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Press Conference by Security Council President on January Programme of Work

José Singer (Dominican Republic) said at a Headquarters press conference today that his country’s January presidency of the Security Council will be guided by the United Nations principles of peace, social justice and the rule of law, as it assumes its two-year non-permanent membership.

Outlining the myriad challenges confronting the Latin America and Caribbean region, Mr. Singer said:  “While [the Dominican Republic] has expanded its diplomatic presence to other regions, it is true our representation has been lacking.”  Pledging his country’s full commitment to hearing every member of the United Nations, he added:  “Only through dialogue can we achieve peace and security throughout the world.”

He went on to state that, on 25 January, President Danilo Medina will chair a high-level Council debate on climate change, which remains a serious threat to the Caribbean region.  The very existence of many countries, Pacific islands in particular, is at risk, he emphasized.

As President of the 15-member Council, the Dominican Republic will aim to dive into discussions on the complexity of conflict zones around the world, he said, adding that it will work to help foster a better understanding of risks to peace and security.  This is especially important for the Caribbean and Central America, he stressed.

Noting the importance of delving deeper into discussions on the trafficking of small arms and light weapons, he also underlined the need to ensure the protection of civilians and the need to involve women and youth in the prevention of conflict.  As a non-permanent Council member for the next two years, the Dominican Republic — holding that role for the first time — will strive to serve as the voice of the people of its region, he added.

Mr. Singer went on to note the various meetings coming up, from the 3 January briefing on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to the 8 January meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The Council will hold a briefing on the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) on 10 January, and an open debate on the Middle East on 15 January.  It will also discuss the situations in Mali on 16 January, Sudan on 17 January and Cyprus on 30 January.

Asked about efforts to renew dialogue with Venezuela, Mr. Singer said the Dominican Republic remains at the centre of all negotiation efforts in Latin America and continues to promote discussions as President of the Council and during its non-permanent membership.  “It is of great interest to us,” he emphasized.

For information media. Not an official record.