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

The Security Council would focus on Africa and peacebuilding, the Middle East, working methods and selection of the next Secretary-General of the United Nations, Koro Bessho (Japan), its President for July, said at a Headquarters press conference today.

Taking up Africa, Mr. Bessho said the Council would hold a ministerial-level open debate on 28 July, with Japan’s Foreign Minister presiding.  Before that, on 12 July, it would hold an open debate on the Middle East.

He said that on 18 July, the Council would hear a briefing on the Secretary-General’s report concerning implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concerning Iran’s nuclear programme.  The report was issued in accordance with resolution 2231 (2015), six months since the Action Plan’s “implementation day”.

Turning to working methods, he said it was a topic that his country had always considered important.  Noting that non-permanent Council members faced the challenge of “catching up quickly” in order to contribute to the organ’s work, he said it was important not only to show how it functioned, but also to ensure that it functioned as efficiently and transparently as possible.  Recalling that 19 July marked the 10-year anniversary of presidential note 507, [on enhancing the Council’s efficiency and transparency], he said that on that date, the Council would hold an open debate on working methods.

On selecting the next Secretary-General, he recalled that the General Assembly had held an informal dialogue with aspirants, noting that the Council had already met informally with three candidates, under the Presidency of France.  Hopefully, the Council would be able to meet with all candidates before the straw poll on 21 July.

Responding to a question about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said there had been informal consultations on that country following its recent launch of intermediate-range ballistic missiles.  Recalling the unanimous adoption of resolution 2270 (2016) in response to Pyongyang’s 2015 missile launch, he said there was strong interest within the Council in remaining focused on developments in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and there could be a meeting, depending on the situation.  He added his hope that all Member States would implement resolution 2270 (2016) in full.  While it was still early, with time needed for the sanctions to take effect, he said he was confident that adopting resolution 2270 (2016) had been “a good decision”.

Asked for a reaction to the fact that only 36 reports on implementation of resolution 2270 (2016) had been submitted, he said all United Nations Members were obliged to comply with the resolution.  He added that he was not satisfied with the pace at which reports were being submitted.

To a query about Syria, he said July would be an important month in which to ensure that the 1 August target date for parties to agree on a framework for a political transition could be met.  The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria was working to understand how the United Nations could help to advance the process.  The 18 July meeting would focus on the question of chemical weapons, while on 25 July, the Council would take up the humanitarian question.  On 26 July, it would discuss the political situation.  The humanitarian situation was particularly difficult, he said, noting that he hoped that developments could “move together” to ensure a better chance of success on the political track by 1 August.  “It’s a target date, not a deadline.”

Asked how transparent the Council’s selection of the next Secretary-General would be, he voiced hope that the Council’s informal meetings with candidates would foster a more interactive dialogue than had been possible in the General Assembly.  “We would like to have a more intimate interactive discussion,” he said, adding that the event would not be televised.  The straw poll would allow candidates to see where they stood, and the Council to get a sense of where the process was heading.

Since the first straw poll had been announced, he continued, the Council would like to move the process along as expeditiously as possible to ensure an early decision that would allow the chosen candidate to prepare for the role.  The Council had not decided on a date for a second straw poll, but most of the candidates were interested in meeting the Council.  However, that did not stop individual Council members from meeting with individual candidates, he emphasized.  The fact that the Assembly had already held an informal dialogue would have a bearing on how the Council would treat the issue, he said.

Asked about working methods, he said Japan wished to “open the doors” for United Nations Members to voice their views.  Even if States had no desire to be members of the Council, they had a right to ask about its management, he said, adding that he did not believe there would be a draft resolution on that topic.

Queried about the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), he said the Secretariat would issue a report by the end of July, adding:  “It is a difficult issue.”

Questioned about sending police to Burundi, he said the Secretary-General had made some proposals, adding that the issue was of interest to the Council.

He went on to say that he did not foresee the Council considering anything specific on Ukraine, but it was interested in “seeing things develop in a positive way”.

Responding to a final question, on the South China Sea, he said the Council would consider that issue if a member wished to raise it, adding that a non-Council member could also request the body to address any issue.

For information media. Not an official record.