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

The Security Council’s programme for March features an open debate on the theme of women, peace and security, as well as an open debate on countering terrorism and violent extremism, its President for the month told a Headquarters press conference today.

Pedro Comissário Afonso (Mozambique) — whose country currently holds the 15-nation organ’s rotating presidency, for the first time in its history — said the President of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, would chair the signature event on 28 March on the theme of countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism by strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations and mechanisms.  The event would allow the Council to strengthen opportunities for engagements in support of counter-terrorism initiatives in the African continent under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, dealing with regional arrangements, he said, adding:  “It would help pool together efforts to combat, even defeat or eradicate terrorism, which is a matter of great concern in the world today.”

On 7 March, an open debate would be held on the theme of women, peace and security, ahead of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Council resolution 1325 (2000), he continued.  The event would be chaired by Mozambique’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, and would take stock of the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), as well as reaffirm its importance.  “We would like to set goals for the preparation of [the resolution’s] twenty-fifth anniversary [on 31 October], with regard to the implementation of some core commitments,” he said.

Further, a briefing slated for 16 March would focus on security sector reform, to update the Council on efforts by the Secretary-General to strengthen the United Nations approach in that realm.

Later, on 30 March, the Council will hold an open debate on peace and security in Africa, to explore the impact of development policies in the implementation of the Silencing the Guns agenda.  The event would help “harmonize views and actions” and bring the attention of the Council and the international community to the issue of the nexus between peace, security and development, he said.

Responding to questions on whether discussions on Ukraine will be held during the month, as they were not currently marked on the agenda, he said the Council would very likely hold more than one meeting on the issue, but that expecting “a specific outcome from those discussions is very difficult”.  Pressed on his country’s repeated abstention on votes pertaining to the situation in Ukraine, he replied, “Since 1975, when we gained independence through a liberation struggle, our Constitution has given primacy to a policy of peace, for only resorting to force in the case of legitimate self-defence, and for solving international conflicts through peaceful negotiated solutions.”  Both principles were “in complete harmony with the United Nations Charter”, he added.

Questioned further on his country’s abstention on Ukraine-related resolutions, when the last of them placed a heavy emphasis on the need for peace talks and adhering to the United Nations Charter, he said:  “We continue to abstain because we think they do not fully reflect the principles we defend, which are enshrined in the Charter, and that more than just repeating clauses of the Charter, we need to take decisive steps towards peace.  We need to encourage both parties to settle their differences.”

As to whether any of the signature events would have an outcome document, such as a presidential statement, he said, “As you know, the methods of the Security Council are very difficult, to say the least.  We do not want to fight just for the sake of words; we want substance and to foster understanding among delegations and the international community.”

In response to a question about whether the Council would undertake a field trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said discussions were under way on the matter, adding:  “We need 100 per cent consensus, otherwise some powerful countries can exercise the veto if they so wish.”

On the status of efforts to reform the Security Council, he said that his country’s principled position was guided by the Ezulwini Consensus, which states that Africa is a victim of a historic injustice and, therefore, deserves two permanent seats in the Security Council, and 5 non-permanent seats.  Pressed further on recent concrete actions that had taken place to this end, he said the issue of reform is complex and that despite negotiations there have been no results so far.

In response to a question about whether the Council’s failure to address two major crises faced by the world — the situations in Ukraine and Palestine — due to resistance by two permanent members, the Russian Federation and the United States, impacted the credibility of the Council and the Organization, he said, “The United Nations was created to be a centre of harmonization and a place to undertake efforts to settle differences.  We should look at individual countries, and not the credibility of the organization, which is important and played a role in our decolonization process, through the landmark [General Assembly] resolution 1514 (XV), in 1960.”

For information media. Not an official record.