Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for October

In October, the Security Council would focus on a range of issues, from the women, peace and security agenda, to the fight against terrorism, to humanitarian crises around the world, the Permanent Representative of Spain said today at a Headquarters press conference.  Among his country’s priorities for October were also the Council’s methods of work and the situation in the Middle East.

Spanish Ambassador Román Oyarzun Marchesi, whose delegation holds the October presidency of the 15-member body, said its top priority would be the 13 October open debate on women, peace and security, chaired by Spain’s Prime Minister, which would conclude the review of Council resolution 1325 (2000) on that topic.  A resolution was being negotiated for adoption at the meeting’s end, or possibly later in the month.

The Council also would focus on humanitarian crises, he said, stressing:  “The humanitarian situation in the world is only worsening”, especially in Syria and Yemen, where in the latter country some 21 million people — of a 26 million population — required assistance.  In Syria, 8 million people were internally displaced and 12 million required aid; another 4 million Syrians had fled the country.

He said the fight against terrorism would be another focus.  Spain’s Minister of the Interior, along with the United States Permanent Representative, would chair a 21 October Aria Formula meeting, on the victims of terrorism.

An open debate on working methods, scheduled for 20 October, would aim to “significantly” improve the way those debates were organized, as well as improve the Council’s interaction with other main bodies.  Spain would work to have the Council adopt its outcome after the debate, in order to incorporate into it the most important points of that discussion.

Turning to the Middle East, he said Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs would chair a 22 October open debate on that topic.  The “extremely delicate” situation in the region required the Council to examine the issue, in particular the Palestinian question, at the ministerial level.

Outside of those priorities, he said, the Council on 6 October would examine the situation in Mali, including the role of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

On 7 October, he said, a briefing and consultations would be held on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative expected to brief.  Also on that day, the Council would discuss the chemical track in Syria and the United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inquiry mechanism.  A debate on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) would be held on 8 October.

Rounding out the month, he said, the Council on 27 October would hold consultations on the humanitarian situation in Syria, an issue for which Spain, along with New Zealand and Jordan, was a penholder.  Also on that day, consultations would be held on the situation in Lebanon, as well as on the Taliban sanctions committee.  On 28 October, the Council would hear a briefing and hold consultations on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Asked if there were any new ideas to address the situation in Palestine, he said high-level talks within the Middle East Quartet would impact the Council’s discussion of that topic.  The Quartet, comprising the United Nations, Russian Federation, United States and the European Union, had been around for some 10 years and it might be time to expand the group with countries from the region and others who could influence the process.  Should that happen, he said, “we could make progress”.  If agreement on that new coverage could be reached, that would offer more hope.  European States could play a fundamental role, and that new impetus would be brought to the open debate on 22 October.

On Afghanistan, he said the United States President had called for an investigation into the facts of the recent bombing in Kunduz, and he looked forward to the outcome of that investigation.

Asked about the status of a draft resolution on the situation in Libya, he said consultations on that text, which had been launched weeks ago, were ongoing and the European Union was pushing ahead.  “Some difficulties” among members were being worked out.

Answering a question on Burundi, he said he had no information on a new envoy for Burundi.  It was a matter for the Secretary-General.

As to why Western Sahara was not on the month’s agenda, he said Christopher Ross, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, had travelled to the area.  For the Council to discuss the issue, it would need his participation and suggestions.

On participation in the open debate on the Middle East, he said invitations had been sent and he hoped there would be a “significant” presence of Foreign Ministers, especially from important regional players and from those States that would take part in the expanded Quartet.

Asked about Yemen, and the Council’s approval of the Saudi-led bombing, he said Spain was working closely with the United Kingdom, the penholder on that issue.  Ideally, Spain would try to achieve progress on that “dramatic” situation.

As for any special session on the Secretary-General’s election, he said there was no meeting planned.

Answering a question whether the “impartial process” established by resolution 1267 (1999) would apply to the 1718 Sanctions Committee and other sanctions committees, he said provisions for the possibility of extending the Ombudsman from the 1267 Committee had been undertaken in the United Nations.  While no final decision had been made, he said Mexico was in strict compliance with the 1718 resolution by holding a vessel.

Asked about Spain’s involvement in the Colombian peace process, he said Spain had close relations with that country and would try to find a consensus in the Council.

For information media. Not an official record.