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

The Security Council’s programme for May features three major debates, including one on the role of women and youth in maintaining international peace and security, its President told a Headquarters press conference today.

Pedro Comissário Afonso (Mozambique), who holds the 15-member organ’s rotating presidency for the month, said that the first of these events will be an open debate on 21 May to discuss the protection of civilians in armed conflict and consider the latest report of the Secretary-General on that matter.

This topic is permanently on the Council agenda, but his country decided to “elevate” it because many conflicts are raging around the world.  “Those conflicts are causing extensive damage and deaths of children, women and men,” he emphasized.

The second is an open debate on 23 May about strengthening the role of African States in addressing global security and development challenges, he said, stressing:  “Africa will always be on top of our priorities.”  His country wishes to see to what extent African States as an institution can bring about “global goods” — peace, security and development.

The third is on 28 May to discuss the role of women and young people in maintaining peace and security, he said, adding that this debate will be chaired by Mozambique’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo.

Asked about the outcome documents from the three meetings highlighted, he said that his delegation seeks to adopt a presidential statement on the issue of women and young people.  “Adopting a statement in the Council is not easy, not to mention a resolution,” he said, expressing his commitment to hold extensive consultations towards that end.

Responding to a question about some urgent topics “missing” from the calendar, he said that there are “open spaces” where meetings on Gaza, Ukraine and Sudan can fit in.

Asked about the Security Council’s dominant focus on Africa and the Middle East, he said there is “nothing wrong” discussing these issues, but the problem is the lack of solutions to these problems.

When a correspondent asked how quickly the Council can act in the case of Israel’s offensive in Rafah, he said that as the organ’s President, he will encourage efforts to have a ceasefire.  If a ceasefire ensues, “we will certainly draft a resolution” to strongly support it. If negotiations are not fruitful, the direction is to take measures as the Council did when it adopted resolution 2728 (2024).

Asked if the situation in Sudan warrants a meeting earlier than the scheduled one on 7 May, he said that the Council could try to convene it sooner based on the assessment of the situation.

On his country’s membership in the Council for the past year and a half, he said that Mozambique has made a humble contribution to the organ’s business.  “We are not a great Power, but bring to the table our values of peace,” he said, adding:  “We want international justice, peace and development.”

Turning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said that his country supports all Council resolutions that call for nuclear disarmament of the Korean Peninsula.

Asked to comment on the statement by the President of Portugal that Lisbon should pay the costs of colonization, he spoke in his personal capacity to “strongly support” it.  “It means that he is aware of fairness and justice in international relations,” he said, adding that taking a position of reparations or condemning the past is “the correct thing to do”.  Colonialism was wrong and slavery was wrong, he stressed.

On the resumption of the General Assembly emergency special session on 10 May to send the issue of Palestine’s full UN membership back to the Council, a correspondent asked if the organ could have a different outcome this time.  In response, he said that Palestine, a peace-loving State, qualifies for full UN membership.  Mozambique has diplomatic relations with Palestine and Israel, corresponding to a two-State vision.

Asked about the 28 May meeting, he said that women and young people must be the force for the advancement of humanity, particularly in African countries.  By putting this topic on the agenda, the international community can be reminded of the important role of women and young people and pay homage to the work they have been doing around the world.

For the full programme of work, please see:

For information media. Not an official record.