France announces 3 priorities for its Presidency of the UN Security Council [fr]
Wrap up of the Security Council activities (May 2016 ) - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 31 May 2016
I should like at the outset to thank and warmly congratulate Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta and the entire Egyptian team for all of their work this month. With great professionalism, they led us through a month that was very busy in every way, particularly with meetings with regional organizations — with the African Union (AU) all of last week and with the Arab League in Cairo, which was a first, as well as with the European Union.
Mr. President, as you have invited us to do, I will address only three of the topics on the agenda of the Council this month. I would like also to say a few words about the main deadlines that we can expect during the month of June.Mr. President, let me begin by saying that you started off your presidency with a major event, imperative for all of us: the adoption of resolution 2286 (2016), on the protection of medical personnel in armed conflict. Attacks against hospitals have increased in recent years in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. We deem it very important that the Council has sent a strong message, and we will have to provide strict follow-up of the resolution in order to ensure that such violations of international humanitarian law do not go unpunished. France will remain mobilized in that regard.
Turning now to the Middle East, I would like to come back to the issue of Syria and to the peace process. The adoption of resolutions 2254 (2015) and 2268 (2016) made it possible to see some progress in resolving the Syrian crisis. After very positive dynamics in March, early May saw a loss of ground. The Geneva talks were suspended and violence resumed, hitting Aleppo even harder than before the coming into force of the cessation of hostilities.
Humanitarian access was very minimal in its progress owing to the siege imposed by the regime, of which Daraya has become a symbol. Given this series of negative developments, the Special Envoy, supported by France and other delegations, called for the holding of another ministerial-level meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG). The Vienna communiqué adopted on 17 May made it possible to reaffirm the commitment of ISSG members to creating the conditions for a credible resumption of negotiations. Most importantly, the communiqué unambiguously reaffirmed the need for the next round of negotiations to focus just on the transition and its modalities for implementation, and this by 1 August.
To date, progress is still minimal, as confirmed by the Special Envoy during the consultations held on 26 May. While the goal of a resumption of political negotiations has been set, we should not be too hasty regarding a fresh inter-Syrian round of talks if conditions to ensure their credibility have not been met. The next few days should focus on the effective implementation of the 17 May communiqué, using, if necessary, those tools that have been agreed to, that is, a ministerial-level meeting of the ISSG and the Security Council.
In the immediate term, the main issue is humanitarian access. If impediments to humanitarian convoys to all areas under siege are not lifted before June 1, we will have to begin humanitarian air drops. After five meetings of the ISSG and two Security Council resolutions, we should be seeing some real progress in this regard.
Turning now to the peace process, to which we drew the Council’s attention on 15 May, we hope that the ministerial-level meeting that we will be holding in Paris on 3 June will make it possible to give a new political horizon for the two-State solution. France has for several months seen the threat of generalized unrest on the ground. That threat is increasing on a daily basis owing to the daily injustices suffered by the Palestinians and the increasing insecurity of the Israelis. That French initiative was the subject of extensive consultations, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs in April and the Prime Minister last week both visited Israel and the Palestinian territories. The Minister also consulted with our partners in the region and the Quartet in order to build a broad-based consensus. The ministerial-level meeting to be held on З June in Paris must be the starting point for political mobilization. The President of the Republic, François Hollande, will open the meeting, in which the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the United States Secretary of State have already confirmed their participation.
Our approach is collective and complementary to the action undertaken by the Quartet, whose upcoming report should provide important information for moving forward. We thank the very large majority of Council delegations as well as others that have supported and continue to support our efforts.
I cannot mention the month of May in the Security Council without revisiting some of the significant events that made it possible for the Security Council to interact with regional organizations, particularly the African Union, throughout the past week. The Council’s meetings with the AU Peace and Security Council and the League of Arab States during its trip to Cairo and with the European Union’s Political and Security Committee have reaffirmed the importance of cooperation with regional organizations and to promote mutual understanding of the crises of the day.
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of consultations with the African Union, we must remain resolutely engaged in bolstering this strategic partnership. The effectiveness of United Nations action, like that of the African Union, cannot but be improved through that. In that regard, we welcome the Egyptian presidency’s initiative in organizing a Council trip to Somalia, a case in which good cooperation with the African Union is essential to promoting peace and security in the region. That field mission and consultations with the African Union will enable us to better adjust the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia, which we will renew in a few weeks, in terms of both offensive actions and respect for human rights.
In conclusion, let me say a few words about the main priorities of our presidency, which begins tomorrow. It will be an extremely busy month of activities for the Council, which we can organize into three main pillars.
First, peacekeeping will serve as the veritable backbone of the month of June. With the ministerial debate on 10 June, led by Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault, we will together take the opportunity to deepen, in the presence of the Secretary-General and the President-elect of the Central African Republic, our understanding of effective and modern peacekeeping in protecting civilians. The exchange will enable us to set the tone of a month will that will be particularly active in the area of renewing peacekeeping mandates, including those of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, without mentioning the anticipated results of the strategic review of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic. That is to say, Africa will be at the heart of our presidency.
Secondly, the month of June will also be marked by many important deadlines with regard to the Middle East, including Syria, of course, in all its dimensions — political, chemical and humanitarian. Libya will also be on the agenda, along with Yemen and the peace process, which I have already mentioned. In late June, the Security Council will also receive the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) on Lebanon. June will also be very active with regard to elections in the United Nations. Specifically, we will elect new members of the Council on 28 June.
Lastly, a word on the process of the election of the Secretary-General. The General Assembly will organize new informal dialogues between the candidates and Member States on 7 June. As in April, I am certain that they will elicit very strong interest on the part of Member States. We commend and encourage this welcome opening. It will be up to the Council to move ahead with its own work within the framework of its responsibilities. In that regard, I thank Ambassador Aboulatta of Egypt for the constructive discussions undertaken under his presidency. It is in that spirit that we will work during our June presidency to ensure the organization and all necessary arrangements for the Council to proceed to the initial voting ballots at the appropriate time.
Again, I thank and congratulate the Egyptian presidency for the high quality of the work in May. You have set the bar very high, Sir.