Press Conference by Security Council President on Programme of Work for June
The Security Council aims to adopt its first-ever resolution on missing persons in situations of armed conflict when it debates the issue during a high-level meeting on 11 June, Mansour Alotaibi (Kuwait), Council President for the month, said at a Headquarters press conference today.
“Missing persons is a humanitarian issue normally dealt with at the end of a conflict, not during, and we want to focus on that,” he explained, pointing out that the issue is particularly important for his country, given the number of Kuwaiti nationals who remain unaccounted for since Iraq’s seven-month occupation of their country in 1990-91.
So far, he continued, Council members have conducted two rounds of negotiations on the draft resolution, “and our target is to adopt it on 11 June”, when the Council will also hear from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and an official from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
He went on to say that Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, will chair that gathering, as well as additional high-level meetings, concerning conflict prevention and mediation on 12 June, and cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States on 13 June.
The Secretary-General, he continued, will also brief the meeting on conflict prevention and mediation alongside former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the Elders. The Secretary-General is also expected to address the meeting on Arab League-United Nations cooperation, alongside the head of that 22-member regional bloc, he said, expressing hope that it will lay the groundwork for greater cooperation and interaction between the two organizations.
The President said the Council’s overall work programme for June envisions 18 briefings and 14 consultations, in addition to an open debate on its working methods, to be held on 6 June. Kuwait chairs the Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, he pointed out.
Acknowledging that the Council is “overwhelmed by Arab issues”, he said the Council has scheduled three separate meetings on Syria, dealing with the political and humanitarian aspects of the conflict there as well as the use of chemical weapons. Nine meetings on Africa-related topics are also scheduled, as well as a meeting on Kosovo set for 10 June.
On 18 June, he continued, the Council will hold a briefing on United Nations peacekeeping operations, featuring briefings by the force commanders of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). On 26 June, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs will participate in a meeting on non-proliferation, he said.
Draft resolutions scheduled for adoption include one renewing the Council’s authorization to inspect ships on the high seas off Libya, another involving the technical rollover of sanctions related to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and mandate renewals for UNAMID, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
In response to questions, he said the Middle East peace plan currently being prepared by the United States has not been shared with the Council. “We don’t know what it looks like or if it will even be discussed in the Council,” he added.
Asked whether this is the appropriate time for the Council to discuss the situation in Sudan, given the recent violence, he said no Council members have asked for a meeting.
Regarding Idlib, he confirmed that one Council member broke the silence today on a draft press statement that would have re-emphasized the need to respect international humanitarian law and that included a paragraph on the right of refugees freely to return to their homes in dignity. The Council has discussed Idlib three times in the past two weeks and remains focused on the issue, he said.
Asked about developments in Yemen, he acknowledged that implementation of the Stockholm agreement of 13 December 2018 between the Government and the Houthi militia remains “very slow” since the adoption of resolution 2452 (2019) on Hodeidah. While the Council has issued several press statements, and looks forward to a briefing from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on 17 June, no Council members have submitted draft resolutions that would condemn the parties, he said.
For the full programme of work, please see www.un.org/securitycouncil/events/calendar.