Virtual Press Briefing by Security Council President on Programme of Work for September

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01-Sep-2020 00:54:55
Press Conference by H.E. Mr. Abdou Abarry, Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations and President of the Security Council in September 2020, on the program of work of the Security Council for the month of September.

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Among the highlights in September, the Security Council agenda will feature a ministerial meeting on the humanitarian effects of environmental degradation on international peace and security and a high-level summit on post COVID-19 global governance, its President for the month told reporters during a video press briefing today.

Abdou Abarry (Niger) said his country is assuming the leadership role after 40 years of absence, recalling that the last time Niger steered discussions was during the 1980-81 term.

As Council President, he said Niger will seek to build consensus, diplomacy and balance. “Diplomacy is the search for a solution,” he explained. “When we do not arrive at solutions, particularly to new problems, we invent them.” He will be open to that approach to ensure that all issues, whatever they may be, are well considered.

In that vein, he said regular meetings will be held on the situation in Yemen, peace and security in the Middle East, and the humanitarian conditions in Syria. The 15-member organ will also consider the situation in Sudan and South Sudan.

The Council will hold its first meeting of the month — on the situation in Libya — on 2 September, followed by a 3 September debate on the situation in Afghanistan. Other meetings on the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia will follow.

Four signature events will punctuate the month, he said. On 8 September, the Council will hold a meeting on the role of the International Organisation of la Francophonie in the maintenance of international peace and security.

On 10 September, a debate on children and armed conflict will address attacks on schools, a grave violation of human rights, he said, noting that in the Sahel, with so many schools closed, thousands of children — particularly girls — are at risk. “This situation, in the context of COVID-19, is of great concern,” he said, stressing that girls are now more at risk of facing sexual abuse and early pregnancy.

Turning to 17 September, he said the Council will hold a ministerial meeting on the humanitarian effects of environmental degradation and peace and security. On 24 September, a high-level summit on global governance post-COVID-19 will be held, underscoring the need for the United Nations to address traditional security threats, as well as new ones, including organized crime and pandemics. It will be chaired by the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou.

Taking questions from journalists, first over whether he would table a resolution on Iran, following the 20 August notification by the United States that it would initiate the process to “snapback” sanctions, he said there is a 10-day window in which to submit such a text, according to resolution 2231 (2015).

He specified that 1 September falls outside that timeframe and that he has not received any formal request from his predecessor — or any Council member — in that regard. Based on the statement made by Indonesia’s representative, as Council President for August, there is no need to act. Asked about his meeting with the United States Secretary of State, he described it as a “fairly constructive” discussion that focused on Niger’s relations with the United States.

He went on to stress that any Council member can introduce a resolution, including the United States. He does not feel an obligation under resolution 2231 (2015) to present a text on the matter, as such a decision would have fallen under the purview of the former Council President, during the 10-day window.

As to which world leaders will attend the high-level summit, he said the Council is awaiting confirmation from those invited, clarifying that the Presidents of France and the United States have not yet confirmed.

Asked about Libya, he said the 2 September meeting will be an open debate format, noting that the arms embargo is not being respected and that maritime waterways must be monitored. There is less supervision on the ground. “The situation has become very complex,” he said, adding: “Hospitals are being destroyed, while women, children and asylum seekers are being killed. Libya is suffering tremendously.” The Special Envoy left Libya in March, coinciding with the onset of COVID-19. There are intense consultations within the Council to allow for a new envoy who could help foster a political process and forge international consensus. “The issue cannot be solved without a multilateral setting,” he said.

In response to a question on whether the Council will discuss the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said the issue is not on the agenda, nor are any discussions related to the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006).

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