts always have a local, regional and global dimension, emphasizing that solutions can only be built when those three dimensions align. That is only possible in a multilateral framework, as is clearly true for Syria, she said. To support the United Nations-led process, the European Union is co-chairing the third Brussels Conference on the future of Syria and the region this week, she noted. The bloc also supports the United Nations Special Envoys in Syria and the United Nations Special Representative in Libya, where it is enforcing the Security Council arms embargo imposed on that country. The European Union is further coordinating action directly through the Libya Quartet, which also includes the United Nations, the League of Arab States and the African Union, she said.
Turning to Afghanistan, she said the European Union is following the contacts between representatives of the Taliban and the United States. It has offered to support peace by serving as a guarantor of the peace process, making the process more inclusive, helping with reforms, supporting the reintegration of former fighters and promoting regional trade and infrastructure. In Venezuela, where the current crisis has both political and institutional causes, she emphasized that no military interventions would be acceptable, and no solution should be imposed. From a belief that a global initiative can chart a peaceful, democratic path forward, the European Union, alongside Latin American countries, set up an international contact group to create the conditions for a political process leading to free presidential elections, she said.
As for Africa, she stressed that wherever there is a peace process or United Nations peacekeeping mission on that continent, the European Union is there to support it both politically and financially, including by deploying its own missions. European Union member States together contribute one third of the United Nations peacekeeping budget, more than any other global Power, she noted, while expressing the bloc’s belief in African solutions to African challenges. She noted that the African Union is pursuing major financial and institutional reforms, a process that the bloc supports, as should others, including by possibly using United Nations assessed contributions to fund African Union peace and support operations authorized by the Security Council.
She went on to state that she met with representatives of the armed movements that signed the 2015 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, pointing out that the European Union is the first supporter of the joint military force created by the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger), a regional initiative intended to resolve regional challenges. “Africa wants and needs to take responsibility for its own security, its own economy, and we want to accompany this path,” she emphasized. Having moved from a donor-recipient relationship to a partnership of equals, the two regional blocs set common priorities together — a new approach that is changing the way the European Union works in the United Nations context as well.
Turning to the question of reconciliation in the Balkans, she said that in order for talks to resume, tariffs imposed by Kosovo must be revoked, adding that once that happens, she will immediately call for a new meeting to reach a legally binding agreement addressing all outstanding issues and normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia. She underlined that while she will personally facilitate the talks, it is up to the parties to reach agreement, and a final outcome must align with international law and win the Security Council’s support.
She went on to underline that without the strong commitment of the European Union, progress on the Paris agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals would have been impossible. Cautioning that a “might makes right” approach threatens to replace the concept of global governance, she said that a violation of international norms occurred with the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and its behavior in eastern Ukraine. While describing Moscow as an important interlocutor with which the European Union works well on several files, she expressed deep concern over the Russian Federation’s behaviour in Salisbury and its espionage against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The European Union will continue to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran, she said, explaining that collective security requires solid multilateral non-proliferation architecture. The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran is essential, as is that country’s implementation of the Plan, she added. The European Union will also continue to support efforts to strengthen and expand the global non-proliferation regime, having imposed the toughest sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and maintained open channels to encourage dialogue at all levels. “We are ready to accompany this difficult process with our expertise and our political support,” she pledged.
Describing the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as essential to preserving a two-State solution between Israel and Palestine, she said the European Union is investing in cooperation as never before, taking responsibility for “our common home”. She encouraged all States to support the United Nations politically, financially, diplomatically and in peace processes requiring a multilateral framework in order to succeed.
CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) agreed that the European Union and the United Nations share the same founding principles and values, including the importance of multilateralism. Their close cooperation has rendered the two organizations more robust and credible, he added, echoing the sentiment “we are stronger together”. Noting that the European Union is active on many of the same issues as the Security Council, such as the conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, he underlined the bloc’s support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Spotlighting the crucial trilateral cooperation arrangements linking the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations, he called attention to their efforts to accelerate the global women, peace and security agenda as well as his own country’s long-standing work to enhance the meaningful participation of women in decision-making processes around the globe.
He asked the High Representative to share her thoughts and predictions about projects in which the European Union and the United Nations could potentially work more closely to prevent conflict.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) described the European Union project as the “most important institutional source of peace and stability in Europe since the end of the Second World War”. Noting the growing need to strengthen partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations, she called attention to the United Nations-European Union Steering Committee on Crisis Management and the European Union Global Strategy, saying they entail close partnerships with the United Nations. Reiterating Poland’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its special responsibility to strengthen democracy and human rights in the western Balkans, she also outlined the European Union’s support for other regions, including Africa and the Middle East. For example, the bloc established a training mission in the Central African Republic, combats human trafficking off the coast of Libya and works to address the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, she noted. Outlining several priority areas going forward, she underscored the need to counteract the root causes of illegal migration, provide adequate humanitarian assistance to migrants, enhance cooperation on preventive diplomacy and mediation, and continue to advance the women, peace and security agenda.
JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) said regional organizations serve as natural mediators and can help to identify solutions that respect the independence of States, adding that they can also boost national capacity and training. Describing the European Union’s mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a bulwark of stabilization, he also welcomed the work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission in eastern Ukraine and the human rights efforts of peace missions in the Central African Republic and in Mali. Emphasizing the importance of mediation and prevention, he said the Dominican Republic’s own Latin America and Caribbean region promotes peace, dialogue and sustainable development. He also welcomed regional efforts to implement the women, peace and security agenda and reiterated the importance of counter-terrorism efforts at the regional level.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said he shares the High Representative’s aim of strengthening multilateralism with the United Nations playing a lead role, adding that on that point, “our interests fully coincide”. He expressed concern, however, over the dangerous trend of replacing international law with “the rules-based order” to which the High Representative referred constantly, and which is designed to fit the needs of those calling for it. Noting that one third of Council members — five countries — are European States, two of which enjoy veto rights, he said that he sees great potential for cooperation with the European Union on religious extremism, transnational crime and illegal migration. The Russian Federation and the European Union were partners in the Middle East Quartet and, in 2016, jointly prepared a report containing recommendations on how to resume the political process in the region, he recalled. He expressed hope that the European Union will help to advance a political settlement in Syria and “give up” trying to politicize assistance to that country.
He went on to question the extent to which the European Union can play a constructive role, saying the bloc cannot define its own independent political life. He said the models proposed for resolving domestic issues in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela simply do not work. Referring to the faltering dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, he emphasized: “Let’s not burn bridges,” going on to point out that sanctions have become a key European foreign policy instrument, the effects of which are questionable. On disarmament matters, he said the European Union has “swallowed” an unreliable United States version of the Russian Federation’s alleged violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which Moscow tried to save. However, even as European security collapses, all such issues will be overcome, he said, emphasizing that, through joint efforts, the Russian Federation and the European Union will heal the rifts in the Euro-Atlantic space and avoid new ones. The Russian Federation is interested in a European Union that is strong and has a vision of the future, from the Atlantic to Vladivostok, he added.
GBOLIÉ DÉSIRÉ WULFRAN IPO (Côte d’Ivoire), pointing out that the European Union contributes more than 40 per cent of the United Nations peacekeeping budget, welcomed the bloc’s engagement with the United Nations in seeking innovative solutions to global challenges. Its global priorities focus on strengthening multilateralism, sustainable development, defence of human rights and climate action, placing the United Nations at the heart of its actions, he noted. He recalled that the third trilateral meeting of the European Union, African Union and the United Nations in 2018 reaffirmed their commitment to promoting the multilateral system and adopting new measures to tackle global challenges through cooperation. He also recalled the fifth African Union-European Union Summit — “Investing in Youth for a Sustainable Future” — held in Abidjan in November 2017, stressing that the European Union will remain a key partner for Africa, notably on crisis resolution and counter-terrorism. Joint investment in young people for sustainable development will open new fronts to craft a more stable future, he added.
STEPHEN HICKEY (United Kingdom) said the European Union is central to every issue on the Council’s agenda. Notwithstanding the United Kingdom’s departure from the bloc, it would be mutually beneficial for the two of them to cooperate across the three pillars of United Nations activities. Welcoming the fact that Brussels will host the third summit on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, he called upon the regime in that country to engage in the political process and implement its obligations under resolution 2254 (2015). He also welcomed the announcement of European Union sanctions against regime figures, noting that the United Kingdom will be at the forefront in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. On Iran, he welcomed the High Representative’s engagement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, adding that the United Kingdom also supports reconciliation in the western Balkans as well as efforts to advance regional stability through the European Union-facilitated dialogue, recalling that his country was first to recognize Kosovo in 2008. He also welcomed the growing dialogue between the European Union and African Union, asking the High Representative how her bloc and the United Nations can promote cooperation on the women, peace and security agenda.
YAO SHAOJUN (China) commended the European Union’s involvement in resolving hotspot issues and in promoting peace and security around the world. It must join forces with the United Nations to combat the rising threats of unilateralism and protectionism around the world, he said, adding that the two organizations should fully respect the Charter principles of sovereign equality among nations as well as their chosen development paths. Underlining the importance of triangular cooperation, he said China will continue to work closely with the European Union — including through its Belt and Road initiative — to make new headway in China-Europe cooperation in pursuit of economic growth and sustainable development.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) said that against the backdrop of unprecedented global threats, the United Nations also faces financial issues, particularly in the area of peacekeeping. “We need to pool our efforts, regionally and internationally, to react to these challenges,” he emphasized, welcoming efforts to consolidate partnerships between the United Nations and regional groupings under Chapter VIII of the Charter. Noting that the European Union contributes around 30 per cent of United Nations peacekeeping funds, he welcomed the effective partnerships between the two organizations in Mali, the Central African Republic and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Europe and the Arab region share many points of common history, allowing for close cooperation in addressing such challenges as terrorism, climate change and migration, he noted. Citing resurgent conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East and their impacts on Europe, he said joint regional efforts are required to combat them. He welcomed European efforts to relaunch the Middle East peace process and promote a two-State solution, while rejecting unilateral actions in that arena.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) recalled that the European Union fostered stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina through Operation Althea, and in Kosovo through the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). He expressed hope the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia will resume as soon as possible. Noting that the European Union and United Nations share the same commitment to a world based on democracy, the rule of law and the indivisible nature of human rights, he said it is a natural partnership. Pointing out that the European Union is the world’s largest aid donor, he said the High Representative’s presence today demonstrates its commitment to deepening cooperation. Describing joint peacekeeping and crisis management efforts as an example of European Union-United Nations complementarity, he asked for examples of good practices in the trilateral cooperation among the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations, and whether there is potential for similar arrangements with other organizations.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said no opportunity to reaffirm the potential of cooperative partnerships should be missed in addressing peace and security challenges. Welcoming the European Union’s humanitarian response and support for peacebuilding mechanisms and processes, he cited the bloc’s involvement in Operation Althea and EULEX, as well as its facilitation of dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. He went on to welcome the bloc’s adoption of new priorities for enhancing its partnership with the United Nations. He recalled its participation in peacekeeping efforts, cooperation in building national capacity and in the peaceful settlement of disputes. He also welcomed the European Union’s commitment to the preventive agenda, notably the “Copenhagen criteria” outlining the importance of stable democracy, the rule of law and the protection of minorities. The protection and promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights go hand-in-hand with the maintenance of international peace and security, he added.
Ms. TSHABALALA (South Africa) said her country’s fight against apartheid would not have been possible without the efforts of regional and international organizations. Underscoring the importance of trilateral cooperation among the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations, she noted that adequate funding of peace missions has a major impact on the effectiveness of the Security Council’s efforts to prevent and respond to conflicts. In that regard, she said, leaders of the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations have indicated their intention to reflect on how to ensure predictable, sustainable and flexible financing for missions led by the African Union and authorized by the Security Council, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations.
JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States), describing the European Union as one of his country’s most valuable partners in promoting peace and security around the world, noted that the Russian Federation continues its aggressions five years after its brazen intervention in Ukraine, which necessitated the sanctions imposed by the United States. He went on to welcome the decision by several European Union member States to recognize Juan Guaidó as President of Venezuela, expressing hope that others will do the same. He also hailed European Union actions to help restore stability and promote economic growth and good governance in Syria; its provision of millions of dollars to support the stabilization of areas previously under terrorist control in Iraq; and its funding of health, education and youth initiatives in Libya. Meanwhile, the bloc has sent a strong message that its members will not stand idly by while Iran spreads terrorism, he said. He went on to welcome the European Union’s support of training and capacity-building missions in Africa, calling attention to its provision of stipends to African Union forces in Somalia, where such support remains critical.
JOB OBIANG ESONO MBENGONO (Equatorial Guinea), welcoming the European Union’s mediation and conflict-prevention efforts, spotlighted the crucial role of regional organizations such as the African Union, which have much wisdom and experience. The partnership between the latter and the United Nations should be crowned by the adoption of a resolution on the financing of peace operations in Africa, which remains a pending issue before the Council, he emphasized. Hailing the Council’s recent adoption of the resolution on “Silencing the Guns” in Africa — achieved under Equatorial Guinea’s Presidency in February — he said all activities addressing existing armed conflicts, maintaining peace and preventing future conflicts must be carried out in accordance with the Charter principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the domestic affairs of States, he said, stressing that effective partnerships are possible where mutual respect flourishes between nations. “We all have something to bring to the table and we all have a role to play.”
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said that his country’s Government consistently supports regional organizations, which can fundamentally shift regional dynamics towards peace and security. “We believe neighbours know best,” he added. However, regional and subregional organizations must adapt to change in order to remain relevant to the maintenance of international peace and security, he emphasized. Citing the unprecedented nature of twenty-first century challenges, he said the European Union and other regional organizations cannot resolve them on their own. That is where cooperation comes into play, he said, noting that the African Union, through its regional conflict-prevention and conflict-management mechanism, has established itself as a credible partner of the United Nations. To address collective challenges, greater emphasis must be placed on multilateralism, with dialogue and mediation taking precedence over unilateralism, he stressed. The European Union has made important contributions to stability in regions other than its own and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has benefited, he noted. Indonesia recognizes the European Union’s efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and looks forward to any initiative to reinvigorate the peace process, he said, adding that ASEAN shares the European Union belief in addressing conflict through dialogue, mediation and political settlement.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), Council President for March, spoke in his national capacity, emphasizing that under their Partnership on Peace Operations and Crisis Management, the European Union and the United Nations agreed to work hand-in-hand to keep and build peace. The European Union leads the way on conflict prevention, having created the International Contact Group on Venezuela, he noted. In Europe, he continued, the High Representative is committed to facilitating dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo with a view to resolving the situation “between these two States”. In Syria, the bloc has committed not to finance reconstruction until a credible political solution is put in place under the aegis of the United Nations, he noted. In terms of peacekeeping, the combined contribution of European Union member States constitutes 32 per cent of the budget. He noted that its civilian and military missions are deployed alongside United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions in Africa and the Middle East.
He went on to point out that the European Union’ Operation Atalanta protects World Food Programme (WFP) vessels, which is vital in terms of support for security-sector reform, and in Colombia, where it invests in the reintegration of former combatants. The European Union is among the main international donors in many countries, a practice that should continue, he said, recalling that the bloc committed $1.6 billion for humanitarian assistance in 2019. Describing the women, peace and security agenda as a high priority, he also expressed support for the trilateral cooperation among the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations, while emphasizing the need for sustainable funding of African peace operations. Emphasizing that European Union-United Nations conflict-prevention efforts must be enhanced through closely coordinated messaging, he asked the High Representative how the Security Council can support mediation processes in which the bloc is involved.
Ms. MOGHERINI, taking the floor again, reiterated the importance of European Union-United Nations cooperation, describing the women, peace and security agenda as an essential element of that partnership. “It’s a security issue that is at the core of our military activities” and that of the bloc’s mediation and diplomatic work. Ongoing joint efforts are intended to eliminate sexual abuse in peacekeeping operations, and to jointly promote the priorities of the global focal point network, she said. Most importantly, European Union-United Nations crisis management efforts have started in the Central African Republic, of which the women, peace and security agenda is a key element, she said. Beyond that, there are common efforts to promote the role of women in mediation, with the extension of European support to women negotiation processes in Syria and Yemen. The same is true of conflict-prevention, she said, noting that the European Union and the United Nations recently decided to establish a high-level dialogue on conflict prevention as a top political priority, and are exploring joint conflict analysis, which provides the basis for early-warning systems. The European Union also offers expertise to United Nations mediation teams, she added.
Noting that the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations could benefit from joint conflict-prevention activities, she said that when the European Union acts in support of political processes, “we do conflict prevention”. In that context, she underscored the importance of investing in young people, “the DNA” of a common agenda for the European Union’s equal partnership with the African Union, as well as with subregional organizations and various countries.
In response to comments by Kuwait’s delegate, she agreed that a two-State solution is on a common agenda, as are joint efforts to stabilize Iraq. She thanked Kuwait for co-chairing conferences in which the European Union has participated, notably on Iraq and Syria. As for opportunities for triangular cooperation in other regions, she said ASEAN could be an excellent candidate in that regard. Emphasizing that the European Union will always invest political and financial capital in the strengthening of regional and subregional organizations, she described the bloc as an example of perseverance and a symbol of multilateralism. “Cooperation is the way forward,” she said, reiterating that the European Union is a reliable and solid partner for the United Nations and the Security Council.