Press Conference by Security Council President on December Programme of Work
The Security Council’s focus in December will be on the role of dialogue as a priority instrument for the settlement of disputes, the 15-member organ’s President for that month said at a Headquarters press conference today.
Kacou Houadja Léon Adom (Côte d’Ivoire), expressing concern about the stark contrast between pockets of stability in some parts of the planet and others wracked by conflict, crises and emerging security threats, recalled his country’s own successful emergence from conflict and pledged to share that experience, saying that task will colour his presidency until the end of 2018.
He went on to underline the importance of cooperation between United Nations peace operations and host countries, saying that issue will be raised as part of a debate on “Peacebuilding and sustaining peace” to be held on 5 December. On 6 December, the Council will convene an open debate on United Nations cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, he said, adding that the President of the African Union Commission as well as officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will participate. Underlining the critical role of ECOWAS in improving the security situation in Mali and in helping to resolve recent crises in the Gambia and in Guinea-Bissau, he welcomed the regional bloc’s participation, emphasizing that it has “proven its worth”.
Turning to other situations across Africa, he said the Council plans to convene meetings on South Sudan and the Sahel. Meanwhile, its three African members (Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia) — sometimes known jointly as the “A3” — will continue to work alongside the Netherlands delegation in pushing forward three related draft resolutions — one on “action for peacekeeping”, another on strengthening rule-of-law components of peace operations, and a third intended to bolster support for peacekeeping operations led by the African Union but mandated by the Security Council.
He then turned to the Middle East, saying the Council will convene meetings on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran’s nuclear activities and the situation in Syria, including the latter’s distinct political, humanitarian, and chemical weapons tracks. Around 20 December, members will pay well-deserved tribute to Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s outgoing Special Envoy for Syria, he added.
The Council also plans to hold meetings on the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), the threat posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and the impact of drug trafficking in West and Central Africa. It is also likely that Yemen will feature on the month’s agenda, he said, expressing hope that Special Envoy Martin Griffiths will be successful in bringing the parties concerned together for planned negotiations in Stockholm, Sweden, in the coming weeks.
Asked about an inter-agency statement issued by various United Nations entities this morning on the increasingly desperate situation in Yemen, he said “everything looks hopeful” for the Stockholm negotiations. Arrangements have been made to evacuate dozens of wounded Houthi fighters from the capital city, Sana’a, one of the sticking points previously blocking the Houthi’s participation in talks, he said, emphasizing that time is now required to allow all agreements to bear fruit.
Questioned as to why his delegation did not select the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — expected to hold general elections this month —as a major focus of its presidency, he said “there is no substance” on which to focus at the moment. Preparations for the elections are under way, and while not everything is going smoothly, “we have no reason to believe that things will not go well”. However, if difficulties do arise, the Council stands ready to seize itself of the matter, he said, adding that his presidency is excluding nothing from its programme of work.
Asked whether the Council will hold a meeting on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as requested by some members, he said consultations on that matter are continuing and the Council may be ready to take a procedural vote between 10 and 15 December.
In response to a question as to whether the Council may consider mandating an international investigation into the recent murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he said no such request has been received. “The major Powers are somewhat dragging their feet,” he said, adding that Member States are currently awaiting more evidence and information. Once that information is compiled and a request is received, the Council may choose to take up the issue.
For the full programme of work, please see www.un.org/en/sc/programme/.