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

The Security Council’s programme of work for September features three open debates — including one on the maintenance of Ukraine’s peace and security — its President for the month told reporters at a Headquarters press conference today, adding that he will privilege the voices of women on the ground in meetings this month.

Ferit Hoxha (Albania) — whose country holds the 15-nation organ’s rotating presidency for September — said that the open debate on 20 September, chaired by his country’s Prime Minister, will be an opportunity for “a real summit on Ukraine, which has not happened since the start of the war”.  Since February 2022, the ongoing war has not only shattered lives in Ukraine, but has also had numerous adverse consequences for countries in the region, the European architecture and the entire world.

The open debate on 14 September — on advancing public-private humanitarian partnership — will be chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Albania and will focus on ways to mobilize private resources more effectively.  Stressing the need to enlarge “the radius of contributions”, he said the meeting will announce the creation of a private-sector humanitarian alliance that will serve as a platform for major corporations to come together.

Other meetings in September will focus on the Middle East, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS), the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Further, the Council is expected to adopt several resolutions, with those relating to the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD) and the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation already in the plan of work.  He said that he also anticipates the Council will soon negotiate a text on the situation in Haiti.

Noting that the Council is expected to have meetings upon request by Member States, he underlined the need to strike a balance between open meetings and consultations — a tool for meaningful discussion to find common ground on complex issues.  He also highlighted the shared commitment to women, peace and security, stating that he will privilege the presence of on-the-ground women.

Responding to numerous questions from journalists about the 20 September meeting, he said that he can “almost confirm” that President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend — marking his first presence in the Security Council.  There has not yet been a meeting at the level of Heads of State or Government on the topic, he pointed out, adding that it will outline avenues on how this situation can be brought to an end and how a meaningful peace process could start.  He stressed that the peace process must respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

To questions about the 14 September open debate, he said that the CEO of Mastercard and Eric Schmidt — the former CEO of Google — are expected to brief the Council, and that a total of 15 to 18 large corporations will be represented in the room.  The meeting will serve as momentum “to launch the idea, which will be consolidated as time goes by”, he added.  To a concern that the private sector could use the UN as a forum for self-promotion, he responded:  “I don’t think that Google needs the UN to be promoted”.  Rather, he observed that “we need them”, highlighting their power and ability to save time in raising resources.

He also fielded questions on the Council’s failure to gain the trust of people in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and the State of Palestine.  Responding in his national capacity, he acknowledged that, any time the Council is locked, taken hostage or vetoed, “it fails those it has committed to help”.  “We do not have the answer”, he said, noting that “things do not come immediately” in diplomacy.

On the cross-border mechanism in Syria, he said that “we are witnessing a new arrangement” resulting from the veto that ended a system in place since 2014.  Currently, the Bab al-Hawa border crossing remains open.  However, the local population does not trust the Government, he cautioned, describing the situation as “a very delicate arbitrage”. The priority, however, is to provide basic needs for 4.2 million people through that crossing, which processes most of those needs.

When asked about concerns raised by human-rights groups in Kenya over police brutality and about its export to Haiti, he said that a zero-draft is expected to be shared with Council members soon; however, it is too early to anticipate their positions.

Regarding the situation in West Africa, he pointed out that eight coups have occurred in that region since 2020.  Albania is resolutely against any seizure of power by force, he noted in his national capacity, emphasizing that military seizure and overthrow of Governments will never be the solution.  He said there are no scheduled meetings on West Africa so far.

On the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), he stressed the need to stay cognisant of the realities on the ground in order to implement its mandate.  To this end, cooperation between the Interim Force and the Lebanese armed forces — “one of the pillars of stability in the country” — is crucial, he added.

For the full programme of work, please see:  http://www.un.org/securitycouncil/events/calendar.

For information media. Not an official record.