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Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for May

4 May 2009
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


During its May presidency the Russian Federation would continue to pursue the policy of consolidating the Security Council’s prerogatives under the United Nations Charter and its main responsibility to maintain international peace and security, Vitaly Churkin, the country’s Permanent Representative said today.

Outlining the Council’s programme of work for the month ahead, he said that on 11 May, it would hold a meeting on the Middle East, chaired by Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs and for which the Foreign Ministers of other Council members, as well as the Secretary-General, had been invited.  The main objective was to give a new impetus to the peace process.  The role of the Council would be discussed, as would measures to restart the peace process, normalize the situation in the region and implement Council decisions.  A presidential statement was being prepared.

On 5 May, the Council would hear a briefing on Nepal by Karin Landgren, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, he said.  Following a briefing on 7 May by Terje Roed Larsen, the Special Envoy for the Implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), the Council would discuss the Secretary-General’s report on that topic in respect of Syria and Lebanon.  On 13 May, it would hold a debate on the situation in Somalia, with a view to adopting a draft resolution on 28 May.  From 14 to 21 May, a Council mission to Africa would visit Ethiopia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Liberia.  Cyprus would be discussed on 22 May with a view to adopting a resolution by the end of the month.

He said the Council would hold an open debate on 26 May after briefings by the Chairmen of the Committees established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1540 (2004) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee.  That debate would address strengthening cooperation on counter-terrorism, enhancing the effectiveness of the Committees and the Council’s role in that area.  On 27 May, consultations would be held on the “situation in Georgia”.  Bosnia and Herzegovina would be discussed on 28 May, when Valentin Inzko, the new High Representative, would present his first report.  In addressing those and possibly other issues, the Russian delegation intended to act in close collaboration with all Council members and other interested parties.

Responding to questions, he said no meetings of the Middle East Quartet were expected on the occasion of the 11 May debate, adding that representatives of the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the League of Arab States had not been invited.  Some Foreign Ministers from Council member States would participate and ways to implement Council decisions would be discussed, including an affirmation of the need for a two-State solution.  The Council was expecting information from the Secretary-General on the report of the Board of Inquiry on Gaza, and would decide what to do after receiving that information.

The Council had not discussed Israel’s repeated threats against Iran, he said, before emphasizing in his national capacity the Russian Federation’s categorical opposition to any threats against Iran.

Asked about the Council’s consideration of the situation in Sri Lanka, he answered, again in his national capacity, that his delegation was not opposed to such discussions.  Although the humanitarian situation was of concern, one should not lose sight of the fact that the Government of Sri Lanka was fighting a very stubborn organization, which had been branded terrorist by many.  That organization was using civilians as human shields.

Asked about the possibility of imposing sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said, in his national capacity, that five out of the six parties wished to return to the Six-Party Talks.  Council members had seen the country’s recent launch of a rocket as provocative and the Council had issued a presidential statement proportionate to the challenge.  The possibility of sanctions had been enshrined in resolution 1718 (2006).  Taking that into account, the diplomatic drive was to return to the talks.  However, the Council had not received a request for a hearing from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Presidency did not expect the talks to resume soon.

Addressing the question of Georgia, he said the Secretary-General’s report was expected on 15 May and the Council would hold consultations on the matter on 27 May with a view to adopting a resolution later on extending the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).

Continuing in his national capacity, he said he had informed the Secretary-General on 30 April that an agreement had been signed between South Ossetia and the Russian Federation giving the latter the authority to protect the former’s borders.  That agreement was a consequence of the treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between the two countries.

He said the situation near the borders had been unstable in light of Georgia’s build-up of troops and other provocations.  It was, therefore, very important that Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia sign an agreement on the non-use of force.

As for military manoeuvres in Abkhazia, he said resolution 1866 (2009) called for respect for security zones around the borders.  In the context of a tense situation in the security zone on the Georgian side of the border with Abkhazia, a “short and useful” military exercise had been held on the Abkhazian side and the situation was now normal.

He went on to state that the decision to hold NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) manoeuvres in Georgia was “most unfortunate”.  As for the “agreement” signed by the United Nations and NATO, a joint declaration between their respective Secretariats had been signed in September, which the Russian delegation had been told, entailed “not much”.  However, the recent NATO Summit in Strasbourg had referred to the declaration as a major political development.  Care was needed, both on the political and military side, when dealing with that institution.  The United Nations should be more transparent about such issues.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.