Wrap up of August 2015 at the Security Council - 31 August 2015 [fr]
Wrap up of the month - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 31 August 2015
At the outset, let me pay tribute to the Force Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and to express my condolences to his family and loved ones.
I warmly thank Ambassador Joy Ogwu and all the Nigerian team for their work. You managed perfectly the agenda during an intensive month in the heart of a New York summer, with pragmatism, talent and a spirit of availability. I also wish to pay tribute to your mindfulness for summaries and explanations of the work done. You placed the issue of peacekeeping at the heart of your programme, thus preparing for the collective thinking that we owe the Organization for its seventieth anniversary. In particular, I will remember the excellent debate (see S/PV.7505) organized on regional organizations and contemporary challenges to global security. The recommendations of the report (see S/2015/446) of the High-level Independent Panel on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, as the Secretary-General stated, encourage us to strengthen partnerships, with the strict application of Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, with regional organizations, in particular the Union African and the European Union.
The month of August also saw its own positive developments. Certainly, we cannot rest on our laurels, but I want to highlight several issues.
To begin with, the Council was able to reach unanimity on the Syrian dossier with the adoption of resolution 2235 (2015), which establishes an investigative mission to attribute responsibility for the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon in Syria, which shows that there will be no impunity in the face of such serious crimes. That hope was extended and bolstered by the adoption of a presidential statement (S/PRST/2015/15) on 17 August in support of the political process relaunched by Staffan de Mistura. Now we have that framework in place; henceforth we must not forget the situation of civilian populations who have paid too high a price in this conflict. From 18 August, air raids that struck Douma indiscriminately, with about a 100 deaths and numerous injured, remind us what the Syrian authorities are doing to their own population. As we wait for a political transition to be set up, the international community must remember that, first and foremost, States have the responsibility of providing security for their populations. France will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the protection of civilian populations against the most deadly attacks, in particular indiscriminate bombings by the regime using barrels bombs, and to ensure that a political solution, which everyone very much wants, will be set up. One does not go without the other.
I also want to speak about another development, Madam, that took place under your presidency, namely, the signing of the peace agreement on South Sudan. The presidential statement (S/PRST/2015/16) adopted on August 29 invites the parties to honour their commitments in full. That important moment, while the security and humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate, shows, if it was needed, in connection with Nigeria’s general debate, the key mediating role of regional organizations and of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in the crisis in South Sudan.
Peacekeeping, which has been the thread running through your presidency, Madam, involves the renewal of the mandates of United Nations peacekeeping operations. Through resolution 2236 (2015), we renewed the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which plays a key role in Lebanon to preserve the ceasefire. The presidential statement of 29 August on the South Sudan (S/PRST/2015/16) confirms the desire of the Council to adapt the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to implement the recently signed agreement.
I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the courageous action of the soldiers and personnel involved in peacekeeping. We saw this, for example, with the efforts of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali to restore calm on the ground during serious armed clashes in the Kidal region, in violation of the agreements signed on 15 May and 20 June in Mali. They cannot see their reputation tarnished by abuses carried out by some of them. This month of August saw the list of allegations of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic expand. The Council was able to express its emotion and anger, and support the decisive action of the Secretary-General to implement the zero-tolerance policy. I want to assure Council members once again of the wholesale determination of France to shed light on the allegations concerning French soldiers. We want to lend our full support to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, in that painful but crucial time for the political transition in the Central African Republic.
My statement would not paint a realistic picture if I did not talk about the tense situations that civilians suffer from first and foremost. First of all, Burundi has been caught up in a spiral of violence since the elections. From now on only one thing is needed — the resumption of dialogue. However, it is lagging behind, at a risk for the worse and of regional contagion. Let us get back once again to the role of regional organizations in crisis prevention and management. That will be crucial. The East African Community is in the front line, but the African Union and the United Nations must give their support. Inaction does not equal stability, and we must do everything we can collectively and individually to bring the parties together to find agreement and a consensus-based solution. In Burundi as in other theatres of political and security crises, the inclusive nature of dialogue will be a key to a solution.
The appeal we are making also concerns Guinea-Bissau. The Council and the Peacebuilding Commission have noted an increase in tensions, steeped in obstacles for the country and its population, that might undermine the significant achievements that the country has attained since 2012. The unity of the Council and the international community sends a strong message to the authorities of Guinea-Bissau to urge them to opt for dialogue over confrontation, with the support, once again, of regional organizations, in particular the Economic Community of West African States.
In Yemen, Stephen O’Brien returned from his trip with a report and very alarming figures on the humanitarian situation in the country. France recalls that resolution 2216 (2015) urges all parties to fully respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law that applies. We reiterate our appeal to implement an unconditional humanitarian pause, if necessary with a monitoring mechanism, and an immediate resumption, without preconditions, of a truly inclusive inter-Yemeni dialogue, under the aegis of the Special Envoy.
Finally, on Libya, the Council has been sufficiently patient, and it is time for dialogue to happen very soon with the formation of a Government of national consensus. Otherwise, the threat of terrorism will continue to expand, and we will not be able to bring a sustained response to the migration challenges that affect the country. We are bringing our full support to the Special Envoy Bernardino León in this decisive moment, and we stand ready to bring our full force to bear to dissuade those who are intransigent and refuse to sign an agreement.
We must not forget that this month has been overshadowed by terrible bombings and terrorist attacks in several countries, including yours, Madam President, because of Boko Haram, but also in Saudi Arabia because of Daesh. Unfortunately, the list is too long. Our determination to combat the scourges of terrorism and radicalism is full-fledged. More than ever, the unity of the Council is crucial to block the fanatics. Following up from the ministerial debate of 27 March (see S/PV.7419), on 8 September France will organize a conference in Paris on the preservation of diversity and pluralism in the Middle East. We are convinced that we cannot protect populations from the ethnic and religious violence that Daesh has made its trademark, unless States are based on the coexistence among the different groups within their communities.
On the eve of the opening of the seventieth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, we note that enormous challenges face us, and the unity and mobilization of the Council for peacekeeping are more than ever crucial. August, thanks to you, Madam President, really did a kick-off under the emblem of mobilization and hope.
In conclusion, I want to warmly thank the Nigerian presidency again, and wish Russia every success. Of course Russia can count on our full support.