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2 January 2020

Press Conference by Security Council President on Programme of Work for January

Cooperation with regional organizations and the importance of upholding the Charter of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace will top the Security Council’s agenda in January, its incoming President said at a Headquarters press conference today.

In all, the Council will hold 27 meetings, Dang Dinh Quy (Viet Nam) said, outlining its work programme for the month.  It will feature 2 open debates and 11 briefings — covering geographic regions from Central Asia to the Middle East and Africa — as well as renewal of various mandates.

He said the theme for the first open debate, on 9 January, will be “Upholding the Charter of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security”.  Since January marks the first month of the Organization’s seventy‑fifth anniversary, it is the right time for all Member States to review the decades, reaffirm their commitment and outline ways to make the Charter more effective in upholding global peace and security, he added.  “We think it is a very good platform for all UN members to express their views.”

The President went on to state that the 23 January briefing on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations will focus on the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  Secretary‑General António Guterres and Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, have been invited to address the meeting, he noted, emphasizing that the bloc is the top troop contributor to peacekeeping operations and has two members — Viet Nam and Indonesia — currently sitting on the Council.  ASEAN faces new challenges both within and outside the region, reinforcing the need for more effective cooperation with the United Nations, he added.

Asked about the statement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea about a new strategic weapon, he said all Council members are following the situation closely, adding that, while there has been no request for a meeting, the work programme is open, and if one is received, the Council will consider it.  He went on to state that he has no comment as to why Viet Nam, as Council President, has not requested a meeting, but assured that his delegation is following the situation carefully.  The Council typically takes action when a threat to international peace and security emerges, he explained, adding:  “It’s a normal practice.”  As to whether he would consider addressing the dispute over the South China Sea in the Council, he said that item is not on the January work programme.

In response to other questions, he said the 22 January meeting is a regular briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.  Later that day, there will be a presentation on the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, he added.

Responding to a question on the Middle East, he said that he expects the Special Envoys Geir Pedersen and Martin Griffiths to brief on Syria and Yemen on 22 January and 29 January, respectively.  On 3 January, the Council will hold consultations on the situation in Syria’s Idlib Governorate, as requested by France and the United Kingdom.  He added that he also expects Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacekeeping Affairs, and Mark Lowcock, Humanitarian Relief Coordinator, to brief, noting that all Council members are working to address the cross-border issue in Syria.

Asked whether he expects requests for meetings on the situations in Iran or Iraq given the tensions in those countries, he said there have been no requests for meetings, but the Council remains ready to receive a request, in accordance with its rules of procedure.

Questioned about the challenges facing South‑East Asia, he cited cybersecurity and shifting geostrategic and power rivalries as threats best addressed through cooperation between ASEAN and the United Nations.

To a query about insufficient implementation of the United Nations Charter, he conceded that the question is a difficult one while pointing out that the world has prevented large-scale war and the general spread of weapons of mass destruction since 1945.  In many cases, persistent violence arises from the failure of parties to uphold the Charter.  “Seventy-five years is a good opportunity for people to think about their own actions” and those of their neighbours, he said.

Asked about the work programme’s footnote on Ukraine and the Russian Federation, he said he does not expect any meetings on that issue.

Taking a final question, he said Viet Nam will chair committees related to South Sudan sanctions and the international tribunals.  As for the other incoming members, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will chair committees related to Yemen and the topic of procedures; Niger will chair committees on the situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, as well as the Counter-Terrorism Committee; Tunisia will chair committees focused on Guinea‑Bissau and peacekeeping; and Estonia will chair those related to Iraq and Sudan.

For the full programme of work, please see:  www.un.org/securitycouncil/events/calendar.

For information media. Not an official record.