Close collaboration between the Arab League and the United Nations is necessary [fr]
Cooperation between the Arab League and the United Nations
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 13 June 2019
I would like to thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres, and the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, for their enlightening briefings, which made it possible to draw up a precise overview of cooperation between the Arab League and the United Nations, as well as for the very promising approaches they proposed to deepen this cooperation.
I would also like to thank the Kuwaiti presidency for taking the initiative to organize today’s meeting and to welcome the presence among us of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and Poland. Today’s meeting provides a new opportunity for the Security Council to exchange views on the common issues and challenges of the Arab world in a cross-cutting manner, following on from the informal interactive dialogue that France organized in March as part of our presidency of the Council, in order to seek points of agreement and convergence between us.
First of all, I would like to return to the scale of the political and security challenges facing the Arab world today, which more than ever justifies a sustained dialogue between the United Nations and the Arab League.
These issues concern us all because of their impact on international peace and security. On the security front, I am thinking in particular of the terrorist threat, with the persistent menace of Da’esh and the radicalization of minds. I am also thinking of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery to both State and non-State actors. At the political level, it is essential to support the United Nations efforts aimed at finding political solutions to the conflicts in the region, particularly in Syria, Yemen and Libya. These solutions must allow for the strengthening of institutions and respect for the rule of law, as well as inclusive and sustainable development that benefits all, without discrimination. I am thinking in particular of Syria, where military operations in the Idlib region must be brought to a definitive end and progress must be continued towards a political solution under the aegis of the United Nations and on the basis of resolution 2254 (2015). I am also thinking of Yemen, where we actively support United Nations mediation and call on all parties to engage constructively with it in the implementation of all the commitments made in Stockholm in December 2018.
On method, it is essential that we reaffirm together our commitment to dialogue and regional cooperation in the very spirit of the Charter of the United Nations. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to reaffirm our full support for the role of the United Nations in conflict prevention and mediation (see S/PV.8546). Today, I would like to highlight the key role of regional organizations, in particular the Arab League, whose action is more essential than ever to build consensus among Arab States and respond to global challenges affecting the region and beyond. In a context marked by the worrying rise in tensions in the Gulf, as illustrated by the new incidents against two tankers in the Arabian Sea today, which are of deep concern to us, restraint and de-escalation are more necessary than ever. As the Secretary-General has just pointed out, the world simply cannot afford a major confrontation in the Gulf region. It is all the more essential to work together to gradually establish a regional dialogue that could be the appropriate framework for structured exchanges on all areas of concern. In this regard, I would like to commend Kuwait’s long-standing commitment to keeping the channels of dialogue open and to building bridges despite the differences we are experiencing. This is also the meaning of France’s action.
Finally, I would like to stress the importance of respect for the fundamental principles of international law, which determine international peace and security. Any unilateral decision that deviates from them would be doomed to failure and would considerably weaken the order based on international legality. In this regard, I recall the first and foremost the political settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and our full commitment to the two-State solution. In this context, too, the Arab League and the United Nations have in common that they have defined clear parameters within the resolutions of the Security Council and the Arab Peace Initiative. Any effort, particularly economic, must be carried out within this framework.
In that context, close cooperation between the Arab League and the United Nations is more necessary than ever and must be further developed.
In this regard, I would like to welcome the forthcoming opening of a United Nations liaison office at the Arab League in Cairo, which has just been announced. This is an important step towards further collaboration between the United Nations and the Arab League.
In this regard, we welcome the Council’s commitment to invite the Secretary-General of the Arab League to come and brief it on an annual basis.
Finally, I would like to reiterate our desire to promote a better understanding by the Security Council and the United Nations of regional dynamics. This involves, in particular, creating spaces for cross-cutting discussions, as we are doing today and as we did in March during our presidency. The Council could also meet informally with the Special Envoys and Special Representatives for the North Africa and Middle East region once a year, in the presence of a representative of the Arab League. The meaning of these efforts is to move away from a logic of division or even confrontation that is as futile as it is risky and to create a dynamic of partnership. For this reason, there is no alternative to dialogue. There are no shortcuts. That is why it is so important to disconnect our automatic controls and to constantly seek convergence between us. It is in that spirit that France will continue to support the strengthening of the partnership between the United Nations and the Arab League.
It is in the same spirit that France will continue to exchange with the countries of the region as well as with the Arab League both bilaterally and within the European Union to provide a common response to its challenges. The Summit of the Two Shores, which we will host in Marseille on 23 and 24 June, will be another opportunity to foster such dialogue.