28 August - Security Council - UNSC wrap up for the month of August - Statement by Mrs Béatrice Le Fraper du Hellen, first councellor of France to the United Nations
As previous speakers have done, I would like to warmly thank the British delegation — you yourself, Mr. President, and your entire team — for a very effective presidency in August.
I simply wish to touch upon a few topics.
First, on a positive note, I appreciate the unity of the Council and its productivity on a number of topics that are important for us, including the renewal of the mandate for United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is very important in the context of the regional crisis. We need to limit the repercussions of that crisis in Lebanon, and we hope that all Member States will continue to support the role of UNIFIL.
Another example of a unified approach in the fight against terrorism is that this month the Council finally took measures against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). We welcome the efforts of the British delegation to achieve the adoption of resolution 2170 (2014), which finally condemns the terrorist acts of ISIL and in which for the first time the Council also mentions foreign combatants. That was very important for us. We hope that the Council summit that is being prepared by our American partners for the upcoming ministerial week on the topic of terrorist combatants will be another opportunity for deepen our action on this topic at the highest level.
There was further relative unity on Libya, since the United Nations has a role to play on this issue, and the Council acted in a very timely way. Just as the issue of Libya’s future was in question, the Council adopted a resolution (resolution 2174 (2014)) that strengthens the arms embargo and extends individual sanctions against those who hinder political transition. The President of the French Republic has indicated that exceptional United Nations support for the Libyan authorities to re-establish the State is necessary. This is a topic that we will continue to follow closely in the month of September.
There was also unity in the Council regarding a number of crises in Africa. In that regard, my delegation would like to welcome the meeting on 7 August (see S/PV.7237), presided over by the British Minister for African Affairs, which made it possible to bring together the key countries of the Great Lakes region and to recall the major priorities of the Council. Those priorities were set out in a press statement (SC/11533) adopted on 26 August, which recalls in particular that the implementation of resolution 2147 (2014), on the neutralization of armed groups, notably the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda, is required.
Also on an optimistic note, we saw the renewal of the mandate of African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, the accent in that resolution 2173 (2014) being on the strategic review of the force and on the importance of stronger public reporting on human rights.
On the other hand, and our second point — and the Secretary-General mentioned this during the public debate that you organized, Mr. President (see S/PV.7247) — in the Council there are serious divisions that undermine the Organization’s capability to act. We continue to regret that, in the context of Syria, the tireless support of certain delegations for a repressive regime did not enable coordinated action by the Council, thereby clearing the way for extremists and terrorists. France will continue to take action against the abusive use of the veto by delegations, which was evident in the case of Syria. Of course, there are divisions on the issue of Ukraine that were just revealed in the Council (see S/PV.7253). It is clear that Russia’s persistent attitude is to simply destabilize the country.
The third point I would like to make is on another topic. The Council may now have an opportunity to play a role that it has not played to date. I am thinking of Gaza. An unlimited ceasefire has been announced by the Egyptian authorities. We encourage the parties to comply with the ceasefire and to participate in the discussions organized under Egyptian auspices. However, in coordination with our partners from the European Union and from the Security Council, we would like to make further progress by contributing to a solution based on such an agreement. We believe, as do others, that the Security Council has a role to play in that matter.
Finally, I would like to conclude with the focus on conflict prevention that was put forth by the British presidency, particularly from the early warning perspective. I would also mention the visit to Europe that recalled, through history, the importance of preventing crises. We consider that very important.
The adoption of resolution 2171 (2014) was also a welcome event. The debate on conflict prevention (see S/PV.7247) allowed the Council to listen for the last time to Ms. Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as she will be completing her term. Under her mandate, the interaction between the Security Council and the High Commissioner grew ever closer, which nevertheless poses a heavy burden on our work — if I may say so. We have noted that among her final recommendations she suggested a monthly briefing to the Council by her successor to the post of High Commissioner of Human Rights.
We believe that requires careful consideration, as it would provide opportunities for the High Commissioner to play the role of providing early warning, rather than coming to brief the Council, at our request, when a crisis is already under way. During the debate convened by the presidency, the Council also had a chance to reinforce the expanded role of the Secretary-General in early warning efforts, which was important.
In conclusion, I would also like to thank you, Mr. President, for your efforts to address working methods and to limit our speaking time. We also share the presidency’s concern to have public discussions in the Chamber, for reasons of transparency, but also greater use of interactive consultations to accelerate decision-making, as decisions signal the Council’s unity, as I had mentioned earlier.
I would like to express to the United States our every wish for success in the month of September.