Security Council: Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional and Subregional Organizations in Maintaining International Peace and Security - 8792nd Meeting

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10-Jun-2021 02:13:40
Solving world’s problems requires ‘global cooperation based on agreed rules’, European Union High Representative tells Security Council.

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The demand for multilateral solutions in the world today is exceeding supply, and while “rules-based multilateralism” may not be an appealing phrase, the United Nations and the European Union must bring it alive, the bloc’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy told the Security Council today.

“We need global cooperation based on agreed rules. The alternative is the law of the jungle, where problems don’t get solved,” said Josep Borrell via video-teleconference as the Council held its annual debate on strengthening relations with the 27-member group under its agenda item on cooperation with regional and subregional organizations.

In a far-ranging briefing that touched upon topics as varied as Middle East hotspots to the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the High Representative said that the bloc’s staunch support for the United Nations is reflected not only in words, but also in financial, human and political terms. Spotlighting the Council’s own responsibilities, he said that it must take decisions to support and protect people living in conflict situations.

Among other things, he recommended the lifting of export restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines and their components; the adoption of a Council resolution on the link between international security and climate change; the renewal of the humanitarian cross-border mechanism for Syria; the deployment of a robust monitoring mission in Libya; and the revival of the Middle East Quartet to facilitate fresh dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.

Turning to situations on Europe’s doorstep, the High Representative said that the Union is developing additional sanctions in response to the forced diversion on 23 May of a commercial airliner to Belarus and the ensuing detention of a leading journalist. He regretted that the situation in Ukraine is being instrumentalized for political purposes in the Council, adding that the European Union expects the Russian Federation to assume a constructive stance. More generally, he said that the bloc deploys sanctions not as an end in themselves, but as a tool to promote respect for universal rights.

The ensuing debate saw Council members voicing strong support for ever-closer cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union, as with other regional groups such as the African Union. But it also exposed fault lines over several long-standing issues which have failed to garner consensus in the 15-member organ.

The representative of the United States, speaking ahead of a meeting in Brussels on 15 June between President Joe Biden and top European Union officials, said that his country’s relationship with the bloc is built on shared values. Going forward, Washington, D.C., will work closely with its European partners on crises in Tigray, Myanmar, Syria and Venezuela, he said, adding that the Council can and must do better in responding to those same situations.

The Russian Federation’s representative said that relations between his country and the European Union are at the lowest ebb in years. He expressed grave concern about the bloc’s use of arbitrary coercive measures, adding that while the Union is an important regional player, its actions should not go beyond Council mandates.

France’s representative said that the mid-air “hijacking” over Belarus on 23 May demonstrated how human rights violations can have a direct impact on European security. He added that within the Normandy format, France and fellow European Union member Germany are sparing no effort to revive the political process to resolve the conflict in Donbas.

China’s representative called the European Union a model for multilateralism that should take the lead in renouncing double standards and working towards shared goals. He refuted the High Representative’s remarks about human rights in Hong Kong, saying that matters pertaining to the Special Administrative Region are his country’s internal affair.

The United Kingdom’s representative, whose country left the European Union on 1 January, said that an international rules-based system, with the United Nations at its centre, is the foundation for coordinated and collective action in the face of global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. He acknowledged the bloc’s contribution to resolving key issues on the Council’s agenda, including bringing Iran back into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Tunisia’s representative said that cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union is particularly visible in Africa, where the bloc is contributing to many peacebuilding initiatives. Going forward, the two organizations must strengthen their cooperation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to put into place a plan to reduce the threat of climate change as a driver of conflict, he added.

Also speaking today were representatives of Kenya, India, Ireland, Viet Nam, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Mexico, Norway, Niger and Estonia.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 12:16 p.m.

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2629253