8548th Security Council Meeting: Cooperation with League of Arab States

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13-Jun-2019 02:09:50
Security Council presidential statement expresses intention to promote closer ties with League of Arab States at 8548th meeting.

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With Middle East crises occupying a significant portion of its agenda, the Security Council today expressed its intention to promote closer cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States in the fields of conflict early warning, prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2019/5) issued by Kuwait, Council President for June, the 15-member organ also encouraged the holding of an annual briefing by the League’s Secretary-General and an annual informal meeting between the Security Council and the Council of the League of Arab States.

Further to the statement, the Security Council encouraged consideration of the proposal by the League’s Council of Ministers to establish a consultative framework between the League and the United Nations to enhance collaboration in maintaining peace and security in the Arab region. It also emphasized the importance of intensifying coordination between their special envoys in addressing regional crises, with a view to reaching a more comprehensive understanding.

The Council also welcomed the upcoming opening of the United Nations liaison office at the League’s headquarters in Cairo this month, encouraging its maximum use by the secretariats of the two entities.

“From day one, I have prioritized cooperation with regional organizations to prevent conflict and sustain peace,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, stressing that stronger ties with the League is pivotal. Referring to numerous regional challenges — including in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory — he said partnerships are essential to advance a global order based on international law.

The two organizations share a common mission, he said: to prevent and resolve conflict, act in a spirit of solidarity and work together to expand economic opportunity, advance respect for human rights and build political inclusion.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said security in the region is a prerequisite for international security, expressing the desire to establish a broad and solid platform for cooperation with the United Nations, similar to the Organization’s arrangements with other regional bodies. Welcoming the establishment of a United Nations liaison office at the League’s headquarters, he said the scope of cooperation should include early warning, mediation and post‑conflict peacebuilding. Stressing that the Council’s internal dynamics on crises in the Arab region provide no excuse for inaction, he said advancing partnership can help both organizations better discharge their duty to maintain peace and security.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates exchanged views on how regional organizations can offer front‑line defence for the United Nations’ conflict prevention and resolution efforts, with several advocating stronger cooperation with the League.

Kuwait’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said the goal of today’s meeting was to reaffirm the principles enshrined in Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and help the Council seek peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Arab world. In 2012, the Council adopted a presidential statement in support of the League’s contribution to collective efforts to peacefully settle conflicts in the Middle East. However, the level of cooperation has failed to match expectation, with a number of Arab issues remaining on the Council’s agenda.

Poland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said he sees added value in stronger cooperation between the United Nations and the League. Mediation to manage crises requires strong commitment, including from regional organizations, he said, stressing that only by working together can States enhance their capacity to prevent crises.

“Neighbours know best,” said Indonesia’s delegate, underlining the importance for the United Nations to cooperate with regional and subregional organizations. “The League of Arab States is best placed to envision conflict‑specific solutions,” given its unique knowledge, he said, expressing support for regular briefings and informal meetings with the Council, as well as for the new liaison office in Cairo.

Equatorial Guinea’s delegate said the League’s specialized knowledge allows it to intelligently address the cultural components which have been factors in conflict. Recalling that most League members also belong to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or the African Union, he urged it to work with other regional organizations, ensure coordination and avoid duplicating efforts.

Belgium’s delegate supported the idea of regular Council meetings with the League, as is already the case with the European Union and the African Union. Stressing the importance of joint analysis and early warning mechanisms, she welcomed the announcement of a United Nations liaison office in Cairo.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the Dominican Republic, South Africa, United States, France, China, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Peru, Germany and Côte d’Ivoire.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 12:15 p.m.

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