Debate on persecuted minorities in the Middle East: an international mobilization (03/30/2015) [fr]
UNSC wrap up for the month of March - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 30 March 2015
As we near the end of the French presidency of the Security Council, it is useful to pause for a moment to take a step back and assess what we have achieved. As members know, this month has been particularly busy and intense. In March, we held 28 meetings, adopted 9 resolutions and issued 3 presidential statements and 8 press statements. To better understand these statistics, we can simply say that they are comparable, given the Council’s absence from New York for one week, to the month of March of last year, which, as members will recall, established a new record in terms of workload. Today, no one can deny that the Council, as the saying goes, is actively seized of the matters on its agenda.
We established three main focuses for our presidency: the Middle East, children and armed conflict, and Africa. Allow me to broadly state what we have accomplished together. On the Middle East, the high-level debate (see S/PV.7419) presided by the Minister Laurent Fabius and devoted to the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East was a key moment in mobilizing the international community. The powerful statements delivered by the participants and the statement of the Secretary-General allowed that first meeting on this topic to alert and mobilize the United Nations as a whole and above all to start planning a response. Minister Laurent Fabius and the Secretary-General also outlined the prospect of plan of action to be developed by a panel of experts. As Mr. Fabius stated, France is ready to host an international conference that would be devoted to the presentation of the findings of the panel of experts. We will ensure the follow-up to this initiative so that this important political dynamic is translated into tangible action on this critical topic to enable the return of threatened populations.
On Libya, the Council adopted three resolutions — resolutions 2208 (2015), 2213 (2015) and 2214 (2015) — this month focusing on the political and security aspects of the crisis and underscored the importance of United Nations mediation. Faced with the crisis in Yemen, the Council held an emergency meeting (see S/PV.7411) on Sunday, 22 March, and adopted presidential statement S/PRST/2015/8 renewing its support for the legitimate President and the efforts undertaken by the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Yemen. Naturally, given the acceleration of events, the Council should remain mobilized to encourage and support any viable solution to the crisis. We also adopted resolution 2209 (2015) on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, which warns that any future non-compliance will be subject to measures under Chapter VII. We hope that the investigations of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will be concluded as soon as possible.
Finally, let me turn to the peace process. The Council held a very enriching meeting (see S/PV.7417) with Special Coordinator Robert Serry, dwelling on his legacy on that dossier, which he had handled for seven years. Consensus remains within the Council that the two-State solution should more than ever remain the point of reference of our action. France sees that consensus as momentum for resuming discussions in the Council on a draft resolution to set the broad parametres of a solution, which are well known, while also relaunching negotiations in which the international community will spare no effort. As Minister Laurent Fabius announced, we intend to move make progress soon.
Finally, the Council adopted an important presidential statement on Lebanon, which covers all dimensions of the situation of the country and underscore the unified support within the Council for Lebanon.
Now I turn to the second focus of our presidency: the protection of children in armed conflict, which has long been a high priority for France. In close collaboration with Malaysia, we prepared for the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1612 (2005), by holding an open debate on child victims of non-State armed groups (see S/PV.7414). The debate heard speeches by the Secretary-General, the Special Representative of UNICEF, and the harrowing testimonies of Julie Bodin and, in particular, of Junior Nzita, former child soldier from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He truly taught us a life lesson by contributing an incomparably poignant human story to our discussion.
I also want to highlight that the French presidency sought to innovate in terms of Council working methods for this debate. Instead of voting on a previously negotiated text, then listening to speeches by participating States, we decided to reverse the order — first we listened, then we acted. We thank the more than 80 participants for their numerous and rich contributions. France will synthesize these soon, which I will duly issue to all Members of our Organization. It will be a useful contribution to the discussions and negotiations that Malaysia will host between now and the summer, following on from our efforts, for which I thank them.
I was impressed by the teamwork between our two delegations, which will continue, as well as with UNICEF, with which we have worked to promote, since their adoption in 2007, the Paris Commitments to protect children against their unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups.
Finally, the third and final focus of our presidency was on the crises in Africa. First, I will refer to the important mission of the Council to Africa, starting in the Central African Republic, then to the African Union and Burundi, which I had the honour and pleasure to lead with my Angolan colleague, and for the Bujumbura stage, with my American colleague. I will not dwell on this because we have had the opportunity to report on it, but the negotiations of major significance this month focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mandate that we adopted last Thursday in resolution 2211 (2015) establishes of a regular and structured dialogue with the Congolese Government on the future of the Mission. With appropriate staffing, the Mission will have to concentrate on a reduced number of tasks, primarily the protection of civilians.
The same day, the Council increased the force strength of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic at the request of the Secretary-General. I would also like to mention, and highlight, the vote on the first Council resolution (resolution 2206 (2015) setting up a sanctions regime in South Sudan, which was followed by the adoption of presidential statement S/PRST/2015/9 following the failure of the Addis Ababa talks.
Last but not least, it was under the French presidency that the Council held its first public meeting on Boko Haram (see S/PV.7421), and that negotiations began towards a vote on a draft resolution to support the efforts under way in the form of a joint multinational force comprising soldiers of countries of the region against this barbaric group.
Finally, I must add that our presidency allowed us to foster dialogue between the Council and regional organizations, in the spirit of Chapter VIII of our Charter. Indeed, we have received for the first time the High Representative of the European Union, Ms. Mogherini. We met in Addis Ababa with Peace and Security Council of the African Union. And I have received, in my capacity President of the Council, Mrs. Michaëlle Jean, Secretary General of the International Organization of the Francophonie.
I could also mention the important meetings we held on Ukraine, Haiti, relations between Sudan and South Sudan, Darfur, Afghanistan, the humanitarian dimensions of the situation in Syria and yet many other subjects.
I conclude by thanking all Council members for their cooperation thought this particularly dense and productive month. I would like to make special and extremely grateful mention for the Council Secretariat teams, the conference and security services, the sound engineers and our invaluable interpreters.
I wish Jordan every success in the month of April and I, for one, am confident that the Council will be in good hands with Dina and her team.