3 November 2015

Security Council
Press Conference

Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for November

At a press conference at Headquarters today, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, whose delegation holds the presidency of the Security Council for November, said that he hoped that his efforts would be noted for being transparent, interactive and action-oriented. 


Turning to the question of Palestine, he commended efforts of the United States and Jordan to de-escalate the crisis relating to the Holy Sites.  How to get back on track towards a meaningful political process leading to a two-State solution, however, still remained open.  Noting that there were a number of initiatives Council members had mentioned, he stressed that he would work with all members and others in pursuit of any of those that might attract the necessary consensus to become a meaningful step towards getting that process back on track. 


Answering questions about the question of Palestine, he said he was committed to using every possible avenue to explore whether the time was right for any of the possible initiatives circulating in the Council, including the New Zealand draft resolution, which he considered to be a constructive and positive contribution to the debate.  There were other drafts, and in his national capacity he said he supported any of those that could bring peace in the Middle East a bit closer.

Asked about consensus regarding setting a deadline for a two-State solution agreement to be reached, he said, in his national capacity, that at some point a parameter resolution would be needed that set out what the content of an eventual settlement should look like from the perspective of the international community.  There was also need for a timetable and a mechanism for negotiations.  Those issues did not have to be combined in one resolution.  The timetable and a mechanism could be in a separate resolution and the content for a settlement in another.

The Council had recently considered the issue of protection of Palestinians, he said, and would continue to consider the issue.  Personally, he said he doubted there would be the necessary consensus for that issue to progress.  Lessons learned by the United Nations and Member States over the past 20 years, including in Bosnia, would indicate that “never again do we get ourselves in a collective position where we are saying that we are offering protection to anyone without the means at our disposal to do so”.

Discussion on the issue so far had related to a draft presidential statement put forward by France, which included a request to the Secretary-General to explore options for protection, he continued.  That draft was on hold.  The Secretary-General had been asked for a copy of the advice from the Legal Office about precedents and previous examples of protection, which he had provided to Council members.

Speaking in his national capacity on the historical role of the United Kingdom in the region, he said he preferred to look at the future instead of at the past, because the past could be a “significant burden in that part of the world”.


For information media. Not an official record.