26 February 2016 - Review of the activities of the Security Council for the month of February [fr]
Monthly summary of the activities of the Security Council - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 26 February 2016
At the outset, I would like to thank and congratulate the Ambassador of Venezuela and his entire team for the significant work they have carried out this month and for a very productive presidency. With a smile, you, Mr. President, have imposed on us an intensive programme of work with a record number of items under “Other matters”, including four that were discussed yesterday. We thank you, Sir.
We had a busy agenda, but I will address some issues of particular importance, among many others, without mentioning other issues, such as that of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, for example, which we discussed yesterday. I hope we will quickly be able to move to a vote on that matter on the excellent draft resolution that has been put forward.
With regard to Africa, I would like to make a few comments on Burundi and the Central African Republic.
The Council’s visit at the end of January and the visit of the Secretary-General to Bujumbura on 22 and 23 February helped to strengthen the international community’s momentum to demand that the actors in Burundi put an end to violence and begin a true inter-Burundian dialogue without delay. We hope that the high-level visit of the Heads of State of the African Union yesterday and today will help secure concrete commitments, especially from President Nkurunziza, in that regard.
It is essential for us that the Council do everything in its power to avoid a situation in which the Burundi crisis becomes a civil war or worse. The deployment of a United Nations police contingent is a key element in that regard. We regret that an agreement still has not been reached on our draft presidential statement on that subject. We will continue to tirelessly push in that direction with a spirit of responsibility and vigilance to support the efforts of the African Union. Depending on the results of the visit of the African Union Heads of State, we will resume the initiative to support their actions.
With regard to the Central African Republic, we welcome the adoption, on 9 February of resolution 2264 (2016), which increased the number of correctional officers deployed to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), will help to strengthen our fight against impunity. The holding of the presidential election is a real collective success story for people of the Central African Republic, but also for MINUSCA, Operation Sangaris and all those who supported the country’s recovery. The electoral process will reach its conclusion and should allow a transition to take place on 31 March. Once the transition is complete, the Security Council must remain seized of the matter to support the Central African Republic to ensure its stability and reconciliation.
I would also like to mention the pressing issue of this day, the question of Syria.
France supports a process that will lead to tangible results for the Syrian people, not a process for its own sake. We must only mention the obvious, as recalled by the Secretary-General in his letter of 17 February, that if Syrians do not see any results in their daily lives, negotiations will not be credible and they will remain an abstract — that is, absurd — piece of theatre. That is the guiding principle of our approach and that is why we have consistently condemned attacks against civilians and called for the immediate lifting of all sieges and for permanent, secure and unconditional access for humanitarian assistance to all persons in need.
We also welcomed the cessation of hostilities agreement reached by the United States and Russia, on 12 February, as a significant contribution to the resolution of the Syrian conflict. France will fully support the adoption this afternoon of the draft resolution endorsing the parameters of that cessation of hostilities agreement. However, if the role of the Security Council is to support, without hesitation, anything that can lead to a sustainable reduction in violence, it must also involve an effort to ensure that we have the collective means to fully implement such an initiative.
We must also keep in mind that, although the cessation of hostilities is welcome, it is only a first step in reducing violence. The key will be the ability to achieve, through the inter-Syrian negotiations coordinated by the Special Envoy, the implementation of resolution 2254 (2015) and the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/522, annex), as only a real transition will lay the foundation for a real end to the crisis in Syrian.
With regard to the peace process, we hope, with our initiative, to change the status quo — which is in fact a regression that increasingly weakens the two-State solution and which threatens to lead to an explosion on the ground. France is moving forward methodically with its initiative by initially bringing together the members of the International Syria Support Group and, in time, the parties in the framework of an international conference. While we do not believe that the conditions exist for positive action by the Security Council, but we remain determined to ensure that the Council can play the role it should play when the time comes.
We will act in full transparency and in close consultation with all the parties concerned. Our approach is constructive and collective so that we can find a way out of this very harmful situation. We also will seek to build on the efforts of the different partners, in particular the Quartet, whose statement of 12 February is in accordance with our efforts. The appointment of a special high-level envoy, Mr. Pierre Vimont, our former Ambassador to the United States and former Executive Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, will allow us to begin to hold extensive consultations. I will regularly inform the Council of our progress on that front.
With regard to Libya, there have also been a number of significant developments in February. Steps have been taken towards the establishment of a government of national unity. Members of the Presidential Council reached an agreement on 15 February to propose a second, narrower, consolidated list of members of the Government. France, with other partners, welcomed that announcement. While a majority of members in the House of Representatives signed a statement endorsing the Government, this is a decisive moment. The endorsement of that list and the definitive establishment of a Government of national unity are essential to address the worrying humanitarian and economic crises in the country and to confront the threat of Da’esh. We fully supported the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Martin Kobler, in his efforts. We will continue to fully support the political process so that the Government of national unity can be set up as soon as possible. The Security Council consultations that will take place on 2 March are expected to reaffirm our collective support for United Nations mediation and the ongoing process.
Lastly, the briefing of the Council planned for Monday with the participation of the German Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe presents the opportunity to recall the central role played by the United Nations in the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine, as well as the need for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. In that regard, France has regularly recalled that the agreements are the only possible framework for a negotiated solution.
I will conclude by again thanking the Venezuelan presidency and by wishing Angola, which takes over in a few days, the best of luck.