Bienvenidos a las Naciones Unidas

Reports and Policy Documents

2016

  • 25 Abr 2016

    Mr. President,
    Members of the Council,
    Ladies and Gentlemen

    Thank Mr. President for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

    As the Council is aware, piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea is regularly covered in the biannual briefings provided by the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for the Central Africa and West Africa regions. However, this is the first time in almost five years that the Security Council has a dedicated a session on the subject matter.

    Over the past few years, there has been a steady decline in the number of recorded incidents of piracy, armed robbery at sea and other illicit and illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea.  However, insecurity at sea remains a source of concern in the region.  In the first quarter of 2016, the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre has recorded six attacks and six attempted attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, including nine in Nigeria, one in Côte d'Ivoire, and two within the territorial waters of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Cases of hijacking of vessels for political purposes by the self-described “Biafra” militants off the coast of Nigeria and kidnappings along the coasts of Western and Central Africa have also been recently recorded.

     

    Mr. President,

    As you may recall, following an upsurge in incidents of piracy, armed robbery at sea and other illicit activities in the Gulf of Guinea, the Security Council, in its resolutions 2018 (2011) and 2039 (2012), encouraged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) to develop a comprehensive regional anti-piracy strategy for the Gulf of Guinea with United Nations support.

    As a result, a Summit of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, ECCAS and the GGC on Maritime Safety and Security in the Gulf of Guinea was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, in June 2013, with the support of UNOWAS and UNOCA.  During the Summit, the Heads of State and Government committed to work towards the promotion of peace, security and stability in the Gulf of Guinea.  Notably, the Summit adopted: i) a Memorandum of Understanding on maritime safety and security in Central and West Africa that set objectives and areas of cooperation; ii) a Code of Conduct; and iii) a Political Declaration on enhancing cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea.  The Summit also agreed on the creation of an Inter-regional Coordination Centre (ICC) to implement the Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa and established a clear division of labour which charged the  regional organizations with responsible for strategy and coordination, and the States with responsibility for operations.

    The Inter-Regional Coordination Centre was inaugurated in Yaoundé on 11 September 2014 to coordinate all operations with regard to the suppression of piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea.  This marked an important, positive step in the cooperation between West and Central Africa in the fight against piracy and crimes at sea in the Gulf of Guinea region.

    The Inter-Regional Cooperation Centre is expected to coordinate two Regional Maritime Coordination Centres: namely the Regional Maritime Security Centre for Central Africa (CRESMAC) located in Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo, and ii) the yet to be established Regional Maritime Security Centre for West Africa (CRESMAO) to be located in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

    The Regional Maritime Coordination Centre for Central Africa has been operational since its official launch in October 2014, while the Multinational and Regional Maritime Coordination Centres are at different stages of operationalisation.  However, despite its inauguration in 2014, the ICC itself is not fully operational due to staffing, funding and other logistical constraints.

     

    Mr. President,

    An Extraordinary Meeting of Heads of State and Government of ECCAS, ECOWAS and the GGC was held in Yaoundé on 12 February 2016 to address the challenges towards the operationalisation of the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre. Both the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for West Africa and Central Africa attended the meeting on behalf of the UN.  The meeting reviewed the ICC’s staff recruitment and procedures, the budget for the second half of 2016 and for 2017, as well as a proposed programme of activities.

    With regard to the budget, the meeting recommended that member States contribute 40 percent of the necessary resources, while bilateral and international partners would contribute the rest. The Summit also recommended that ECCAS, ECOWAS, the GGC and their member States expedite the disbursement of funds to allow for the operationalization of the ICC between July and December 2016. Moreover, it was proposed that additional sources of funding be explored through the taxation of beneficiaries of the ports situated in the Gulf of Guinea.

    The mobilization of resources remains a key priority for ensuring the effective operationalization of the ICC, particularly given that a significant component of the centre’s budgetary resources is expected to come from bilateral and international partners.  For this reason, the Heads of State and Government of ECCAS, ECOWAS and GGC have agreed, in principle, on the organization of a future conference of partners and third-party contributors in Yaoundé. The conference is expected to be held immediately after the meeting of the G7 ++ and Friends of the Gulf of Guinea, which is scheduled for 6 to 7 June in Lisbon, Portugal.  The United Nations is committed to assist in this endeavour through its regional offices in Central and West Africa.

     

    Mr. President,

    Tackling international crimes of trafficking, piracy and theft requires a combination of efforts and an understanding that suppression, while necessary, is not sufficient. Those who commit illegal acts at sea are highly adaptable, increasingly sophisticated in their methods and often well-informed. This requires national, regional and global efforts to be flexible and proactive.  Initiatives aimed at addressing socio-economic development and lack of job opportunities are also required to provide prospects to marginalised populations that may be involved in piracy activities, most notably the youth.

    Ultimately, countering the current threats requires a combination of capacities including qualitative improvements in the collection of intelligence; the sharing and improved analyses of intelligence; enhancement of the capacities (both infrastructure and training) of local law enforcement agencies of the Gulf of Guinea countries; and the establishment of an effective customs and border control system throughout the sub-region. 

    It is also important to avoid duplication of international capacity-building efforts with respect to maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.  The G7++ and the Friends of the Gulf of Guinea groups have been serving as useful coordination platforms in this regard.

    Finally, and most importantly, the African Union is scheduled to hold an Extraordinary Summit on Maritime Security and Development for Africa on 15 and 16 October 2016 in Lomé, Togo.  We believe the Summit will provide a unique opportunity for the countries of the region to renew their commitment to jointly enhance the maritime security architecture in the Gulf of Guinea.

    Thank you for your attention.

  • 12 Abr 2016

    Today, United Nations Under-S‎ecretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr Jeffrey Feltman, concluded his two-day visit to Armenia. In meetings with President Sargsyan, Foreign Minister Nalbandian, Minister of Justice Hovhannisyan, Mr Feltman discussed UN-Armenian cooperation, ranging from Armenia's  contributions to the United Nations as well as the work of the UN Country Team in Armenia to assist Armenia in attaining the SDGs, governance and human rights as well as  addressing humanitarian emergencies. He witnessed the signing of the Country Programme actions plans of UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA with the Foreign Minister.

    Mr Feltman  emphasised the UN's full support for the ongoing efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group and the Co-Chairs to bring the parties urgently back to the negotiating table to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Nagarno-Karabakh conflict. Mr Feltman underscored that there had to be accountability for violations of the Geneva Conventions and international human rights.‎ While it is encouraging that the ceasefire is largely holding, he underscored the imperative of stabilising the situation irreversibly and preventing a return to military action. There is no alternative to a political process as proposed by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and to restore trust between the sides.‎ 

    Read the Politically Speaking article here.

  • 8 Abr 2016

    Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
    Dear Colleagues,

    First of all, words of thanks: to H.E. Mr. Stephan Husy, Ambassador-at-Large for Counter-Terrorism, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, for co-chairing this session with me. 

    And to my UN colleagues for their participation - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al-Hussein, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura, CTED Executive Director Jean-Paul Laborde, UNDP Assistant Administrator, Izumi Nakamitsu, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Volker Türk, and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Yannick Glemarec.

    And of course to all of you for contributing to our common thinking on and efforts to prevent violent extremism.

    Under the theme of this session, “Preventing Violent Extremism -  The Way Forward - Action at the Global Level”, I would like us to consider two aspects in particular, building on the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action:

    • How and where does the global level in general and the UN in particular add value to the efforts of Member States?
    • And how is and should the UN therefore (re-)oriente its support to Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations at Headquarters and in the field to enhance our common efforts to prevent violent extremism?

     

    How and where does the global level in general and the UN in particular add value to the efforts of Member States?

    Let me start off by reaffirming the principles underpinning the UN’s work:

    First, the principle of national ownership is at the origin of all our efforts, as recognized in the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action by the emphasis on the development of national PVE Plans of Action. Thus, the role of the United Nations should be to support Member States who have the primary responsibility for developing National Plans of Action.

    Second, as the Secretary-General has consistently stated: “The threat of violent extremism is not limited to any one religion, nationality or ethnic group.” Contexts differ, there may be external factors that have to be taken into account, but violent extremism is a global phenomenon, as starkly demonstrated by the more than 30.000 Foreign Terrorist Fighters that come from more than 100 countries across the world. That is why the Secretary-General has called for a global and inclusive PVE partnership.  

    Third, the UN’s conviction and commitment to addressing all areas affected by violent extremism and in turn conducive to its prevention in a balanced manner: peace and security, human rights, sustainable development and humanitarian assistance.

    And fourth, the questions of definitions of and differentiation between terrorism and violent extremism is the prerogative of Member States. At the UN, we have followed your guidance in that we address “violent extremism as conducive to terrorism”. We are thereby striving to move our support to Member States upstream, from reaction and response to prevention at pre-terrorism stages. And this is not entirely new either: it is about addressing what all of us pledged to do in the Global Counter-terrorism Strategy: addressing conditions conducive to terrorism.

    Based on these premises and on our discussions with Member States and within the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, we have identified the following areas where global cooperation and UN support can provide benefits that national or regional activities and approaches cannot: 

    First, the global normative framework that UN Member States have set up and subscribed to sets inviolable standards that people who feel disenfranchised aspire to see realized for themselves. Moreover, and especially in the absence of definitions, it also provides us with a common agenda and reference points as to what deviates and undermines our principles and thus needs to be addressed. With our universal membership, Member States have also endowed us with convening power.

    Second, violent extremists do not respect borders, state sovereignty or thematic divisions in the executive branch of Government. We can only outsmart them, if we become as nimble as they are. 

    And third, we have to learn from one another. The UN can build bridges and facilitate the sharing of experiences and good practices, including South-South cooperation.

     

    How is and should the UN therefore (re-)orient its support to Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations at Headquarters and in the field, to enhance our common efforts to prevent violent extremism?

    We are anchoring our support to Member States in the broader preventive work of the UN: from preventing conflict to preventing relapse to preventing human rights violations to preventing unfulfilled SDGs. The Secretary-General has therefore asked us to adopt an “All-of-UN” approach in supporting Member States to prevent violent extremism both at Headquarters and in the field. Only if we leverage the individual strengths of our mandates and expertise will we be able to provide Member States with comprehensive support to their “all-of-Government and all-of-society” approaches. 

    To this end, the Secretary-General has asked that all relevant UN entities collaborate in developing specific deliverables in the seven priority areas identified in the Plan of Action: conflict prevention, human rights and rule of law, the engagement of communities, youth and women, skills development and strategic communications.

    The Secretary-General has also asked that UN missions and country teams review their own activities to ensure that they are doing everything possible to address the local drivers of violent extremism, and support requesting Member States, for example when developing National Plans of Action. 

    To better organize the UN system to allow for an effective “All-of-UN” approach, he Secretary-General will establish a High Level PVE Action Group, and a CTITF Inter-Agency Working Group on Preventing Violent Extremism will look at recommendations to develop PVE-sensitive programming across the UN system.

    My fellow UN panelists will inform you about their initiatives to support Member States in addressing the drivers of violent extremism.

    We are looking forward to hearing from you on where to prioritize, sensitize and adapt existing programmes to permit them to target the drivers of violent extremism more precisely and to introduce new PVE specific initiatives to close gaps.

    And we are looking to you for working with us to chart the global counter-terrorism and preventing violent extremism agenda in the coming years by reflecting your aspirations in the General Assembly resolution on the Global Counter-terrorism Strategy in June.

    Thank you.

  • 30 Mar 2016

           

  • 28 Mar 2016

    Madam President,
    Members of the Security Council,
    Excellencies,
    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Thank you for this opportunity to address the Open Debate on the role of women in conflict prevention and mediation in Africa, on behalf of the Department of Political Affairs.

    The Secretary-General has made the advancement of women a top priority since he assumed office in January 2007, and has instructed the senior management of the secretariat to place the issue at the centre of what they do. This system-wide focus signalled the beginning of an important reorientation informed by the basic fact that women living with conflict have strategic knowledge and networks that can contribute to its resolution.  Recent research has also established that women’s participation in peace talks not only facilitates the conclusion of agreements and their implementation, but crucially also the sustainability of peace.

     

    Madam President,

    For the Department of Political Affairs, promoting women’s effective participation in conflict mediation and addressing their specific needs in peacemaking efforts has been a priority since the Department undertook fifteen women, peace and security commitments in 2010.  As you are aware, the Department monitors and reports annually to the Security Council on progress made in implementing these commitments.

    As a result of senior leadership and institutional buy-in, combined with a systematic effort to mainstream these commitments in its work, the Department’s conflict prevention work has become increasingly inclusive.

    Since 2012, all UN mediation support teams have included women.  UN co-led mediation processes consult with women’s representatives on delegations of negotiating parties. These positive developments have improved the inclusion of stronger gender relevant provisions in ceasefires and peace agreements.

    To advance these efforts, the Department of Political Affairs has developed a high-level mediation skills training.  Half of the participants are women and the training aims to enhance gender parity and the future character and configuration of international peacemaking.  To build institutional capacity, the Department conducts a semi-annual Gender/Women Peace and Security training for our own staff.  In addition, some 164 envoys and senior mediation actors have taken part in our separate High-level Seminar series on Gender and Inclusive Mediation. 

    The Department also continues to implement its Joint Strategy with UN Women on Gender and Mediation.  It helps build mediation capacity for envoys and mediation teams by providing gender expertise and training while UN Women strengthens the capacity of regional, national and local women leaders and peace coalitions, and supports access opportunities for women in peace negotiations. We also document relevant lessons learned and develop practical guidance materials for mediators. The UN Guidance on Effective Mediation and the Guidance for Mediators on Addressing Conflict-related Sexual Violence in Ceasefire and Peace Agreements are yielding concrete results on the ground, where it matters the most.

     

    Madam President,

    We must, however, not forget that despite the concerted efforts by international and regional organizations, as well as by national governments to eliminate discrimination and promote the empowerment of women, unequal access and opportunities for women’s participation in political decision-making processes persists worldwide.

    As highlighted by all three peace and security reviews that were undertaken last year, prioritizing prevention and inclusive political solutions has never been more urgent.  It is only by uniting our efforts that we will be able to advance the principles underpinning the UN Charter.  Peace processes afford unique opportunities for promoting women’s effective participation.  The UN therefore supports regional and sub-regional organizations by promoting and strengthening regional capacities for inclusive mediation to enable more effective participation of women at all levels of peacemaking.

    This cooperation is built on the knowledge that women’s effective participation in transformative decision making processes will help address underlying inequalities and social divisions.  It also addresses the specific needs of women and helps to incorporate a stronger gender perspective in reconstruction, reconciliation and post conflict peace-building.

    During the last decade, we have sharpened our preventive tools and achieved some progress.  The good offices of the Secretary-General, our regional presences and our cooperation with regional organizations have yielded positive results.  Today, about 85 per cent of UN mediation involves working closely with regional and sub-regional organizations.

    To cite one example, the Department of Political Affairs has been working very closely with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) following the signing of a Framework for Cooperation between the two organizations in September 2010, focusing on the need to strengthen partnership in prevention, peacemaking and mediation.  In close coordination with UN Women, DPA continues to complement SADC’s efforts to advance the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda in the region.

    Further policy initiatives have seen the development of a Framework for Mainstreaming Gender into SADC's Peace and Security Architecture, and a Strategy for Combating Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Conflict and Post-conflict Situations.  And regionally, we welcomed the appointment by the African Union of its first Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security in 2014.

     

    Madam President,

    Our work on elections also underscores the centrality of women’s participation in decision-making processes.  The UN Office for West Africa actively enhances the role of women in conflict prevention and political participation.  In 2011, the Office started training and building the mediation and negotiation capacities of women and set up a network of 32 women mediators.  These women mediators have moved on to build the capacity of other women in the region, and have since contributed to national dialogue processes in Mali and Guinea.  The Office also helped advance women’s participation in electoral processes in Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Togo by supporting the adoption of legislation on gender parity and quotas to help women assume political office.

    Noticeable efforts have also been made by the African Union and other partners in the region to ensure that gender is more systematically integrated in electoral processes, including in election observation.  It is encouraging to note that currently the average rate of women Members of Parliament in Africa is slightly above the global average.

    To promote women’s political participation in Central Africa, the UN Office for Central Africa, in cooperation with its regional partner, ECCAS, organized in 2014 a gender workshop on the role of women in electoral processes in the region.  That effort has helped the Central Africa region to establish a platform for the promotion of women's participation in politics in the region.  And ahead of elections in Chad next month, the Office is taking steps to facilitate a national political dialogue.  A workshop on the participation of women was organized to feed into the broader dialogue with civil society organizations.

     

    Madam President,

    The case for inclusive preventive diplomacy is compelling. Experience has shown that if we are present, with early diplomatic initiatives, actively engaging civil society, and notably women’s organizations, with the support of the international community and the necessary resources, we stand a better chance of helping prevent and resolve conflicts, and in making political stability and peace sustainable.

    Thank you, Madam President. 

  • 24 Mar 2016

    Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
     
    The past month has been marked by some of the bloodiest incidents in this current wave of violence across Israel and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. On March 8th, 28 year-old American graduate student Taylor Force was killed in Jaffa during a vicious stabbing spree by a Palestinian that left a dozen Israelis and a number of tourists wounded. Less than an hour before that, two Israeli police officers were seriously wounded in a shooting attack near Jerusalem's Old City, while at almost the same time, an Israeli man was stabbed in an attack outside Tel Aviv; thankfully he survived. Israeli security forces killed the Palestinian perpetrators in the first two incidents while in the third; the attacker was reportedly killed by his own knife in a struggle with his attempted victim.
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Six months into this latest round of violence which has killed 30 Israelis and 198 Palestinians – with most of the Palestinians killed while reportedly carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks – it is time that the international community moves beyond mere condemnations of such acts of terror and violence. It is time to send a clear message to both parties.
     
    To the Palestinian people we need say very clearly-- stabbing someone in the street will not bring about a Palestinian state. Nor will praising and glorifying violence in the media. Those radicals determined to poison the minds of Palestinian youth must recognise their central role in the slow evisceration of the dream of Palestinian statehood.
     
    By the same token, we must also be very clear- Israel should understand that building more walls, administrative detentions, punitive demolitions and movement restrictions, all breed anger among people who feel they are being collectively humiliated, punished and discriminated against.
     
    Heavy-handed responses play into the hands of extremists, undermine moderate voices, and further deepen the gulf between the two sides.
     
    Six months after the initial upsurge, it remains blatantly clear that security measures alone will not contain the forces that perpetuate violence.
     
    Israelis and Palestinians must, at long last, face the stark realities that continue to drive the violence and hold the two-state solution hostage. First and foremost this means both sides actively taking steps that will demonstrate their commitment to, and create the conditions for, an eventual return to negotiations to achieve a viable Palestinian state and ensure Israel’s long-term security.


     
    But, Mr. President,
     
    We in the international community must also be clear both in our understanding of the conflict and our role in how to help resolve it. Our immediate priority must be ending the violence which is tearing Israelis and Palestinians apart when both face the rise of radicals among their own constituents. We only need to look at the rest of the region to see the dangers of religious extremism, sectarianism and terrorism.
     
    But let us be also abundantly clear that the current security challenges cannot be addressed if we lose sight of the fundamental problems that have led us here -- the persistent inability to achieve a just and lasting solution that meets the national aspirations of the Palestinians and Israelis and allows them to live in two states, side by side, in peace, security and mutual recognition. This is why today we must once again play an important role by saying no, the prospect of a two-state solution is not dead, it remains the best pathway for peace.
     
    The time has come to ring the alarm bells that the two-state solution is slipping from our fingers, that it is disappearing as the realities on the ground - driven by the ongoing settlement activities and confiscation of Palestinian land, as well as the continued lack of genuine Palestinian unity - make the prospect of a viable and independent Palestinian state less possible and less likely. The time has come for us to speak clearly as to the risks that undermine the two-state solution but also point to the way forward to a return to meaningful negotiations.
     
    This is why the United Nations Secretary-General, the EU, the Russian Federation and the United States of America -- all members of the Middle East Quartet, have stepped up their efforts to break the political impasse. The Quartet Envoys have started our work on a report which will review the situation on the ground, identify the dangers to a two-state solution, and provide recommendations on the way forward. We remain seriously concerned that current trends – including continued acts of violence against civilians, incitement, ongoing settlement activity, and the high rate of demolitions of Palestinian structures – are dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution.


     
    And yet, Mr. President,
     
    While the international community explores avenues for constructive engagement, there are trends that raise questions about the commitment of the parties to seriously address the main challenges blocking the progress towards peace.
     
    Israel’s settlement enterprise continues, despite broad international condemnation. In a particularly troubling development, on March 10th Israel classified 580 acres south of the city of Jericho, in the West Bank as so-called ‘state land’. The area includes the 378 acres, reportedly approved, and widely condemned, in January of this year. This is evidence of a continued policy of systematic consolidation of Israeli control of the occupied West Bank, in direct contravention of international law.  
     
    Since the early 1980s, Israeli authorities in the West Bank have adopted, based on a controversial interpretation of the Ottoman Land Law, a policy of declaring as “state land” land that is not otherwise registered as private. This has resulted in the State seizing control over certain areas where Palestinians claim ownership and has proved to be a precursor for settlement construction. Any such declaration, particularly of a large scale, raises justified concerns over further settlement expansion. Settlements are illegal under international law and I urge Israel to halt and reverse such decisions.
     
    The demolition and confiscation of Palestinian structures across the West Bank has also surged in 2016 with some 468 houses and other structures demolished since the beginning of the year. On March 23, Israeli authorities demolished 53 structures in Khirbet Tana, including 22 homes, the third demolition this year in this particular community because Israel has declared by Israel as a firing zone. The total number of structures demolished or confiscated in these first 12 weeks of 2016 has now reached 85 per cent of the total number demolished or confiscated in all of 2015. As Palestinians are consistently denied permits to build legally, residents in the affected areas are left with few options but to build without permits, leaving them in constant fear of their homes and livelihoods being destroyed. I urge Israel to respect international humanitarian law and cease such unfair and unjust planning processes in the West Bank.


     
    Mr. President,
     
    Allow me to turn briefly to political developments on the Palestinian front. Achieving a genuine Palestinian unity on the basis of non-violence, democracy and the PLO Principles would constitute a crucial building block for the foundation of a Palestinian state. The formation of a National Unity Government that abides by the PLO programme and the holding of long-overdue elections are important elements of this process. Sadly we are nowhere near this goal as recent discussions between Palestinian factions in Qatar have yet to yield any agreement. I strongly encourage the factions not to squander this important opportunity to reach a consensus that can enable the advancement of the long-term Palestinian national goals as well as near-term fiscal and development goals for the Palestinian people.
     
    I take the opportunity to welcome the suspension, on March 12th, of the month-long Palestinian teachers’ strike, following President Abbas' commitment to fully implement a 2013 trade union deal that provides a ten per cent salary increase to teachers.
     
    I also note that, on 10 March, Najat Abu Bakr, a Fateh member of the Palestine Legislative Committee ended her 18-day sit-in at the Parliament building after the Attorney General cancelled an arrest warrant against her; issued after she had raised allegations of corruption. Such allegations must be duly investigated.


     
    Mr. President,
     
    Turning to Gaza, the security situation remains volatile, as a number of factors continue to produce a highly combustible environment.
     
    Despite a relative pause over the past month, the past weeks saw five rockets fired from Gaza to Israel. In response, on March 12th, Israel conducted four airstrikes, in which two Palestinian children, Israa and Yassin Abu Khusa, were tragically killed. These incidents point to the fragile nature of the current ceasefire. I call on Palestinian factions to uphold the current ceasefire, which is vital for Gaza's recovery.
     
    As the Gaza reconstruction mechanism continues to enable the purchase of materials for critical repairs and rebuilding, the reconstruction of fully destroyed homes remains painfully slow, in large part due to the slow disbursement of donor pledges. I strongly encourage all Member States, who have not done so, to disburse their commitments without delay.
     
    Failure to comprehensively address the chronic problems affecting Gaza risks another escalation in the future.


     
    Mr. President,
     
    Very briefly on Lebanon, the Security Council was briefed on 16 March by Special Coordinator Kaag. The Secretary-General welcomes the press statement adopted subsequently by the Council, reaffirming its united support for Lebanon’s stability and state institutions. The Secretary-General is currently on a two-day visit in Lebanon, jointly with the President of the World Bank. This visit in itself illustrates the strong commitment of the UN and international community to help Lebanon address the multiple challenges it faces as a result of the impact of the Syrian crisis.


     
    Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
     
    In closing, I would like to emphasise that there can be no peace without hope. But fostering hope requires courageous leadership willing to articulate a clear political horizon; it requires moving beyond unilateral actions and ending the policy of eternal management of the shifting status quo; and it requires a commitment to improving the dynamics on the ground with the genuine aim of reaching a negotiated two-state solution which still remains the stated goal of both sides. The obstacles are many, certainly, but not insurmountable. 
     
    People often say that the lack of trust between the parties precludes any advance towards peace. Certainly, re-establishing that trust and laying the foundations for a peaceful resolution must remain our collective focus, but change certainly requires political will from the parties. Without that political will, Palestinians and Israelis will continue to face an uncertain and dangerous future as the Middle East’s violent and unpredictable tectonics continue to shift around them.
     
    Thank you.

  • 22 Feb 2016

    Today, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča concluded a two-day visit to Maldives. He met with President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon, Attorney General Mohamed Anil, and Minister for Legal Affairs Azima Shakoor. He also met with Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, the judges of the Supreme Court, the Human Rights Commission, civil society organisations and representatives of the diplomatic community. Mr. Jenča also conducted separate meetings with all parliamentary political parties, members of both the ruling coalition and the opposition, namely Adhaalath Party (AP), Jumhooree Party (JP), Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA), and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

    Mr. Jenča’s visit took place at the invitation of the Government of Maldives as a follow up to the request made last year by President Yameen to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to assist the Government on dialogue with the opposition political parties. Mr. Jenča welcomed the President’s invitation for political party talks to all parliamentarian political parties on 15 February, an invitation reiterated during his meeting with the President on 21 February. 

    The meetings further revealed that the United Nations is a trusted partner for all parties and should stay engaged. Mr. Jenča expressed the readiness of the United Nations to continue the facilitation of the process, depending on the developments on the ground and the willingness of the parties. He underscored the importance of building trust including through strengthening independent democratic institutions and reforming the judiciary. 

    Mr. Jenča ‎conveyed appreciation for Maldives’ commitment to the work of the United Nations in its 50 years of membership, citing in particular Maldives' role in such important global issues such as the adoption and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the climate change agreement. Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon and Mr. Jenča further discussed regional cooperation in South Asia, preparation for the world humanitarian summit, irregular migration and refugee flows, as well as the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

  • 22 Feb 2016

    MALE`, 22 February 2016 – Today, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča concluded a two-day visit to Maldives. He met with President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon, Attorney General Mohamed Anil, and Minister for Legal Affairs Azima Shakoor. He also met with Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, the judges of the Supreme Court, the Human Rights Commission, civil society organisations and representatives of the diplomatic community. Mr. Jenča also conducted separate meetings with all parliamentary political parties, members of both the ruling coalition and the opposition, namely Adhaalath Party (AP), Jumhooree Party (JP), Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA), and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

    Mr. Jenča’s visit took place at the invitation of the Government of Maldives as a follow up to the request made last year by President Yameen to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to assist the Government on dialogue with the opposition political parties. Mr. Jenča welcomed the President’s invitation for political party talks to all parliamentarian political parties on 15 February, an invitation reiterated during his meeting with the President on 21 February. 

    The meetings further revealed that the United Nations is a trusted partner for all parties and should stay engaged. Mr. Jenča expressed the readiness of the United Nations to continue the facilitation of the process, depending on the developments on the ground and the willingness of the parties. He underscored the importance of building trust including through strengthening independent democratic institutions and reforming the judiciary. 

    Mr. Jenča ‎conveyed appreciation for Maldives’ commitment to the work of the United Nations in its 50 years of membership, citing in particular Maldives' role in such important global issues such as the adoption and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the climate change agreement. Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon and Mr. Jenča further discussed regional cooperation in South Asia, preparation for the world humanitarian summit, irregular migration and refugee flows, as well as the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

  • 18 Feb 2016

    Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
    I regret to inform you that the violence which has been erupting in Israel and Palestine since October of last year shows no sign of relenting.
     
    Some recent incidents may point to a troubling new phase in the conflict. On 31 January a Palestinian security officer traveling in an official vehicle opened fire at a checkpoint near Ramallah and injured three Israeli soldiers. This was one of three incidents to date involving a member of the Palestinian security forces. Although he was acting independently, such incidents can be potentially harmful to the relationship between both security forces. On 3 February a complex attack took place at Damascus Gate that resulted in the death of an Israeli border policewoman.  In a worrying advancement in weaponry and tactics the three assailants, all of whom were killed, carried semi-automatic weapons, pipe bombs and knives.
     
    Just a couple of hours before this session, in a supermarket in the West Bank, two Israelis were stabbed; one of whom later succumbed to his wounds. The two 14 year old Palestinian attackers were shot by an armed civilian. Our thoughts go out to the families of these latest victims.
     
    As tensions persist, Israelis continue to grapple with the fear of terrorism and Palestinians continue to be killed and injured in clashes across the West Bank. Once again, the United Nations strongly condemns all acts of terror and violence. This spiral of violence which has to date taken at least 169 Palestinian and 30 Israeli lives, including two Israeli-Arab reported perpetrators, cannot be reversed by security means alone. It must be addressed at the political level with leaders showing a political horizon to their people and standing up to incitement and the radicals among their own constituents.

     
    Mr. President,

    Only genuine progress towards just peace that allows the people of Israel and the people of Palestine to live side by side in safe and secure borders will end the bloodshed and counter the rise of extremism. Against the backdrop of radicalisation, terror, sectarian violence, war and tectonic geo-political shifts in the Middle East peace and security for Palestine and Israel is imperative now more than ever.
     
    Over the last year the United States, Russia, the European Union and the Secretary-General, as part of the Middle East Quartet, have engaged actively in seeking a way forward out of the deadlock. Quartet envoys have travelled to the region to meet with Palestinian and Israeli leaders. We have consulted with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and most recently Norway. Since September of last year the Quartet Principals have met three times.
     
    We have sought how not only to preserve the two-state solution, but to create the conditions that would allow the parties to return to meaningful negotiations on resolving the final status issues and ending the occupation that began in 1967. This includes steps on the ground, consistent with prior agreements that both parties can take to strengthen Palestinian institutions, security and economic prospects, while upholding security for Israelis.
     
    We have voiced our common concern that the current trends on the ground - including continued acts of violence against civilians, ongoing settlement activity, and the high rate of demolitions of Palestinian structures - are dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution.
     
    The commitment of the Middle East Quartet to remain engaged with the parties and to work with key international stakeholders, the region and the UN Security Council is unequivocal. This is why at their latest meeting in Munich the Principals agreed that the Quartet should prepare a report on the status quo, including recommendations on the way forward. The report should focus on the dangers of continuing on the current trajectory, identify the impediments to the two-state solution on all sides and point the way towards restoring a political horizon. Ultimately this report should also help build international consensus for the way ahead.

     
    Mr. President,
    Collective international efforts to help establish a political horizon will all be for naught, absent genuine Israeli and Palestinian motivation to address the chronic realities endangering the two-state solution. From the outset, significant policy shifts by Israel, including increasing Palestinian investment and economic activity in Area C, are required to strengthen Palestinian institutions, economy and security prospects.
     
    Israel's settlement enterprise continues to be an impediment to peace. While 2015 may have seen a slower overall pace for settlement planning and construction, the reality is that Israel continues to push forward with consolidation of its control of the West Bank. Several moves since the beginning of the year -- such as the classification of new "state land" in the Jordan Valley and the approval of several plans in settlements - also appear to point towards an increase in settlement activities.
     
    During the past few weeks alone, Israeli authorities in Area C and East Jerusalem demolished 201 Palestinian-owned structures including 79 which were donor-funded. As a result, 320 people were displaced. Since the beginning of 2016, Israel has demolished, on average, 29 Palestinian-owned structures per week, three times the weekly average for 2015. These actions run directly counter to the idea of peace.
     
    Separately, we also remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating condition of Mohammed Al-Qiq, the Palestinian journalist on hunger strike for over 85 days to protest against his administrative detention. I take this opportunity to once again join the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights and call for all persons subject to administrative detention to be either charged or released immediately.

     

     
    Mr. President,
    The challenge of getting back to an environment conducive to peace also falls heavily on the shoulders of the Palestinians. Advancing genuine reconciliation on the basis of non-violence, democracy and PLO principles is a key priority. I welcome the recen unity talks in Qatar and urge all sides to continue their discussions and implement previous agreements, particularly those brokered by Egypt. The formation of a National Unity Government and long-overdue elections are vital to laying the foundations of a future Palestinian state.
     
    The issue of incitement runs to the heart of the current climate of tension and fear. It is essential that authorities on both sides do more to address this scourge. I am particularly concerned that some Palestinian factions continue to glorify violence and terror. Such acts only contribute to tensions and violence.
     
    Governance reforms must also remain a central commitment of the Palestinian Authority.

     

     
    Mr. President,
    Volatility persists in Gaza amidst a tenuous security situation. The collapse of another four tunnels -- bringing the total to date this year to five -- and the continued test firing and launching of rockets at Israel indicate that Hamas continues to directly threaten the security of Israel. Such actions risk not only people's lives but the fragile reconstruction process in the devastated Strip.
     
    The population of Gaza is squeezed from all sides. With little prospect of seeing public sector salaries paid, increased informal taxation and a strangled economy, tensions are rising. I have just returned from Gaza where I visited the Shujaiya neighborhood that had been devastated during the conflict in 2014. It was encouraging to see the visible positive changes and new construction as life is reborn out of the rubble. But I am too well aware that work is yet to start on the homes of some 74 per cent of families displaced in 2014.
     
    Rebuilding their houses however will not be enough. We must secure peace and focus on building Gaza for the future. This means providing clean water and sufficient energy, creating jobs and a sustainable economy, restoring free movement for people and goods and, above all, ensuring integration between the West Bank and Gaza under a single democratic and legitimate Palestinian Authority.

     

     
    Mr. President,
    Turning to Lebanon, in a positive sign, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Salam resumed sessions on 28 January and 2 February and approved several decrees. However, I remain deeply concerned that the presidential vacancy impairs Lebanon's ability to address the many challenges facing the country. On behalf of the Secretary-General, I call on Members of Parliament to convene urgently and elect a President.
     
    The recent Syria Donors Conference in London yielded important commitments of international support to reinforce Lebanon's stability in the face of the refugee crisis. The United Nations will continue to work closely with Lebanon to monitor and implement commitments on the basis of the Government's "Statement of Intent".
     
    With respect to UNIFIL, at the first tripartite meeting since the 20 December and 4 January incidents, Israel and Lebanon concurred on the need to maintain calm and stability and to ensure security along the Blue Line. Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace however continued on an almost daily basis.
     
    Turning to the Golan, the situation in the vicinity of the ceasefire line continues to be of concern as fighting between the Syrian armed forces and armed groups, and between different armed groups continues. These developments have a potential to escalate the situation in an already tense regional environment.

     

     
    Mr. President,
    In closing, let me return to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and appeal to the leaders of both peoples and all international stakeholders. There are clear avenues out of the current political morass but they require unity of effort and bold, creative actions by all sides. Despite the courageous work of many, the cold reality for the Israeli and Palestinian people is that all have failed them. The conflict has now arrived at a pivotal point: Israelis and Palestinians must now actively shape their future - with the dedicated support of the international community -- before the opponents of peace decide their fate for them.
     
    Thank you.

  • 17 Feb 2016

    Mr. President,

    Thank you for this opportunity to brief the Security Council once again on the latest developments in Yemen.

    It has been two months since the parties met in Switzerland, for the first face to face talks of the peace process. Those talks produced agreements on several measures which have provided much needed practical and moral support to the Yemeni people, including the delivery of humanitarian aid to the city of Taiz and the release of some prisoners. 

    The announcement of a cessation of hostilities on the first day of the talks was accompanied by the creation of a De-escalation and Coordination Committee, aimed at strengthening adherence to the cessation of hostilities.  There was also broad agreement to the principles of a general framework based on the provisions of Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015).  The talks have served as the beginning of a process toward agreements on ending the war and Yemen’s return to a peaceful political transition.

    The parties left the last round of talks in a positive spirit, with practical proposals, recommendations and hope for a better future for Yemen and the Yemeni people.

    Tragically, the security situation in Yemen has deteriorated since the end of the talks. The latest UN reports indicate that more than 6,000 Yemenis have lost their lives since March 2015, and more than 35,000 have been injured.

     

    Mr. President,

    Yemen is living through the most heart-rending days in its history.

    Many parts of Yemen are again witnessing airstrikes and extensive ground fighting. There has also been a significant increase in the number of missiles fired indiscriminately into Saudi Arabia. The escalation of military activities along with a worsening of regional tensions has created additional obstacles which threaten to delay a new round of talks. 

    There has been a notable upsurge in the number and magnitude of attacks carried out by terrorist groups in Aden, Lahej, Abyan, Shabwa and Sana’a.  There have been attacks on Yemeni Army checkpoints and residences of key security officials. The assassination of prominent political and security officials in the South of the country has continued unabated. On 28 January, an attack on the Presidential Palace in Aden resulted in the death of eight people including civilian bystanders. Earlier today, a suicide bomber attacked a Yemeni army camp in Aden, reportedly killing at least ten people.

    I have repeatedly underlined the increasing presence of terrorist groups in Yemen which create a long-term threat for the country and the region.  The absence of the State in many parts of Yemen has facilitated the expansion of these terrorist groups.  Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are present in many parts of Yemeni territory. There are reports of their growing influence in large areas of the governorate of Hadramout and their control of its port, maritime traffic, and illegal oil trade.  Reports of attacks on civilians, including stonings, and executions of captured civilians and Yemeni army soldiers are deeply worrying. 

    The basic freedoms of Yemenis, including freedom of expression, continue to be undermined. There has been significant rise in the systematic persecution of civil society activists in Yemen, including reports of violent attacks and arbitrary detention of many journalists.  Acts of intimidation, harassment and disappearances of journalists are a clear violation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

     

    Mr. President,

    Yemenis continue to face grave violations of international humanitarian law. Respect for human rights and international humanitarian law is critical to the ability of Yemenis to survive this current crisis with dignity and safety. The agencies, funds and programmes of the UN are doing their best to uphold the rights of Yemenis and provide needed assistance. It is important that all UN staff are able to work in safety and without restriction. I call upon the Government of Yemen and all other stakeholders to uphold these principles and to respect and support the work of the UN and its agencies.

     

    Mr. President,

    I have been engaged in an intensive round of consultations with Yemeni leaders and regional partners in recent weeks.  I discussed the challenges facing the peace process with the Foreign Ministers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, France, the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in addition to the vice Foreign Minister of Japan and the vice Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, all of whom underlined their continued support for an end to violence in Yemen a political settlement.

    I met with Yemeni Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah on 8 and 16 January, in addition to repeated meetings with representatives of the Yemeni Government, other Yemeni leaders and civil society figures. I also traveled to Sana’a, where I met with senior officials from the Houthis and the General Popular Conference, as well as key political parties, women’s and youth groups.

    During this latest round of consultations, I sought to ensure that some of the positive commitments which emerged from the talks in Switzerland were implemented.  While far from a comprehensive settlement, these commitments yield tangible benefits to the Yemeni people and bolster the peace process.

    I worked for the release of two Saudi nationals by the Houthis on 14 January, after almost ten months in captivity, which was welcomed by the Secretary-General and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  This positive development was shortly followed by the release of the Yemeni Minister of Technical and Vocational Education, Abdul Razak al-Ashwal and four Yemeni political and media activists. I will continue to press for and work towards the release of others detainees.

    Building on commitments made in Switzerland, UN agencies and international NGOs expanded the delivery of assistance to Taiz, including to areas that had been cut off for many months. WHO, WFP and MSF have all been able to deliver critically needed assistance to Taiz in recent weeks and I hope that this city, and other areas which have suffered tremendously in recent months, will continue to receive assistance on a regular basis. I call on all parties to ensure that humanitarian agencies have free and unhindered access to all parts of Yemen.

    I have also pursued agreements which seek to preserve the functioning of key state institutions on which the Yemeni people depend. Preserving their functioning helps current service delivery and will also facilitate a faster and more effective recovery after an agreement. The Central Bank’s Board of Directors met recently in Amman, with the participation of the Yemeni Minister of Finance and the Sana’a-based Central Bank Governor. Together with the Resident Coordinator, UNICEF and the WB, I am working to relaunch Yemen’s Social Welfare Fund, which will provide critical financial support for the poorest of Yemen’s people.  

    These are some positive measures which demonstrate willingness to cooperate in order to preserve the viability and effectiveness of key state institutions in advance of a settlement.  Implementation of these measures will require continued political support from all of the parties, as well as generous support from donors to replenish the various funds and mechanisms, so as to contribute to the stability of the Yemeni economy.  The conflict is causing grave damage to the capacity of Yemen’s public and private sectors. Both are critical for Yemen’s future economic prospects and the ability of people to survive in the present circumstances. Humanitarian aid is critical, yet limited in its reach. Many Yemenis continue to rely on private sector economic activity. The extensive damage to private sector infrastructure, for this reason, is of great concern.

    In spite of the collapse of the cessation of hostilities, the De-escalation and Coordination Committee has continued to function, with constructive participation from all sides. The parties committed to strengthening the Committee’s capacity and to agree on a precise location for its meetings.  The work of the De-escalation and Coordination Committee is essential in order to ensure the success of cessation of hostilities in the future.  

    Despite these areas of limited progress, deep divisions persist that prevent me from calling for the next round of talks.  The parties are divided over whether a new round of talks should be convened with or without a new cessation of hostilities.  I have not, unfortunately, received sufficient assurances that a new cessation of hostilities, should I call for one, would be respected.

    As the Secretary General has stated repeatedly, there is no military solution to this conflict. A recommitment to a cessation of hostilities which leads to a permanent ceasefire is the practical expression of this truth and I urge the Council to support this step and take action towards its implementation as soon as possible.

     

    Mr. President,

    Yemen has suffered greatly, and its people have withstood an unspeakable tragedy. The country’s infrastructure is destroyed; families dispersed, and its social fabric torn apart. This is a critical and most difficult phase. With every passing day, more and more Yemeni lives are lost.

    A new cessation of hostilities will open the way of new talks and agreements on Yemen’s return to a peaceful and orderly transition.  I will continue to work with all sides in Yemen, the region and the international community to build consensus on the key elements of such future agreements.  

    The conflict in Yemen is political, so the solution must also be political. Only an inclusive peace process will ensure a future of reconciliation and peace in the country. The Yemeni people have shown a spirit of compromise in the interest of preserving the unity of their country many times in the past.

    We must, collectively, help Yemen rediscover this spirit of compromise. Only in this way can Yemenis overcome the current violence and build a peace process which can bring together all of Yemen’s diverse communities and allow them to jointly and peacefully look to their future and the future of the country.

  • 17 Feb 2016

    Monsieur le Président, Honorables membres du Conseil,

    Je vous remercie de l’opportunité qui m’est offerte de présenter, devant cette auguste assemblée, le rapport du Secrétaire Général sur la situation en Guinée-Bissau et les activités du Bureau Intégré des Nations Unies pour la Consolidation de la Paix dans ce pays (BINUGBIS).

    Depuis la parution de ce rapport, la situation en Guinée-Bissau reste marquée par des divergences continues au sein de la classe politique. Ces divergences se sont cristallisées lors du vote du programme du Gouvernement, le 23 décembre dernier, au cours duquel, 15 députés du Parti Africain pour l’Indépendance de la Guinée et du Cap-Vert (PAIGC), parti au pouvoir, se sont abstenus, en opposition aux instructions de leur parti. En réaction à cela, le PAIGC a décidé de les expulser et, en conséquence, a demandé leur substitution à l’Assemblée Nationale Populaire. A cet effet, la Commission Permanente, réunie le 15 janvier 2016, a prononcé la cassation du mandat de ces 15 députés.

    Aujourd’hui, les dissensions politiques qui étaient circonscrites au Parlement ont débouché sur un véritable imbroglio politico-judiciaire. Le Président de l’Assemblée Nationale d’un côté, trois des 15 députés expulsés de l’autre, ont séparément fait appel au Tribunal Régional de Bissau, pour statuer sur la décision de la Commission Permanente relative à la perte de mandat des députés susmentionnés. Le 8 février, ce Tribunal a rendu une ordonnance de référé qui contredit la suspension de la perte de mandats, en opposition avec sa première décision qui, elle, ordonnait à ces mêmes députés de se conformer à la décision de la Commission Permanente de l’Assemblée Nationale.

    C’est dans ce contexte que, le 1er février, le Président de la République a pris l’initiative de réunir les différentes parties en conflit afin de rechercher, par le dialogue, une issue consensuelle à l’impasse politique qui secoue actuellement le Parlement. Il a donc décidé d’inviter au Palais présidentiel le Président de l’Assemblée Nationale et les représentants du PAIGC, du PRS, des 15 députés dont le mandat a été cassé, et ceux de la société civile, pour des rencontres qui se sont déroulées en présence des représentants du Groupe des cinq partenaires internationaux de la Guinée-Bissau composé de l’Union africaine, de la Communauté des Pays de Langue Portugaise (CPLP), de la Communauté Economique des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO), de l’Union Européenne et des Nations Unies. Le Président Vaz a donné lecture de toutes les correspondances qu’il a reçues au sujet de la crise actuelle, y compris celles où il lui était demandé d’user de sa magistrature d’influence pour dénouer la crise. Chaque partie a présenté sa position et les arguments politiques et juridiques qui la sous-tendent.

    Le 2 février, le Président a convoqué une deuxième rencontre pendant laquelle les parties ont réitéré leurs positions respectives. Il y avait d’une part, l’Assemblée Nationale et le PAIGC qui maintenaient que les députés avaient été exclus légalement et de l’autre, les 15 députés expulsés, appuyés par le PRS, qui considéraient que cette exclusion était illégale.

    A la suite de ce deuxième tour de discussions, le leader du PAIGC a adressé, le 4 février, une correspondance au Président de la République, demandant la modification du format des rencontres arguant que le dialogue devrait être mené entre institutions plutôt qu’entre individus. En conséquence, ni l’Assemblée Nationale, ni le PAIGC n’ont participé aux rencontres suivantes, y compris celle du 10 février qui s’est déroulée en présence de l’ancien Président Olusegun Obasanjo, Envoyé Spécial du Président du Nigéria et du Ministre des Affaires Etrangères du Timor-Leste, M. Hernani Coelho, qui assure la présidence tournante de la CPLP accompagné de M. Murade Murargy Secrétaire exécutif de cette organisation, en plus des représentants du Groupe des cinq partenaires internationaux.

    Dans l’intervalle, je me suis rendu au Sénégal et en Guinée du 3 au 8 février, pour m’entretenir avec les dirigeants de ces deux Etats voisins sur les derniers développements politiques en Guinée-Bissau. Au cours de notre rencontre, le Président Macky Sall, président en exercice de la CEDEAO, a exprimé sa préoccupation au sujet de l’impasse politique actuelle et m’a assuré que la CEDEAO continuerait à appuyer le processus de stabilisation de la Guinée-Bissau. Il a cependant souligné l’importance, pour l’organisation sousrégionale, d’obtenir une assistance financière pour maintenir sa mission militaire, l’ECOMIB, au-delà du 30 juin 2016. Le Président Alpha Condé qui est également médiateur de la CEDEAO pour la Guinée-Bissau, a partagé avec moi les mêmes inquiétudes que son homologue sénégalais. Monsieur le Président,

    Plus les institutions de l’Etat et les principaux acteurs politiques seront divisés, plus la situation politique actuelle gagnera en complexité, retardant de ce fait la mise en oeuvre des réformes essentielles. A l’heure où les partiesprenantes nationales tentent de résoudre leurs différends, et suite aux récentes décisions contradictoires du Tribunal Régional de Bissau, je leur lance à nouveau un appel pressant à accorder toute l’importance et la priorité requise à un dialogue franc et sincère, dans le strict respect de la Constitution et des lois. Toute autre formule en dehors de ces paramètres ne pourra que perpétuer le cycle d’instabilité politique qui prévaut dans le pays depuis fort longtemps.

    Par ailleurs, s’il venait à persister, ce blocage institutionnel, compromettrait les chances de la population à accéder aux services sociaux de base tels que la santé et l’éducation, la condamnant ainsi à continuer à faire les frais de l’échec de son élite politique à tenir les promesses d’un avenir meilleur. Je voudrais saisir cette occasion pour féliciter les Bissau-Guinéens pour le rôle constructif qu’ils ont joué pendant cette période difficile, en faisant preuve de retenue et d’un remarquable esprit de civisme. Je réitère donc mon appel aux dirigeants politiques à placer l’intérêt national au-dessus de toute considération individuelle ou de groupe. Il est temps que ces dirigeants se concentrent sur la recherche de solutions durables au lieu de se perdre dans des accusations réciproques qui ne contribuent en rien à la résolution de la crise. De son côté, la communauté internationale a démontré, à plusieurs reprises, sa détermination à aider la Guinée-Bissau à avancer sur la voie du développement et de la paix. Je l’encourage d’ailleurs à poursuivre son action en faveur de ce pays d’une façon plus concertée et coordonnée.

    Si les institutions de la République et les principales parties prenantes s’accordaient sur une feuille de route ou un pacte de stabilité, cela pourrait constituer un point de départ pour créer les conditions favorables à une stabilité institutionnelle, au moins, jusqu’à la fin de législature en cours. Ce pre-requis est fondamental pour la mise en oeuvre du Plan de Développement (Terra Ranka) qui a reçu, à la fois, le soutien des partenaires internationaux lors de la table ronde de Bruxelles de mars 2015, et bénéficie d’une large adhésion des Bissau-Guinéens.

    J’exhorte donc toutes les parties prenantes, en particulier le Président de la République, le Président de l’Assemblée nationale, le Premier Ministre, et les partis politiques, à poursuivre la voie du dialogue et à se pencher sur la possibilité d’adopter un tel pacte de stabilité dans l’intérêt de la nation. Comme le Secrétaire général l’a indiqué dans son dernier rapport sur la Guinée-Bissau, l’Organisation des Nations Unies est prête à soutenir toute initiative visant à renforcer la stabilité dans ce pays, pour peu que ses responsables fassent preuve de volonté politique à s’engager dans ce sens.   

    Monsieur le Président,

    Malgré des progrès enregistrés dans le renforcement de la sécurité intérieure, je demeure préoccupé par l’augmentation de la criminalité organisée dans le pays, en raison de la crise actuelle et de l’affaiblissement corollaire des institutions de l’Etat. Les récents actes de cambriolage à mains armées au domicile d’un membre du Gouvernement et dans la résidence d’un fonctionnaire international des Nations Unies illustrent la dégradation de l’environnement sécuritaire en Guinée-Bissau.

    Monsieur le Président,

    Comme vous le constatez, la situation politique dans le pays est préoccupante et le maintien de l’engagement des Nations Unies reste indispensable. Je voudrais donc réitérer la demande du Secrétaire Général au Conseil de Sécurité pour la prolongation du mandat du BINUGBIS qui expire le 29 février 2016 afin de permettre à cette Mission de continuer son actions été ses programmes, en vue de consolider la paix et l’Etat de droit en Guinée-Bissau.

    Je vous remercie de votre aimable attention.

  • 16 Feb 2016

    Mr. President,

    In the past reporting period, the heroic people of Iraq have been steadily gaining ground against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is gradually losing its appeal to the disenfranchised population. The liberation and holding of Beiji, Sinjar, and most of all Ramadi, and continuing clearance of the surrounding areas from ISIL fighters, have instilled the people of Iraq with hope that the country can and will be liberated from ISIL. It has also documented how important it is to rely on local and tribal fighters from areas under ISIL control to participate in the liberation and take responsibility for the security of their cities and provinces.

    The success also demonstrates the increasingly resolute and effective support to Iraq of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL in its fight against ISIL and provides lessons for preparations for the liberation of the remaining territories, most notably of Mosul. It serves as an encouragement for other members of the international community to assist Iraq in combatting ISIL.

     

    Mr. President,

    The terrorist organisation ISIL with its radical ideology and policies of sectarianism, violent extremism and terrorism constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security. Combatting ISIL by all means is a priority of the whole international community and Member States are called upon to re-double and coordinate their efforts.

    Following the 18 December 2015 meeting of the Security Council, bilateral and diplomatic efforts, assisted by international partners and the United Nations, continue to resolve the issues of the presence of Turkish forces in Camp Bashiqa, so far without mutually acceptable results. I reiterate the calls made by the Secretary-General for a solution in line with the Charter of the United Nations and in full respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. I also urge both sides to take steps that will enable the deepening of cooperation in the field of security and continuous support in fighting ISIL, based on consultations with and full consent of the Government of Iraq.

     

    Mr. President,

    Regardless of the successes, ISIL remains a formidable and determined enemy that constantly adjusts its tactics and attack patterns, taking into account also the developments in Syria. ISIL cannot be defeated by military means alone, without addressing the root causes of violence and the underlying ideology, otherwise their effect will not be sustainable and lasting. Military victories need to be complemented by massive stabilisation and rehabilitation efforts that prioritise and allow for the safe return of IDPs to their towns of origin. Simultaneously, Iraqis must prioritise political and community reconciliation.

    The lack of progress in implementing the National Political Agreement reflects the absence of political consensus and the continued pursuit of partisan interests. The stability, security and unity of Iraq hinge on an effective and inclusive political system and equality in decision-making at the federal and local levels. Tangible solutions to prevent political and sectarian exclusion have to include amendments to or adoption of priority legislation, followed by swift implementation, such as the Accountability and Justice Law, the National Guard Law and the General Amnesty Law.

    Efforts by Sunni political forces and their leaders to unify their stance on national reconciliation, effective federalisation and decentralisation, and how to more successfully counter ISIL are equally necessary. I welcome such steps provided they add to internal consolidation and not divisions, while urging Sunni leaders and forces to continue such activities in the most inclusive manner possible.

     

    Mr. President,

    In early January, lethal attacks in Baghdad and in Muqdadiya, in Diyala governorate, perpetrated by ISIL and revenge violence by rogue militia elements and criminal groups prompted concern that the nation was again continuing down a spiralling trajectory of sectarian violence, compounded by internal political divisions along sectarian lines, as well as regional tensions and context. These attacks were an attempt to further stoke sectarian tensions and political polarisation in Iraq, and weaken the unity of Iraq and its people.

    They also highlighted the urgent need to reach progress in intercommunal relations and swiftly restore state and local authority, rule of law, good governance, justice and provision of services to the newly liberated areas and exert firm control over all fighters and weapons. Security sector reform addressing the issue of uncontrolled armed groups and their presence in cities, notably in liberated areas, is a priority.

     

    Mr. President,

    Stabilization in liberated areas and the safe return of IDPs are of enormous political importance. I am happy to report that the stabilization phase of Tikrit is almost complete. Overall, the Government has given very high priority to returns and so far, more than 500,000 displaced Iraqis have returned to their home communities. The Government intends that up to 900,000 will return in 2016.

    There are, however, a number of complicating factors impacting the pace of returns. These include a huge number of improvised explosive devices which have been laid by ISIL and which must be removed before populations can return home, as well as devastating destruction to infrastructure and homes. We are seeing this right now in Ramadi. I call on Iraq’s regional and international partners to enhance their support to the Government of Iraq’s efforts to hold and stabilise areas retaken from ISIL. These efforts also ought to focus on building the capacity of local security and police forces through training and material support.

     

    Mr. President,

    Persistent political polarization and divisions continue to hamper Prime Minister Abadi’s ability to advance the reform agenda, including in decentralisation and fighting corruption. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement aimed at establishing a more professional Cabinet with members selected on merit, and not on sectarian or political quotas, should be accompanied by accelerated implementation of a genuine political, security and economic reform package. The complex and deepening set of challenges before the country and its people requires that the political blocks finally work together in support of comprehensive and profound reforms, as they did when adopting the budget for 2016.

    Iraq’s persistent and rapidly-deepening fiscal crisis and growing budget deficit, compounded by the security and humanitarian situation and drastic decline in global oil prices, has almost halved the State’s planned income since then, and the Kurdistan Region faces at least a situation as grave as that of Baghdad. Fiscal challenges are also likely to impact the fight against ISIL as a significant number of fighters, notably the Peshmerga, have not received salaries for several months.

    I am mindful that if left unaddressed, such an unsustainable situation may seriously undermine the renewed morale of pro-government forces and confidence of the people, including youth, communities, minorities and IDPs that they can have a future in Iraq. And while the Governments in Baghdad and Erbil must rapidly prioritise and take full ownership over the state finances and reforms, I urge the international community to assist Iraq in overcoming these difficulties through increased technical support and funding, including through lending by international and regional financial institutions. Genuine economic reforms by the Governments in Baghdad and Erbil could pave the way to such financial and budgetary support.

     

    Mr. President,

    The severe economic crisis is having a sobering effect on the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil, with both sides showing renewed will to work together, militarily and economically, including on reforms. I am therefore hopeful that realism and pragmatism will prevail and help boost efforts in ensuring the stability and prosperity of Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, needed to continue jointly the existential fight against ISIL.

     

    Mr. President,

    The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is highly complex, and is expected to widen and worsen this year. Today not only 3.3 million IDPs, but altogether some ten million Iraqis - almost one third of the population - urgently require some form of humanitarian assistance. Let’s not forget – without the necessary support, today’s IDPs will become tomorrow’s refugees. Humanitarian needs are now so great that they far outstrip national capacities. The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government simply do not have the resources to keep providing assistance, not because of a lack of will or a reluctance to assume responsibility, but because of the grave economic and fiscal situation.

    On 31 January, the UN jointly with the Government of Iraq launched a humanitarian appeal requesting US$861 million to help ensure that the most vulnerable people receive the assistance they need. On top of this, a potential catastrophe from the Mosul Dam adds new grave challenges and pressures and requires an urgent action of both the Government of Iraq and the international community, including the UN, as well as public awareness campaign and disaster response plans, including evacuation of the affected population in case of such catastrophe.

     

    Mr. President,

    Allow me to turn now to the ninth report of the Secretary-General on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives.
    As part of the Government of Iraq’s reform programme, the Council of Ministers agreed on the distribution of the files formerly under the mandate of the Ministry of Human Rights, deciding to transfer the technical overview of the missing Kuwaiti persons file to the Ministry of Defence. While this is a positive step, the Government of Iraq must now implement the decision and allocate the needed financial resources to ensure that work continues unabated.

    Cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait continues to reach new heights. In December, during the fifth session of the Kuwait-Iraq Joint Ministerial Committee, the parties signed agreements covering several fields, including youth and sports, inspection and control, and communications. Nonetheless, the international obligation of the Government of Iraq remains to ensure further progress.

     

    Mr. President,

    The UN continues to operate in difficult and often dangerous conditions in Iraq. With deep regrets I inform that yesterday we received the news that UNAMI’s staff member abducted in April 2015 in Diyala, Mr. al-Kaissy, was found dead. I am deeply shocked and saddened about this news. I strongly urge the Iraqi authorities to conduct immediately a thorough and transparent investigation into this abduction and murder and hold the perpetrators accountable. I remind the Government of Iraq that national authorities bear full responsibility for serving justice in this case, as well as they do to safeguard and protect all UN personnel serving in the country.

  • 11 Feb 2016

    Excellencies,

    Distinguished delegates,      

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    "Far too many victims of terrorism all over the world have suffered in silence, a neglect that compounds their trauma and wounds. Victims of terrorism can count on the solidarity of the United Nations."

    Terrorists have attacked, on several occasions, the United Nations itself, and we, too, have many victims among our colleagues who we commemorate and mourn.

    In this solidarity expressed by the Secretary-General, I would like to ask you for a minute of silence to commemorate the many men, women and children who have lost their lives and loved ones due to terrorist acts.

    [PAUSE FOR 60 SECONDS]

    Thank you.

    The Secretary-General’s words also remind us of our double duty: to make the voices of victims heard; and to ensure that their human rights are fully respected.

    But there is a third dimension that I would like to stress and address: with their courage and commitment to saving others from experiencing the same suffering, victims of terrorism are the strongest, most sincere and most convincing allies we have in preventing others from being lured to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

     

    Voices of Victims

    It is all too rare that we hear the voices of victims. In the recently released documentary “Je suis Charlies”, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Corinne “Coco” Rey shares a most tormented testimonial: Visibly upset, she recounts how the two gunmen first approached her, recognising her and calling her by name before forcing her to punch in the security code that would lead them to her unsuspecting colleagues.

    “They said, ‘No jokes, no jokes,’” she says, recalling how they identified themselves as al Qaeda. “That’s when I thought I was going to die. I put my hands behind my head. I was panicking. That’s when it dawned on me, after coming upstairs, that it could all end right there. It was the first time I heard a gunshot. Nothing at all like the movies. Just “tak-tak”.

    I would like to encourage all of us to ensure that the views and needs of victims of terrorism, especially the young and the vulnerable, are not forgotten.  Their welfare must be at the heart of our efforts.

    The UNCTITF Inter-Agency Working Group on Victims of Terrorism has been working hard on a number of activities to realise the Secretary-General’s commitment to victims of terrorism. 

    And the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) has made victims of terrorism a priority in its five-year Programme of Work. The launch of the UN Victims of Terrorism Support Portal by the Secretary-General last year highlighted his conviction and dedication to support victims of terrorism in a practical way. Already the Portal has reached approximately 60,000 people last year. The Centre is currently developing media training for victims to strengthen their voice in countering the narrative of violent extremists.

     

    Human Rights of Victims

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Terrorist groups are flouting international human rights and humanitarian law. On the basis of the information that we are getting from many theatres around the world, some of the activities reported may well even constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    It is our responsibility that the human rights of all affected by terrorism are fully respected.

    Today, we will be discussing the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. This report provides us with a solid basis to strengthen support for the rights of victims, and I would like to thank Mr. Ben Emmerson for his important work. The recommendations acknowledge that we still have a long way to go to recognize victims’ rights, and that protecting these rights can be facilitated by strengthening national policies, practices and procedures.  

    We will be exploring existing legislation on victims. Just like victims of crime, we need to strengthen the existing legal framework to take into account the specific needs of victims of terrorism. We must also strengthen national mechanisms that assist victims with the appropriate medical, psychological and legal services. 

    We also need to do better in addressing victims’ needs in criminal justice processes, with appropriate confidentiality and witness protection measures in place, and through establishing coherent and multidimensional responses to reparations. 

    I know that with your active participation today, this Conference will create momentum for change in all these areas, and I hope that we can translate our deliberations into practical actions at the national and global level.

     

    Victims as Allies in Prevention

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Through their unique experiences, victims can bring a perspective that can shape the debate, counter hateful narratives both at the community level and on online forums, and influence attitudes which can assist in reaching out to marginalised and at-risk communities.

    Many victims have shown that they want to be engaged, and we must do more to help them to help us to devise responses to narratives and thus prevent terrorist and violent extremist groups attract additional followers. If the unspeakable horrors and false promises of these groups are exposed by those who sadly have first-hand experience, potential followers will be able to draw informed conclusions. And thereby the sorrow and suffering victims endured will serve the common good and hopefully also contribute to their own healing. 

    Moreover, it is critical that the international community take a holistic approach when combatting terrorism. We must act earlier and we must be inclusive.

    For these reasons, the Secretary-General has just launched a Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, which places an emphasis on protecting and supporting victims of terrorism. It seeks to address the drivers of violent extremism through more than 70 recommendations at the national, regional and global levels.

    The Plan of Action recommends that each Member State adopt a National Plan to Prevent Violent Extremism. National laws, policies and procedures need to take into account and adapt to strengthening the rights of victims.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    As we look forward to commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy this year, we should be proud that there is universal agreement on the importance of support and assistance to victims of terrorism.

    However, we are only at the beginning. We will need your strong support during the deliberations of the fifth outcome review resolution of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy to ensure that victims will have a central role in all our strategies, so that we can build on previous commitments to victims, their families and communities.

    Now more than ever, victims of terrorism and violent extremism need to be engaged. They are our allies. Member States, the United Nations and the entire international community have the privilege and responsibility to work with them to save succeeding generations from similar suffering.

    Thank you.

  • 9 Feb 2016

    Mr. President,
    Members of the Security Council,
    Excellencies,
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Thank you for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on the first “Report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat.”

    This Report is submitted pursuant to resolution 2253 (2015), which the Council unanimously adopted last December in a meeting that included Ministers of Finance from around the world—an expression of the strong determination of Member States to address the threat that ISIL represents to the international community and the principles and values of the Charter of the United Nations.  

    Paragraph 97 of the resolution requested the Secretary-General to submit an initial strategic-level report that demonstrates and reflects the gravity of this threat, including “foreign terrorist fighters joining ISIL and associated groups and entities, and the sources of financing of these groups … as well as their planning and facilitation of attacks.” The Report also reflects the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering this threat, and contains recommendations for Member States to mitigate it, as well as ways in which the United Nations can support these goals.

    As requested by the Council, the Report was prepared “with the input of CTED, in close collaboration with the Monitoring Team, as well as other relevant United Nations actors,” including the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria.    

    Data and imagery provided by Member States on potential routes of illicit trade in oil and oil products by ISIL could not be independently verified by the United Nations. Moreover, differences in the material provided point to the difficulty in establishing exact routes and distribution networks given the variety and flexibility adopted by ISIL. It thus underscores the imperative of close coordination and cooperation amongst Member States, as demonstrated by the passage of UN Security Council resolution 2253.

     

    Threat Assessment

    Mr. President,

    The Report provides a strategic-level assessment of the threat. It highlights that ISIL’s emergence has been facilitated by the protracted conflicts and instability in Iraq and Syria, as well as the weakening of State institutions and the inability of the States to exercise effective control over territory and borders. The group, which has benefited from a flow of financial resources and its ties with transnational organized criminals, is expanding its operations to other regions.

    ISIL’s global expansion strategy may be a reaction to recent territorial losses inflicted by international military efforts. In this context, the swift expansion of ISIL’s operations across West and North Africa, the Middle East, and South and South-East Asia; the increasing number of terrorist groups pledging allegiance to its cause; and the substantial flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters from around the world, are sources of major concern.

    ISIL continues to perpetrate appalling human rights abuses against populations under its control, including mass executions, widespread torture, amputations, ethno-sectarian attacks, sexual violence, enslavement, and the systematic recruitment and abuse of children. The Secretary-General has said previously that some of ISIL’s crimes, if proven, constitute crimes against humanity.

    This situation has led to a “humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.” In Syria alone, around 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes, and more than 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Large-scale, systematic destruction and looting of cultural sites is also part of ISIL’s strategy. 

    The Report also analyses ISIL’s finances, highlighting its capacity to rapidly and effectively mobilize vast resources. The main funding sources include the exploitation of oil and other natural resources, “taxing”, confiscation, looting of archeological sites, external donations, ransom payments; and other financing techniques, such as the use of the Internet and social media to raise funds.

    ISIL’s attraction to potential recruits continues unabated — particularly among young people in both developed and developing States. It is estimated that around 30,000 Foreign Terrorist Fighters, originating from over 100 Member States and driven by a number of social, economic and geopolitical conditions, combined with individual circumstances, are actively engaged with ISIL and associated groups. These groups are using the Internet and social media as a promotional and recruitment tool. Information and Communication Technologies play a crucial role in the preparation of FTF travel to join ISIL and its affiliates, the training and sharing of “effective practices” and the planning of attacks.

    ISIL sympathizers acting alone or in small cells have effectively expanded the geographical scope and complexity of their attacks in the second half of 2015, both in terms of planning and facilitation, as the attacks in Beirut, Paris and Jakarta demonstrated. The combination of home-grown small cells and terrorists who travel back and forth from Syria and Iraq, as well as the use of sophisticated technologies to plan the attacks, new logistical and training techniques, suicide attackers, and rosters of Foreign Terrorist Fighters with specialized skills all represent new and complex challenges.

     

    UN Support to Member States

    In its second part, the report stresses that, while the primary responsibility for countering the threat of ISIL lies with Member States, the United Nations and other international organizations have a critical role to play in supporting the efforts of Member States and have already taken a number of measures in this regard. These include the assessments of the threat and of States’ capacities undertaken by the 1267/1989/2253 Monitoring Team and CTED; the CTITF-UNCCT’s development of a UN Capacity-Building Implementation Plan for countering the flow of FTFs; and the development of capacity-building programs and projects such as those being implemented by UNCCT, UNODC, UNESCO, UNICRI, UN Women, and INTERPOL, among others.

     

    Recommendations

    In the third part of the report, the Secretary-General provides a number of strategic responses for Member States and the United Nations to address the threat of ISIL. These include addressing the underlying political and socio-economic causes of relevant conflicts, particularly in Syria, and strengthening the operational and legal framework needed to choke off ISIL’s funding.

    In the context of countering the financing of terrorism, Member States should ensure the timely exchange of information and financial intelligence, implement relevant Security Council resolutions, and strengthen their collaboration with private sector actors to address the threat. The United Nations should support these efforts in a more comprehensive way, particularly in its field operations, including by enhancing its research on the nexus between ISIL and transnational organized crime, and stepping up technical assistance to build Member States’ capacities.

    In order to counter recruitment and address violent extremism and radicalization, Governments should consider developing national plans of action to prevent violent extremism, focus preventive efforts on education and youth, and strengthen strategies and legal frameworks to address the abuse of information and communication technologies. The United Nations should support these efforts, including through measures proposed by the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism currently under consideration, and the development of new tools that will facilitate cooperation between investigators and prosecutors involved in terrorism cases.

    Member States should criminalize FTF travel in accordance with relevant resolutions and take measures to strengthen their border-management regimes, including by using INTERPOL databases, assessing FTF travel routes and trends on a continuous basis, and improving the exchange of information between States. The United Nations should step up capacity building assistance in this context.

    From preventive to security and criminal-justice measures, Member States should strengthen their tools to disrupt ISIL’s capacity to plan and facilitate attacks — including through the use of special investigative techniques and effective inter-agency coordination.

    Applying a case-by-case approach to ISIL returnees and ensuring the support of the United Nations in protecting cultural heritage is also recommended.    

     

    Conclusion - Next Steps   

    Mr. President,

    Despite the efforts of the international community to counter ISIL through military, financial and law enforcement measures, and the substantial losses inflicted upon ISIL, the group continues to pose one of the major challenges of our time to international peace and security.

    In the face of this common threat, I would like to echo the Secretary-General’s call to unity and action, including in finding political solutions to the conflicts in Syria and Libya, and assure you that the United Nations is committed to supporting Member States’ efforts.

    The Secretary-General will provide an update of this report to this Council in four months’ time, as mandated by resolution 2253.

     

    Thank you, Mr. President. 

  • 26 Ene 2016

    Sadly, 2016 has begun much like 2015 ended – with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse across the spectrum in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. 

     

    Stabbings, vehicle attacks, and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians – all of which I condemn --  and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, have continued to claim lives.

    But security measures alone will not stop the violence.  They cannot address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians – especially young people. 

    The full force of the law must be brought to bear on all those committing crimes – with a system of justice applied equally for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

    Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process.  

    Some have taken me to task for pointing out this indisputable truth.  

    Yet, as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.

    So-called facts on the ground in the occupied West Bank are steadily chipping away the viability of a Palestinian state and the ability of Palestinian people to live in dignity.   

    In an effort to overcome the political impasse, Quartet Envoys met Israeli and Palestinian officials on 17 December last year.  

    They reiterated the urgent need for significant steps, in line with previous agreements, to strengthen Palestinian institutions, security and economic prospects while addressing Israel’s security concerns.

    Changing Israeli policies is central to advancing this goal, particularly in Israeli-controlled Area C, which comprises 61 percent of West Bank territory and is home to some 300,000 Palestinians. 

    Approvals of master plans for Palestinian sectors of Area C would allow for much needed growth in these areas and prevent demolitions.

    Progress towards peace requires a freeze of Israel’s settlement enterprise. 

    Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community.  They rightly raise fundamental questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.

    I am deeply troubled by reports today that the Israeli Government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

    This is combined with its announcement last week declaring 370 acres in the West Bank, south of Jericho, as so-called "state land".  These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead.

    I urge the Israeli Government not to use a recent decision by the Israeli High Court affirming a large tract of land south of Bethlehem as state land to advance settlement activities. 

    The demolitions of Palestinian homes in Area C of the occupied West Bank continue.  So do the decades-long difficulties of Palestinians to obtain building permits. 

    The Bedouin community, in particular, is paying a heavy price.  I reiterate the UN’s call for an immediate end to Israeli plans to forcibly transfer Bedouin communities currently living within the occupied Palestinian territory in the Jerusalem area. 

    At the same time, the humanitarian situation in Gaza remains perilous.   

    Eighteen months after the end of hostilities, conditions have not significantly improved. I condemn the continuing rocket fire into Israel from militant groups in Gaza.

    Chronic security and governance challenges and funding shortages have slowed the pace of reconstruction.  Much work remains to be done.  Meanwhile, the people of Gaza face dire unemployment, water and electricity needs.  

    Meeting these concerns must be a top priority.  However none of this can be accomplished without critical support from donors, the fulfilment of pledges from the Cairo Conference, as well as the full return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza.  

    I continue to strongly believe that conditions in Gaza pose a severe threat to long-term peace and security in the region. 

    Palestinians must also demonstrate commitment to addressing the divisions among Palestinians themselves. 

    I strongly urge the Palestinian factions to advance genuine Palestinian unity on the basis of democracy and the PLO principles. 

    Reconciliation is critical in order to reunite the West Bank and Gaza under a single legitimate Palestinian authority.  

    Healing Palestinian divisions is also critical so that Palestinians can instead focus their energies on establishing a stable state as part of a negotiated two-state solution.

    Genuine unity will also improve the Palestinian Government’s ability to meet pressing economic problems, which are adding to the frustration and anger driving Palestinian violence.

    The international community also has a responsibility – not least by responding generously to UNRWA’s recent emergency appeal of over $400 million to support vulnerable Palestinians. 

    And as we continue to uphold the right of Palestinians to self-determination, let us be equally firm that incitement has no place, and that questioning the right of Israel to exist cannot be tolerated. 

    In an already tense regional environment, it is imperative to promote and consolidate stability wherever possible. 

    In Lebanon, I urge all political leaders to work with Prime Minister Tammam Salam and to intensify efforts to resolve the presidential crisis. 

    The Syria Donors Conference on 4 February in London will be an important opportunity to mobilize support.  This must include meeting neighbouring countries huge humanitarian, infrastructure and stabilization needs in light of the refugee crisis.  We are all aware of the strains on Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

    I welcome the resumption of calm along the Blue Line and in UNIFIL’s area of operations following the serious incidents of 20 December and 4 January. 

    All parties have a responsibility to uphold the cessation of hostilities and to ensure full respect for Security Council resolution 1701.​​

    On the Golan, it remains critical that parties to the Disengagement Agreement maintain liaison with UNDOF.  They must refrain from actions that could escalate the situation across the ceasefire line.

    Some may say the current volatility across the region makes it too risky to seek peace.  I say the greater peril is not seeking a solution to the Palestinian question.

    Some say the two sides are entrenched in their respective positions.  I say that we must not succumb to passivity, resignation or hopelessness that a comprehensive resolution of the conflict is not achievable. 

    A lasting agreement will require difficult compromises by both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.  

    Yes -- but what are the alternatives? 

    The continuing deadly wave of terror attacks and killings? 

    The possible financial collapse of the Palestinian Government? 

    Ever greater isolation of the Israeli Government?

    A further deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza and the agonizing build-up to another terrible war? 

    A hollowing of the moral foundation of both Israeli and Palestinian societies alike, a creeping moral blindness that ignores the suffering – and indeed the humanity -- of one’s neighbour?

    More unilateral acts by each side, intentionally designed to pre-empt negotiations and provoke the other side?

    The parties must act – and act now -- to prevent the two-state solution from slipping away forever.  

    [Upholding] and implementing this vision – two states living side-by-side in peace and security - offers the only means by which Israel could retain both its Jewish majority and democratic status.  

    As the wider Middle East continues to be gripped by a relentless wave of extremist terror, Israelis and Palestinians have an opportunity to restore hope to a region torn apart by intolerance and cruelty.  I urge them to accept this historic challenge in the mutual interest of peace.

    The support of regional partners in this pursuit is essential. The Arab Peace Initiative provides a valuable basis for broader support. 

    And finally, the whole international community must be ever more committed to actively help Palestinians and Israelis to rebuild trust and achieve an enduring peace before it is too late.

    Thank you.  Muchas gracias.

  • 14 Ene 2016

    Africa:

    Americas:

    • UN Mission in El Salvador (MINUSAL)
    • UN Office of Verification in El Salvador (UNOV)
    • OAS/UN International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH)
    • International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICAH)
    • United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA)
    • UN Mission in Colombia

    Asia and Pacific:

    • UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET)
    • UN Special Mission in Afghanistan (UNSMA)
    • UN Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB)
    • UN Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB)
    • UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL)
    • UN Tajikistan Office of Peacebuilding (UNTOP)
    • UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN)

     

     

  • 14 Ene 2016

    Mr. President,

    Distinguished Council Members,

    I am pleased to be here today to brief you on the situation in West Africa and the implementation of UNOWA’s mandate. Further to the 16th report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), which is before you, I would like to highlight a few issues and update you on the most recent developments.

    In the last six months, there were a number of key political developments in West Africa. Peaceful and credible elections were held in several countries. In Burkina Faso, the transitional institutions ensured the holding of the presidential and legislative elections in a timely manner, despite the challenges that emerged following the failed coup d’état of 16 September.  I would like to seize this opportunity to reiterate my congratulations to the people and leaders of Burkina Faso for their exemplary conduct and peaceful and responsible participation during the polls. The inauguration of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré marked a successful end to the transition period. In Guinea, a dialogue process, supported by the United Nations in coordination with regional and international actors, enabled the holding of presidential elections in accordance with constitutional deadlines. The peaceful holding of the polls, which resulted in the re-election of President Alpha Conde, constitutes an important milestone in the country’s process of democratic consolidation. Peaceful polls were also conducted in Côte d’Ivoire, resulting in the re-election of the incumbent President Alassane Ouattara. With regard to Nigeria, I am encouraged by the establishment of a new Government and its commitment to actively combating corruption. This will contribute to the creation of an environment that will allow the country to realize its full economic potential. These developments demonstrate the democratic resolve of the people of West Africa.

    As Council members are aware, five presidential elections are scheduled to take place in 2016 in Benin, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Ghana and Niger.  In the lead-up to these elections, I will continue to call on national stakeholders to utilize dialogue to resolve outstanding electoral-related issues so as to create a conducive environment for the holding of peaceful, credible and inclusive elections.

     

    Mr. President,

    Violent extremism and terrorist activities remain a major threat to security and development in West Africa, further aggravating the region’s humanitarian challenges. While some progress has been made in the fight against Boko Haram, the terrorist group continues its indiscriminate attacks against civilians not only in Nigeria, but also in Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Boko Haram continues to adapt its tactics, and is increasingly resorting to using young boys and girls for suicide attacks. In response, countries in the region have intensified their efforts to combat these terrorist threats, and have improved cooperation in areas such as intelligence-sharing.  As they conduct military operations against the group, it is critical that they maintain adherence to international Human Rights, Humanitarian and Refugee Laws.  It is also crucial for countries of West and Central Africa to also work on developing strategies that address the root causes of the insurgency, and notably the underlying socio-economic grievances of marginalized communities. In this regard, SRSG Bathily and I are working to ensure that the expected joint ECOWAS and ECCAS Summit take place as soon as possible.

     

    Mr. President,

    There has also been some progress in the area of Security Sector Reform. The new UN Senior Security Sector Reform Adviser, recently appointed by the Secretary General to support President Alpha Conde of Guinea in his efforts to advance the implementation of SSR, is already working intensely with the President and the government.  At the President’s request, the Technical Follow-Up Commission and all five technical sectoral committees on SSR, led by the Senior SSR Adviser, have resumed the holding of meetings.

    Concerning drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, in November, I chaired a meeting of the High Level Policy Committee of the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI).  I was pleased to note the commitment of countries in the region to fight this scourge. The Transnational Organized Crime Units in Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Liberia have been conducting effective joint investigations, while the unit in Côte d’Ivoire is working to become operational shortly.

    Regrettably, progress has been slower in the area of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. The Inter-regional Coordination Centre in Yaoundé, inaugurated in September 2014, is still not fully operational, and the Coordination Centre covering Togo, Benin, Niger and Nigeria, has yet to receive staff, funding and equipment. We continue to urge all partners to intensify their cooperation on this matter.

     

    Mr. President,

    We welcome, with satisfaction, the news that there are no more active Ebola cases in the region. In this regard, I would like to pay tribute to the national and international actors that contributed to this achievement. At present the task of rehabilitating essential services calls for our undivided attention. The epidemic has dramatically unveiled the fragility of national health systems, and highlighted the importance of effective governance. Its repercussions will continue to be felt in the form of secondary fatalities due to inadequate capacities and loss of livelihoods, which have compounded an economic crisis in countries already severely affected by the decline in commodity prices.

    I salute the resilience of the people of West Africa in overcoming adversity and their commitment to uphold democratic principles, and I want to assure you that the UNOWA will not relent in accompanying their efforts toward enhanced democracy and sustainable development.  In light of the support this Council has consistently provided to our engagements, I am confident that the United Nations will continue to remain a most relevant partner to the countries and institutions of the West African region.

     

    Mister President,

    Distinguished Members of the Security Council,

    I thank you for your attention.

  • 9 Ene 2016

    Today UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman concluded a two-day visit to Nepal. During his visit, he met with a number of Nepal''''s political and civil society leaders, including President Bidya Devi Bandari and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

    On behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mr Feltman ‎conveyed the United Nations'' appreciation for Nepal''s unwavering commitment and contribution to the work of the United Nations in its 60 years of membership, citing in particular Nepal''''s role in UN Peacekeeping operations and in representing the concerns of land-locked developing countries. In turn, Mr Feltman assured Nepal of the UN''''s unwavering partnership in ‎its recovery following the devastating earthquakes of 2015 as well as in addressing broader humanitarian and development needs. ‎

    Mr Feltman expressed deep concern about current developments that are adversely affecting Nepal''''s humanitarian situation, economic performance and reconstruction efforts. Commending Nepalis on their resolve to address these issues with a spirit of flexibility and compromise, Mr Feltman encouraged political leaders to overcome urgently current differences on constitutional arrangements through inclusive dialogue and parliamentary process. He also underscored the importance of rebuilding trust amongst different groups, including through agreement on the modalities of the process to delineate internal borders. Mr Feltman expressed the sincere hope and conviction that an understanding on these immediate matters will‎ allow Nepalis to meet their aspirations of economic development, accountability and the full implementation of constitutional provisions. The UN fully supports this Nepali process.

2015

  • 16 Dic 2015

    Madam President, Members of the Security Council,

    Some two months ago the Secretary-General visited Jerusalem and Ramallah to support collective efforts to stop the violence which had begun to erupt in Israel, the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza.

    It is sad that over the past few weeks, despite a decline in attacks, the bloodshed has not stopped with some seven Israelis and 34 Palestinians killed during the reporting period. Stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israelis continue to claim victims on an almost daily basis – including, just two days ago, serious injury to a one and a half year old baby, one of eleven victims of a car ramming in Jerusalem -- as suspected assailants are shot and killed in return and as clashes continue to result in Palestinian deaths.

    Hebron continues to be a hotspot and the most volatile component of the current escalation.

    On behalf of the Secretary-General, I reiterate the United Nations’ firm condemnation of all terrorist attacks. Leaders on all sides have the responsibility to stop incitement and to consistently, and unequivocally stand against acts of terror and violence in all its forms.    

     

    Madam President,

    The current circumstances should not be accepted as “the new normal”. Israelis and Palestinians should not be resigned to living under the threat of violence. However, a comprehensive strategy to limit that threat cannot rely uniquely on enhanced security measures. It must also address the primary elements motivating Palestinian anger.

    I am pleased to report some positive developments in this regard: Tensions have calmed around the flashpoint of Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and efforts are underway to implement the understandings reached between Israel and Jordan. The situation remains precarious and requires both sides to maintain an active and open communication.

    Perceived impunity for settler violence against Palestinians has also driven violence. Positively, four months after the Dawabsha family was brutally murdered, a number of arrests have been made.  I take this opportunity to underscore the need to charge and swiftly bring the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice.

    At the same time grave concerns persist on a range of issues that continue to undermine prospects for ending violence and rebuilding trust. The injustices associated with an occupation which shows no prospect of ending feed into a perspective – particularly among the youth – that they have nothing to lose by sacrificing their lives.

    Palestinians continue to endure extensive movement restrictions, intensified by the ongoing violence, which negatively impact access to basic services and livelihoods.

    Ongoing demolitions against Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, such as in al Hadidiya village a few days ago, remain troubling. All the more so as the relief provided to these households has been repeatedly seized by the Israeli security forces despite the onset of winter.

    Israeli authorities have also carried out two punitive demolitions against families of those convicted or accused of attacks. Such acts are a clear violation of international law, aggravate an already tense environment and may be counterproductive.

     

    Madam President,

    Turning to Gaza, during the past month, Palestinian militants fired ten rockets toward Israel, two of which impacted Israeli territory, without injury. Palestinian militants in Gaza also conducted cross-border shooting at the IDF on two occasions. The IDF retaliated with four airstrikes. The United Nations reiterates its condemnation of the firing of rockets by militants from Gaza towards Israel. These indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas must stop.

    Despite persistent security and governance challenges and funding shortages, the reconstruction process advances. More than 90 percent of damaged schools and hospitals have been repaired while repairs have either been completed or are ongoing on about half of all partially damaged homes. The key challenge is reconstruction of those homes – indeed those neighborhoods -- that were completely destroyed during the war and here, progress has been slow.  Reviving the economy and productive sectors also remains a major outstanding task. Donors need to accelerate efforts to translate pledges into disbursements particularly for housing reconstruction. And let us not forget that repairing damage from the most recent hostilities will not fix the underlying chronic problems of Gaza.

    Last week’s global launch of humanitarian funding appeals included a $571 million projected funding needed for Palestine. It covers a range of interventions from provision of legal assistance and the safe disposal of unexploded ordnance in Gaza, to the provision of basic services such as water and health. The appeal represents a 19 per cent reduction as compared to 2015, but remains elevated due largely to Gaza’s significant humanitarian needs in the aftermath of the 2014 hostilities.

     

    Madam President,

    A political horizon to end the conflict now seems more distant than ever. Leaders on both sides cannot continue to ignore the underlying causes perpetuating violence and fueling extremism on all sides.

    It is extremist voices that currently resonate. Voices that want to capitalize on the darkest of human emotions, while seeking to sabotage any genuine effort to rebuild trust.

    But where are the voices urging restraint?

    Where are the proponents of peace, tolerance and a shared Israeli-Palestinian future?

    How can we begin to shift the momentum back towards these advocates of reason?

    These questions demand answers, first and foremost from Israeli and Palestinian leaders. It is for them to choose whether they will show leadership in building sustainable peace and security, or will allow the future of their people to drift in uncertainty as radicalism and extremism take over.

    Welcome Israeli statements committing to a two-state solution have yet to be followed by actions demonstrating the sincerity of that commitment. The settlement enterprise continues to deepen its roots within the occupied West Bank. The transition to greater Palestinian civil authority contemplated by prior agreements has yet to begin. Progress in the areas of housing, water, energy, communications, agriculture, and natural resources are lagging.

    In the course of the last several months the United Nations and its international partners, have consistently advocated for Palestinian unity as well as for fundamental changes in Israeli policies on the ground. Such changes should bring tangible improvements to Palestinian lives by strengthening Palestinian institutions, economy and security. Without such steps, it is difficult to see how the parties can return to meaningful negotiations so as to reach a just and sustainable solution to this long-standing conflict.

    Even as we speak, the Envoys of the Middle East Quartet are in Israel and Palestine. They continue their efforts to promote significant steps on the ground, consistent with prior agreements that can restore hope to the Palestinian people and preserve the viability of a negotiated two-State solution.

    In addition, we continue to look to the Security Council for any additional guidance on developing a new peace architecture for resolving the conflict.

     

    Madam President,

    Turning to Lebanon, let me reiterate the United Nations support for the leadership of Prime Minister Tammam Salam under difficult conditions. While Lebanon remains resilient in the face of serious challenges emanating from the conflict in Syria, the political paralysis in the country is preventing it from managing these challenges effectively.

    We note the discussions in Lebanon on the question of the presidency which has now been vacant for over 18 months. The Secretary-General has consistently stressed the importance of Lebanese parties showing flexibility to enable the election of a president without delay. We sincerely hope that the current efforts can lead to an opening which will enable the institutions of State to function effectively.   In the wake of last month’s ISIL attack in Beirut, we further urge the international community to redouble efforts for Lebanon’s security and stability. The release two weeks ago of the members of the Lebanese Armed Forces and security services held hostage by the Nusra Front since August 2014 is a welcome development. We hope for the speedy release of the remaining hostages held by ISIL. 

    Meanwhile, the situation along the Blue Line and in UNIFIL’s area of operations has remained relatively calm. Both parties continued to work with UNIFIL through the established liaison and coordination arrangements. Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace continued on a daily basis.

     

    Madam President,

    Overcoming today’s challenges in Israel and Palestine will require unprecedented vision by Israeli and Palestinian leadership to see beyond today's confrontations and take bold steps to create a peaceful future.

    We call upon them to let go of their immediate political fears and focus on the greater good of achieving a sustainable long-term peace for the Palestinian and Israeli people.

    The United Nations remains committed to supporting these efforts in every possible way.

     

  • 11 Dic 2015

    Madam President, 
    Distinguished Members of the Council

    I would like to thank you for this opportunity to address today the Council so soon following my appointment as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya.

    There have been important developments with respect to the Libyan political dialogue process since my predecessor last briefed this Council on November 5th.

    Since assuming my duties about three weeks ago, I have endeavoured to ensure seamless transition from my predecessor and continuity in the Libyan political dialogue process.

    I am fortunate to have met in such a short period a wide array of political leaders, civil society representatives, tribal elders, as well as women and youth leaders. I also met the respective leaderships of the House of Representatives in Tobruk and the General National Congress in Tripoli.

    I also had the opportunity to hold extensive consultations with countries in the region and beyond. I travelled to Algeria, where I had the privilege of meeting all of Libya’s neighbouring countries, as well as to Egypt, France, Italy, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

    I am grateful for the warm welcome I have received from all, inside Libya and outside, for their invaluable insights to the complexities of the Libyan political and security landscape.

    In all these countries, there is a growing sense of alarm at the prospect of a spillover of the terrorist threat from Libya into neighbouring countries.

    Today, along with the Libyan dialogue participants, I met with the President of Tunisia who also expressed his deep concern regarding the risk of Daesh rapidly consolidating its influence within Libya and the danger it poses to Tunisia and the wider region.

    I have no illusion about the difficult realities that confront us in Libya. The two institutions at the centre of the political conflict in Libya are beginning to show dangerous signs of internal fragmentation.

    The military conflict, particularly in Benghazi, continues to exact a heavy toll on the civilian population, adding further to existing humanitarian situation.

    Across the country, 2.4 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, of whom 435,000 are estimated to be internally displaced, in addition to several hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants. Basic items of daily use and the necessary medication have become scarce in many hospitals.

    In the south, criminality and lawlessness have reached endemic levels.

    Extremist and terrorist groups continue to expand their spheres of influence.

    Falling oil revenues and rapidly depleting financial resources are accelerating Libya’s economic decline.

    But in the face of all this, Libyans are overwhelmingly united on one key point. Libya can and should no longer wait for peace to come.

     

    Madam President, Members of the Council

    In the face of the continued inability of the House of Representatives and the General National Congress to move forward with the formal endorsement of the outcomes of the Libyan political dialogue, I convened a new round of the Libyan political dialogue to discuss the way forward.

    The two days deliberations in Tunis, which concluded earlier today, culminated in the agreement on a number of key points.

    First: a political settlement should be on the basis of the Libyan Political Agreement negotiated within the framework of the UNSMIL-facilitated political dialogue.

    Second: notwithstanding the legitimate concerns by some of the parties, vis-à-vis elements of the Agreement, there would be no reopening of the text.

    Third: an agreement on the need to move forward with the immediate endorsement and signature of the Libyan Political Agreement. The participants of the political dialogue – some 40 courageous men and women who take considerable risks to put the interest of Libya above personal interest – decided to publicly announce 16th of December as a target date for the signature.

    Fourth: a unanimous call on all political and security actors to create a conducive environment to enable a future Government of National Accord to assume its responsibilities in the Libyan capital without threat or intimidation. All underlined the need for collective agreement on the necessary security arrangements to facilitate this.

    In this regard, I wish to take this opportunity to call directly on the leadership of the General National Congress to allow my colleagues and myself to land with our airplane in Tripoli and other cities in Libya to freely interact with whomever we deem necessary. We can only fulfil our mandate if we have free access to all security actors, particularly in Tripoli.

    Critically, the participants in the political dialogue highlighted the urgency, the time factor. Libya is in a race against time, its very social fabric, national unity, and territorial integrity is directly endangered by the forces of extremism and terrorism, the likes of Daesh, which are actively consolidating and seeking to extend their influence beyond areas under their immediate control. Many dialogue participants referred to the imminent danger of Daesh expansion.

     

    Madam President, Members of the Council

    In thinking over their options, the plight of Libya’s civilian population featured prominently in the deliberations of the Libyan dialogue participants today.

    Yesterday, the world marked International Human Rights Day. But for many in Libya, yesterday marked yet another day of chaos, fear and hardship.

    Libya’s civilian population, including children, bear the brunt of gross human rights violations. Many civilians continue to be victims of arbitrary killings and violent attacks.

    Much of Benghazi, the cradle of the 17 February Revolution, is today a wasteland. Hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants have had to flee their homes. The city’s infrastructure and vital facilities lie in ruin. 

     

    Madam President, Members of the Council

    The last two days of deliberations, which in part were attended by Tunis-based ambassadors and Libya envoys from Egypt, Italy and the United States who travelled to Tunis, revealed that the Libyans expect this Council’s support and the support of the wider international community. This support is indispensable to help them to forge peace through unity.

    In this regard, the forthcoming High Level Ministerial Conference in Rome hosted by Italy and the United States will provide an opportunity for the international community to speak with a strong and united voice in support of the Libyan Political Agreement.

    And it is with the Rome Conference in mind that I also wish to convey on behalf of the Libyan dialogue participants the following four key points.

    First: that this Council unequivocally supports the outcomes of the Libyan political dialogue and the Libyan Political Agreement. This would send a clear message to all those whose narrow agendas continue to stand in the way of peace.

    Second: every effort must be made to ensure that technical support to the future Libyan Government of National Accord is visible, tangible and sustainable in order to ensure that it can deliver quickly.

    Third: concerted efforts will need to be exerted to address the humanitarian situation and the terrible plight endured by the civilian population.

    Fourth: I cannot overstate the threat posed by Daesh. Mobilising international support to assist Libyan authorities to take decisive measures to combat, contain and eliminate this imminent danger is a must.

     

    Madam President, Members of the Council

    The Libyans have a unique opportunity before them. The time has come to make peace. It is unlikely that there will be other opportunities without inflicting further suffering and hardship on the Libyan people. 

    I wish to take this opportunity to assure all Libyans that the door will always remain open for those who wish to join on the road to peace. Once the agreement is signed, we will immediately assist in broadening the basis of support for the new Government which should ultimately be based in Tripoli. Through engagement with the militias, political parties, tribal elders, and civil society, we will advocate for the acceptance of the Libyan Political Agreement.

    I appeal to the sense of patriotism and statesmanship of Libya’s leaders to give consideration to Libya’s higher national interests and the long-term welfare of the Libyan people.

    Their support to the Libyan Political Agreement will be the first step on Libya’s road to peace, security and prosperity.

    Thank you. 

  • 10 Dic 2015

    Madam President, 
    Members of the Security Council, 
    Excellencies,
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Thank you for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

    One year ago, on 22 December 2014, the Security Council extended its debate on the DPRK beyond nuclear concerns to include human rights. It is fitting that we meet today, Human Rights Day, commemorating the day on which, in 1948, the General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Madam President, on 19 November, the Third Committee approved, by a recorded vote of 112 in favour, the draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the DPRK. The General Assembly is due to formally adopt the resolution later this month. As is well known, the Commission of Inquiry concluded that “the gravity, scale and nature of the violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world”. Efforts to engage the Government of the DPRK to improve the human rights situation in the country must go hand in hand with efforts to hold perpetrators of crimes accountable.  

    In keeping with its obligations under international law, the DPRK has a responsibility to protect its population from the most serious international crimes. And the international community has a collective responsibility to protect the population of the DPRK, and to consider the wider implications of the reported grave human rights situation for the stability of the region. 

    The international community has yet to find and agree on an effective way to address the serious human rights concerns raised by the report of the Commissions of Inquiry, and how to bring about positive and lasting change for the North Korean people. Particular challenges have been posed on how to balance calls for accountability and focus on security matters, and the need for engagement and dialogue. 

    Despite different perspectives on this matter, discussion of human rights concerns by Member States, including in the Council, allows for a more comprehensive assessment and action when addressing security and stability concerns in the Korean Peninsula. History has shown that serious violations of human rights often serve as a warning sign of instability and conflict, especially in the absence of accountability for such violations.

     

    Madam President, 

    The DPRK has on multiple occasions made clear its objection to the General Assembly resolution on the human rights situation in the country. Unlike in 2014, however, the DPRK has refrained from raising the possibility of conducting a fourth nuclear test in its statements rejecting the resolution.

    We are concerned by the report that the DPRK conducted a further submarine-launched ballistic missile test on 28 November. The Security Council has repeatedly demanded through relevant resolutions that further launches using ballistic missiles be ceased and obligations be met for the verifiable denuclearization. Although each challenge has different contexts, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran shows that diplomacy can work to address non-proliferation challenges. There is strong international consensus on the need to work for peace, stability and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. To achieve this goal, dialogue is the way forward. Meaningful dialogue must be revitalised and conducted in a sincere manner.

     

    Madam President, 

    Over the past two years, consistent efforts by the humanitarian community to engage, and the commitment on the part of the Government to improve its disaster management capacity have resulted in concrete progress in improving overall United Nations-DPRK relations. The Government’s increasing openness to carrying out joint assessments with United Nations agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations has facilitated access and data collection, ensuring that assistance reaches those in need. Continued engagement is key to maintaining this momentum.

    The engagement between the DPRK authorities and the United Nations in the preparation of the 2016 Needs and Priorities document is welcome. The document will provide an overview of the urgent humanitarian priorities in the country and will call on Member States to support the activities of the humanitarian community in this regard.

    International assistance plays a critical role in safeguarding the lives of millions in the country. Humanitarian funding to the DPRK has however steadily declined during the past decade, from USD 183 million in 2003 to less than USD 50 million in 2014.  Lack of timely, predictable and sufficient funding is crippling humanitarian agencies’ ability to respond effectively to the affected communities. The United Nations urges Member States to increase humanitarian assistance to those in need in the DPRK. 

    The new 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. As we move to implement the 2030 Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the principle of leaving no one behind is a challenge that every nation must address. The United Nations Country Team is in discussion with the Government on a new strategic framework starting in 2017 that would cover both humanitarian assistance and development support for the coming five years. 

     

    Madam President, 

    This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, as well as the division of the Korean Peninsula. Inter-Korean relations have remained deadlocked for far too long. 

    The United Nations therefore warmly welcomes the holding of family reunions between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea from 20 to 26 October at Mount Kumgang. Humanitarian measures such as the reunions of separated families should be regularised and not subject to political and security considerations. 

    The Secretary-General is encouraged by the positive trends related to inter-Korean relations, particularly the “August Agreement”, and plans for inter-Korean talks on 11 December. He hopes that the recent momentum will pave the way for greater inter-Korean dialogue, people-to-people contact, reconciliation and cooperation. He further hopes that more dialogue and exchanges will contribute to the promotion of human rights, and peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. 

     

    Madam President, 

    For the second time, Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong of the DPRK attended the General Assembly Debate in September 2015 and met with the Secretary-General, confirming the commitment of his country to sustaining and continuing the dialogue with the United Nations. The Secretary-General has often stated his willingness to play a constructive role if there was an opportunity, including through a visit to the DPRK, in an effort to promote inter-Korean peace and reconciliation. 

    The DPRK has extended invitations to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for the first time in history, and the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights to visit. While the DPRK continues not to recognise the mandate of the Special Rapporteur or the OHCHR Seoul Office, the invitations are positive signals that the DPRK may become more substantively engaged with the United Nations human rights system. 

     

    Madam President, 

    It is worth noting that several Members of this Council have previously made it known that they stand ready to adjust their positions in response to concrete steps that the DPRK takes to improve human rights in the country. The international community’s attention on the human rights situation in the DPRK, including the discussion today, is an opportunity for the DPRK authorities and the international community to take concrete steps to improve human rights and the living conditions of the people in the DPRK. I urge both the DPRK Government and concerned Member States to begin taking these steps. The United Nations is committed to helping toward that end. 

    Thank you, Madam President.

  • 30 Nov 2015

    This Strategic Plan sets out a vision for DPA that is centered on the need to promote inclusive political solutions as the key to preventing, managing or resolving conflicts and acts of political violence, while ensuring long lasting solutions that reduce human suffering and make peace sustainable. The Strategic Plan complements and integrates many aspects of the GA approved biennial Strategic Frameworks 2016/17 and 2018/19, and comprises three goals involving eight strategic objectives.

  • 25 Nov 2015

    Mr. President,

    It is my honour to brief the Security Council for the second time on the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the situation in the Sahel. It is an important opportunity to highlight the predicament of a region which desperately needs the continued focus of the Security Council.

    I take the floor at a time when terrorist attacks have taken place around the world: in Bamako, Northern Cameroon, Nigeria, Paris, Lebanon and targeting a Russian aircraft over the Sinai; attacks in which too many innocent lives were lost and which I strongly condemn.

    The attacks attest to the global reach of terrorism and the interconnectedness of all communities, whether rich or poor, and are a reminder to us all that no one is immune to this threat. The fight against terrorism requires international solidarity. Global partnerships in the fight against terrorism are no more an option but an imperative for survival.

    Security threats continue to be the main preoccupation in the Sahel region. Increasingly, the countries of the region, who are amongst the poorest and least developed in the world, are forced to dedicate important percentages of their budgets to address security threats, in a region where only 56 percent of children have access to primary education, and only 36 percent of the population can read and write. This unsustainable vicious cycle can only worsen without a strong international assistance.

    It is very alarming that youth and women in the Sahel, who constitute a vast majority of the population, are the targets of recruitment into radical movements. Up to 41 million youth under 25 years of age in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger alone face hopelessness and are at risk of radicalisation or migration.

    If nothing is done to improve  access to education, increase employment and integration opportunities for the youth, the Sahel, I am afraid, will become a hub of mass migration, and of recruitment and training of terrorist groups and individuals, which, as you know, will ultimately have grave consequences for global peace and security.

    Drug traffickers are increasingly colluding with armed groups and terrorist movements which grant them safe passage in exchange for financial benefits. If conflicts are to be prevented in the Sahel, illicit trafficking, including of drugs, weapons and humans should be stopped.

    Governance challenges are persisting, with important segments of the populations, continuing to be denied meaningful political participation.

    Building communities’ resilience continues to be a real challenge in the Sahel, due to the persistence of extreme environmental degradation, repeated climate shocks, and demographic trends which together are pushing millions of people on the brink of humanitarian disaster.

     

    Mr. President,

    The persistence of these challenges notwithstanding, there are reasons to be optimistic about the Sahel.

    First of all, the Sahel has continued to receive the sustained attention of the international community, as evidenced by the numerous Sahel strategies. Improvements in the coordination of our efforts and strategies will enhance the benefits of these activities to Sahel communities.

    Secondly, the countries of the region have taken greater leadership and ownership of initiatives addressing regional challenges in the Sahel. There is evidence of enhanced partnership and coordination between the countries of the region and international partners using various platforms established by the G5 Sahel, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).

    Thirdly, the United Nations entities working in the region have improved coordination and coherence in the implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. My office has made ownership of projects by the countries of the region the hallmark of its regional programming by ensuring full consultations and effective operational partnerships with regional organisations, governments, civil society and beneficiary communities.

    We have, in an innovative manner, worked closely with several United Nations agencies, funds and programmes which are now jointly developing and implementing projects aimed at addressing multi-dimensional issues in the areas of governance, security and resilience. In that regard, significant progress has been made in the development of regional projects by United Nations entities and the International Organisation for Migration, in collaboration with regional organisations and countries of the region.

    I recognise the central responsibility of the Sahel countries to take the lead in finding solutions to the challenges they face. I am, however, also obliged to admit that the Sahel is a victim of the effects of global phenomena such as climate change, drug trafficking, violent extremism and the global economic decline which surpass the nations’ capacity to address them, and which require diverse tools to mitigate and prevent these trends.

     

    Mr. President,

    As I conclude, I would like to make two recommendations:

    First, I would urge the Security Council to remain engaged in support of the Sahel region.

    Second, I would urge the Security Council to fully use existing mechanisms to better monitor, report on and prevent the trafficking of weapons, drugs and persons in the Sahel region. This trade finances terror and instability, and must be choked if our efforts are to be successful. I would also like to highlight the importance of listing all those who indirectly finance or support terrorist activities in the Sahel. In that regard, I commend the efforts of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 and 1989 concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities, which has so far listed seven (7) entities and six (6) individuals who have their origins in the Sahel region.

    Finally, I encourage the international community to enhance its support to the United Nations and regional organizations in addressing cross cutting and trans-boundary issues. Together, we can prevent further deterioration of the situation in the Sahel.

    I thank you for your kind attention.

  • 23 Nov 2015

    It is an honour to be invited by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on the occasion of the Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

    My Department, through the Division for Palestinian Rights, provides substantive support to help the Committee implement its mandate. That mandate is to raise international awareness on the question of Palestine and on the urgency of finding a peaceful settlement to this question on the basis of international law and United Nations resolutions.

    I wish to thank the Committee for organising this photo exhibit. These powerful photographs feature child victims of the hostilities in Gaza who are still suffering from the slow reconstruction of the territory. In Gaza, children older than six have already endured three conflicts. Children aged 9 or less have only known life in Gaza under the blockade.

    Today, as we observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it is also worth recalling that on 20 November, we commemorated Universal Children’s Day. The majority of the Palestinian population is made up of youth. I urge Member States not to lose sight of the impact conflicts have on children in particular, not only owing to the physical and psychological traumas, but also for the loss of hope they bring about. That hopelessness has political, long-term repercussions. We all must protect children caught up in conflict. This is an obligation under international humanitarian, human rights norms and refugee law. It is our obligation as human beings.

    This exhibit is primarily a much needed reminder of this collective responsibility to protect the most vulnerable populations from the scourge of war. But it  is also a reminder that it is past time for the international community to assume its responsibility to help bring about a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine. 

  • 19 Nov 2015

    Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,

    At the outset, on behalf of the UN family in Jerusalem, I would like to extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims of the abhorrent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and the Sinai. These tragic events serve to reinforce the reality that the extremism and terrorism that has infected many parts of the Middle East is not constrained by borders. It can strike anywhere, anytime, and poses a grave threat to international peace and security. Against this backdrop we cannot separate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from this global threat. Establishing a Palestinian state, while addressing Israel’s substantial security concerns, would yield major dividends not only for Israelis and Palestinians alike, but for the entire region.

    Over the past month, there were 36 reported attacks, including stabbings or attempted stabbings, shootings, or car-rammings, by Palestinians against Israelis in Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. They left seven Israelis dead and 36 injured, including today’s attack in Tel Aviv and an attack just now in the settlement of Gush Etzion. The two apparent sniper attacks in Hebron on 10 November, which would be the first of their kind since the current escalation began, and the brutal drive-by shooting south of Hebron, on 13 November which killed a father and his son are worrying signs of escalation from the use of knives to firearms. Of the suspected Palestinian assailants, 25 were killed.

    According to OCHA, during the reporting period, in clashes across the West Bank and Gaza 11 Palestinians were killed and over 3,500 injured, with seven others injured in settler-related violence.

    I must, once again, reiterate the United Nations’ resolute condemnation of all terrorist attacks and I call on political, community and religious leaders on all sides to speak out against terror and all forms of violence.

     

    Mr. President,

    Since our last briefing, the epicentre of violence has moved to Hebron, which like Jerusalem, has holy sites revered by both Muslims and Jews and has been a cause of friction for decades.

    Hebron is the heart of the Palestinian economy. Its vitality is unmistakable and its vast potential for growth is broadly recognised. It is the West Bank’s largest city with a population of some 170,000. It is also its industrial and commercial engine. Annual exports to Israel amount to over 240 million dollars. The city’s continued development is, thus, integral to the economic viability of a future Palestinian state.

    A walk through the Old City, however, evokes a starkly different image: streets barricaded and unnaturally cut off; houses emptied of life and activity; lives caged in by metal grids and turnstiles. 

    Over the past twenty years the city’s Palestinian and Jewish populations have been physically separated.  The economic impact of the violence raging in and around Hebron has been severe for the entire district. Once thriving markets are now eerily abandoned. Over the last decade hundreds of shops located in the Israeli controlled “H2” area have been shut down either by military order or due to lack of business.

    I plan to return soon to Hebron with the UN Country Team to discuss with the Governor and the Mayor what programmes we can initiate to support the recovery of the area and to support community dialogue.

     

    Mr. President,

    Ending the violence and de-escalating the overall situation in Jerusalem, Hebron and other areas must remain our immediate priority. But as the Secretary-General has consistently stated, this cannot be achieved through security measures alone. All parties must play a part in implementing measures that could have a positive impact. These include:

    1. Immediate efforts by all political, religious and community leaders to stop the hate-fuelled incitement that glorifies the murder of Jews or that brands all Palestinians as terrorists;
    2. Recent understandings on upholding the status quo at Haram-Al Sharif / Temple Mount must also be implemented;
    3. It is necessary to address the apparent impunity for settler violence against Palestinians;
    4. The sanctity of burial rituals must be recognised and Palestinians must be allowed to bury their deceased without unnecessary delay;
    5. Within Hebron restrictions must be eased and Hebron’s main commercial artery, al-Shuhada Street, should be reopened in accordance with the 1994 Hebron Protocols;
    6. Taking steps to bolster security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to prevent any further deterioration of the situation;
    7. Finally, the use of firearms by Israeli security forces should be employed only when less extreme means are insufficient to address an imminent threat of death or serious injury.

     

    Mr. President,

    Dealing with the threats that kill the prospect of a two-state solution is also critical. The reality in which a settler state is emerging in the occupied West Bank must be reversed if hope is to be reignited.

    I am concerned by the decision announced on November 18th to issue tenders for 436 housing units in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo, the first such tender announcement in over a year. Equally worrisome are the five punitive demolitions of family houses of alleged perpetrators of terrorist acts carried out by Israel over the past week. I reiterate that settlement activity and punitive demolitions are illegal under international law. They also deepen mistrust between the parties and further aggravate an already highly tense environment.

    In a troubling development, Israeli forces have carried out several raids on hospitals, including at Al Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem and at al-Ahli hospital in Hebron. My deputy and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory has called on the authorities to respect health facilities and the right of all individuals to receive health care.

     

    Mr. President,

    During the reporting period, the security situation in Gaza was relatively calm compared to the West Bank, despite three fatalities as a result of clashes near the border fence. Having said that however, seven rockets were fired toward Israel, three of which impacted Israeli territory, without causing fatalities. Palestinian militants also test fired 14 rockets at the sea. The IDF responded with six airstrikes and three limited incursions into the Gaza Strip. On at least four occasions, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians at sea, resulting in injuries to at least two persons. In a worrying development Israel intercepted the attempted illegal transfer of 450 litres of TDI (Toluene di-isocyanate) a hazardous substance that can be used for the production of a large quantity of rockets.

    I call on all factions on the ground in Gaza not to engage in activities that risk destabilising the situation and undermining the reconstruction process. Particularly as the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) continues to function effectively. In October, a new stream was introduced to simplify access to construction materials to finish housing units, which had been started – but not completed – prior to last year’s conflict. Under this stream, over 6,000 applicants have so far been introduced into the system.

    In a welcome development, as of mid-October, Israel removed aggregate from the list of dual-use materials. The good news, however, has been tempered by the addition of other items, including timber, to the list this year. These additions hinder Gaza’s reconstruction and I call on the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision.

     

    Mr. President,

    Based on developments on the ground, the current conditions make a return to negotiations a challenging prospect.

    Trust must be rebuilt and, for that, bold and significant steps on the ground must be taken in order to tangibly improve lives and irreversibly move towards the end of occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    In the period before an eventual return to negotiations, the parties and their international partners must pursue measures that strengthen institutions, economic prospects and security. This will require substantial policy changes on the ground by Israel. 

    The Middle East Quartet remains the principle international entity to support and encourage negotiations towards a comprehensive and just resolution of the conflict The Quartet envoys plan to travel to the region in the coming period to engage directly with the parties.

    Meanwhile, we continue to look to the Security Council for any additional guidance on developing a new peace architecture for resolving the conflict.

     

    Mr. President,

    Turning to the wider region, you were briefed yesterday on developments in Lebanon, including in Beirut. I will therefore not add anything on that issue.

    Let me say, however, the Syrian conflict for its part continues to take a devastating toll on the Syrian people and beyond and poses an even graver threat to international peace and security. For all of these reasons, the Secretary-General is greatly encouraged that in Vienna the international community has finally re-engaged in searching for a political settlement to the Syrian conflict based on the transition elements of the 2012 Geneva Communiqué. It is important that key international and regional players follow through on their commitments to actively insist on their Syrian allies to engage constructively in all of these areas. This is vital in order to give political backing, leverage and credibility to our efforts.

    Turning to the Golan, the situation remains volatile with clashes between the Syrian government forces and armed groups, shelling and occasional airstrikes continuing in the areas of separation and limitation, in particular in Ufaniyah, Jabbata Al Khashab and Al Baath in the central part of the area of separation. In the context of these clashes, fire from the Bravo side has impacted across the ceasefire line. On 13 October, the Israel Defence Forces notified UNDOF that they had retaliated to spill-over fire from the Bravo side by firing three missiles at Syrian armed forces positions in the area of limitation. UNDOF did not observe the alleged firing from the Bravo side. These events have the potential to escalate tensions between Israel and Syria, jeopardising the ceasefire between the two countries. Under these challenging circumstances, however, UNDOF continues to use its best efforts to carry out its mandate.

     

    Mr. President,

    In closing, let me say I refuse to be convinced that Israelis and Palestinians want to live “by the sword” and in a state of perpetual violence. We owe it to the people of this troubled land, who, despite endless setbacks and disappointments, have continued to maintain hope that negotiated peace can be realised.

    I can assure you that the Secretary-General remains steadfast in his support of any effort to restore the hope that a two-state solution can be achieved through negotiations.

    But the long road ahead requires leadership. Leadership that has been glaringly absent to date.

     

    Thank you.

  • 14 Nov 2015

    Meeting in Vienna on November 14, 2015 as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Arab League, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States to discuss how to accelerate an end to the Syrian conflict. The participants began with a moment of silence for the victims of the heinous terrorist attacks of November 13 in Paris and the recent attacks in Beirut, Iraq, Ankara, and Egypt. The members unanimously condemned in the strongest terms these brutal attacks against innocent civilians and stood with the people of France.

    Subsequently, the participants engaged in a constructive dialogue to build upon the progress made in the October 30 gathering. The members of the ISSG expressed a unanimous sense of urgency to end the suffering of the Syrian people, the physical destruction of Syria, the destabilization of the region, and the resulting increase in terrorists drawn to the fighting in Syria.

    The ISSG acknowledged the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, and that both initiatives should move ahead expeditiously. They stated their commitment to ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the Geneva Communique in its entirety. The group reached a common understanding on several key issues.

    The group agreed to support and work to implement a nationwide ceasefire in Syria to come into effect as soon as the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition have begun initial steps towards the transition under UN auspices on the basis of the Geneva Communique. The five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council pledged to support a UNSC resolution to empower a UN-endorsed ceasefire monitoring mission in those parts of the country where monitors would not come under threat of attacks from terrorists, and to support a political transition process in accordance with the Geneva Communique.

    All members of the ISSG also pledged as individual countries and supporters of various belligerents to take all possible steps to require adherence to the ceasefire by these groups or individuals they support, supply or influence. The ceasefire would not apply to offensive or defensive actions against Da’esh or Nusra or any other group the ISSG agrees to deem terrorist.

    The participants welcomed UN Secretary General Ban’s statement that he has ordered the UN to accelerate planning for supporting the implementation of a nationwide ceasefire. The group agreed that the UN should lead the effort, in consultation with interested parties, to determine the requirements and modalities of a ceasefire.

    The ISSG expressed willingness to take immediate steps to encourage confidence-building measures that would contribute to the viability of the political process and to pave the way for the nationwide ceasefire. In this context, and pursuant to clause 5 of the Vienna Communique, the ISSG discussed the need to take steps to ensure expeditious humanitarian access throughout the territory of Syria pursuant to UNSCR 2165 and called for the granting of the UN’s pending requests for humanitarian deliveries. The ISSG expressed concern for the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons and the imperative of building conditions for their safe return in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law and taking into account the interests of host countries. The resolution of the refugee issue is important to the final settlement of the Syrian conflict. The ISSG also reaffirmed the devastating effects of the use of indiscriminate weapons on the civilian population and humanitarian access, as stated in UNSCR 2139. The ISSG agreed to press the parties to end immediately any use of such indiscriminate weapons.

    The ISSG reaffirmed the importance of abiding by all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including UNSCR 2199 on stopping the illegal trade in oil, antiquities and hostages, from which terrorists benefit.

    Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, incorporated by reference in the Vienna statement of October 30, and in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, the ISSG agreed on the need to convene Syrian government and opposition representatives in formal negotiations under UN auspices, as soon as possible, with a target date of January 1. The group welcomed efforts, working with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and others, to bring together the broadest possible spectrum of the opposition, chosen by Syrians, who will decide their negotiating representatives and define their negotiating positions, so as to enable the political process to begin. All the parties to the political process should adhere to the guiding principles identified at the October 30 meeting, including a commitment to Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character; to ensuring that State institutions remain intact; and to protecting the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination. ISSG members agreed that these principles are fundamental.

    The ISSG members reaffirmed their support for the transition process contained in the 2012 Geneva Communique. In this respect they affirmed their support for a ceasefire as described above and for a Syrian-led process that will, within a target of six months, establish credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance, and set a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution. Free and fair elections would be held pursuant to the new constitution within 18 months. These elections must be administered under UN supervision to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.

    Regarding the fight against terrorism, and pursuant to clause 6 of the Vienna Communique, the ISSG reiterated that Da’esh, Nusra, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants and endorsed by the UN Security Council, must be defeated. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan agreed to help develop among intelligence and military community representatives a common understanding of groups and individuals for possible determination as terrorists, with a target of completion by the beginning of the political process under UN auspices.

    The participants expect to meet in approximately one month in order to review progress towards implementation of a ceasefire and the beginning of the political process.

  • 11 Nov 2015
    Thank you, Mr. President; esteemed members of the Security Council,
    Mr. President,
     
    September 2015 marked one year in office of the Government led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The Prime Minister continues to actively lead efforts to fulfil the Government’s programme and his reform agenda even as the scope and complexity of Iraq’s security, political, social, budgetary and humanitarian challenges increase. At the same time, the Prime Minister faces immense challenges to implement his planned reforms, primarily due to disagreements and political polarization among political forces. Last week, the Council of Representatives unanimously voted to bar the Government from passing key reforms that would infringe on the separation of powers between the three branches of Government and the Constitution. Since taking office, the Prime Minister has been struggling to exercise his authority while his opponents grew bolder. Meanwhile, the scope and impact of the reforms have not met public expectations.
     
    Despite hopes that he would be able to move national reconciliation forward and bring the broader Sunni community into the political process, the Prime Minister’s efforts have been obstructed by elements within all Iraqi components, the main reasons being lack of trust and vested interests.
     
    Yet, the majority of Iraqis believe that Prime Minister al-Abadi remains their best hope for a better, united less sectarian and prosperous Iraq, and they support him. The Prime Minister has so far retained sustained political backing from the highly influential Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani and the Marja’iya.
     
    I have stressed to the Prime Minister and other political forces the need for openness, partnership, inclusiveness and broad consultations in decision-making to work in unity and to promote effective governance. Progressing political confrontation is the last thing the country needs at this point of time.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    In the wake of the steep drop in global oil prices, Iraq’s fiscal crisis and growing budget deficit are of increasing concern and highlight the need for urgent economic reform in the country. I urge the Government, as well as its foreign partners, including international and regional financial institutions, to undertake urgent measures to address the pressing economic and budgetary challenges.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    UNAMI has continued its efforts to promote inclusive national reconciliation among the leaders of all Iraqi components and political groups, civil society and local communities, and neighbouring countries, in support and coordination with the Government of Iraq. UNAMI stands ready to assist all efforts to promote an inclusive reconciliation process that uphold respect for Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and constitutional order. There is a vital need to show political will, ownership and a commitment to historic compromise and national reconciliation, regardless of opposite views and political risk, to capitalize on signals from some Sunni leaders and groups outside of the political process that they are ready to join it. The Government, the Council of Representatives and the political forces should not lose sight of the need to proceed with the Government’s national reconciliation programme, including priority legislation; to promote a genuine, inclusive Iraqi political system based on equal rights for all Iraqis - and to counter sectarianism and ISIL’s radical ideology. Progress on the Syrian file towards a political solution would also have a critical positive impact on national reconciliation in Iraq.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The stabilization efforts led by the central and local authorities and supported by the UNDP Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization are progressing. The stabilization of Tikrit is a success as nearly its entire displaced population, some 155,000 people, returned home. Now, four governorates –Anbar, Diyala, Salah al-Din and Ninewa- have asked for additional assistance from the Funding Facility. The UN family in Iraq is ready to respond positively. As often, funding is the problem.
     
    In areas reclaimed from ISIL, the Government must continue to exert all its efforts to ensure that good governance and the rule of law are restored as quickly as possible. UNAMI is actively engaging with the respective authorities on this issue, as well as with the Popular Mobilization Forces’ leadership.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has long been a source of stability and development in Iraq. Deep disagreements between the major political parties of the region, however, threaten this.
     
    I have engaged Kurdish interlocutors extensively, encouraging them to swiftly reach a compromise solution based on an inclusive political dialogue and democratic principles to remain united for the critical task of fighting ISIL.
     
    Concerning Baghdad–Erbil relations, it is imperative that differences over the December 2014 oil and revenue-sharing agreement be quickly resolved through dialogue. UNAMI is ready to support this. Furthermore, the current impasse at the time of the 2016 budget discussions in the Council of Representatives hurts the relationship between the central Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, critical to Iraq’s stability and unity, the fight against ISIL, as well as to addressing the growing economic, budgetary and social challenges through reforms.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    During the reporting period, ISIL has been successfully pushed back. In Central Iraq, the Iraqi Security Forces, Popular Mobilization Forces and tribal volunteers have re-taken key areas, including Beiji, which is now under government control. The pro-Government forces have proven their ability to conduct military operations in several areas simultaneously. The Global Coalition to Counter ISIL has become more effective in supporting the Iraqi Security Forces and the Peshmerga, both in direct military activities and training and in providing supplies of materiel.
     
    In addition, the Government of Iraq has recently begun to cooperate with Russia, Iran and Syria in intelligence sharing through a coordination cell in Baghdad.
     
    Yet, ISIL continues to possess the funding and military capacities to prolong its reign of terror over large swathes of Iraq. Notwithstanding ISIL’s sophisticated and massive use of IEDs, suicide attacks and ability to conduct operations in complex urban environments, the Iraqi Security Forces continue to make slow progress, while at the same time doing their utmost to avoid civilian casualties.
     
    In addition, the reported use of chemical weapons by ISIL against the Peshmerga is currently under investigation. Representatives from the OPCW have recently visited Baghdad to discuss this matter with Iraqi officials.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    During his visit to Iraq last week, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, made a strong plea for strengthened mechanisms for the protection of minorities, stressing the need for accountability of crime perpetrators and the importance of national reconciliation at the community level. Protection of minorities remains one of the critical tasks of the UN family.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The humanitarian situation remains of the gravest concern. The scale of the crisis is outstripping our collective capacity to respond. With limited funding, the UN humanitarian community had to cut and reorganise its programmes in support of Iraqi IDPs. Since the vast majority of IDPs want to remain in Iraq, the best way to encourage this is to provide humanitarian support at the point of origin. They will be less inclined to flee the country and migrate to third countries, first of all in Europe.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Allow me now to turn to the eighth report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 4 of resolution 2107 (2013) on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives.
     
    In spite of all the instability plaguing the region, good relations, a positive atmosphere and closer dialogue and cooperation are prevalent in the relations between Iraq and Kuwait. Goodwill between the two countries was further evidenced when on 28 October, the payment of the remaining 4.6 billion USD in reparations owed to the Government of Kuwait was extended until 1 January 2017.
     
    While the challenging security and political situation in Iraq and the burden placed on state finances are fully recognized, the Government of Iraq is nonetheless expected to demonstrate complete commitment to this international obligation and exert efforts to move the file forward. The steps it has taken so far, and the results to date, are insufficient.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    I would like to touch upon the issue of the residents of Camp Hurriya and the need to alleviate Iraq of this burden. On 30 October, the Camp was again the target of a rocket attack that claimed the lives of 24 residents and wounded many others. The only solution guaranteeing the security of the residents is their speedy relocation to third countries. While strongly reminding the Government of Iraq of its obligation to ensure the safety of the residents, I equally strongly urge all countries to work together with the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor to consider hosting these residents in their territories or to use their influence in assisting in their relocation at the shortest possible time.
     
    I will also continue to remind the Council of our UN national staff member that was taken hostage earlier this year. I urged the Iraqi authorities to redouble efforts to secure his release. It has now been more than 6 months that we do not have any credible information about our colleague, nor a positive solution to this case.
     
     
    Mr. President; excellencies; members of the Council,
     
    UNAMI, in close consultation with the Iraqi authorities, has embarked on implementing the Secretary-General’s recommendations as outlined in his last report and endorsed through the adoption of our new mandate in July. The new mandate gives the Mission the flexibility it needs to respond to the evolving challenges in Iraq and enables UNAMI, together with the UNCT, to prioritize its activities. With the continued support of the Council, we will continue working hand-in-hand with the Government of Iraq, political forces and civil society to achieve results in all critical areas while increasingly mobilizing regional as well as international support and cooperation.
     
     
    Thank you.
  • 9 Nov 2015

    Mr. President, Members of the Council,

    Thank you for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on the situation in Burundi.

    One year ago, on 5 November 2014, the Security Council held its last discussion on the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) before it closed at the end of the year at the request of the Burundian Government.

    In the briefing given to the Council, the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Burundi, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, underlined our hope that the groundwork laid by Burundian authorities to preserve stability and consolidate democracy would not be reversed during the 2015 electoral cycle.

    Today, one year later, Burundi finds itself in a deep political crisis and rapid escalation of violence that has serious implications for stability and ethnic harmony in Burundi as well as peace and security in the region.  The political, economic, social, and security gains that came out of the landmark Arusha Accords are already at risk.

    The May 22 killing of Zedi Feruzi, a key opposition figure,  marked the beginning of a troubling pattern of politically-motivated assassinations and attacks.    Neither the conclusion of Burundi’s legislative and presidential electoral cycle this summer nor the inclusion of some key opposition figures in the governing coalition calmed the situation, which has instead grown more troubling. As the High Commissioner will further elaborate, the number of reported human rights violations and casualties are rising by the day and spreading beyond Bujumbura.

    In the capital, the situation is currently very tense. Several neighborhoods, especially those perceived to have opposed President Nkurunziza’s third term, experience nightly exchanges of gunshots and grenade explosions   Traumatized residents frequently discover mutilated bodies, victims of executions.

    Just this morning, at least two people were killed in a grenade attack in the Musaga neighborhood in Bujumbura.  On 7 November, at least nine people, including a United Nations staff member, were killed when unknown gunmen opened fire inside a bar in the Kanyosha neighborhood in Bujumbura. The bar was alleged to have been a previous meeting venue of anti-third mandate demonstrators.Saturday’s incident is the second time within a month that a staff member of the United Nations family in Burundi has been killed.  The High Commissioner will provide other examples of human rights violations and killings.

    In this very tense environment, inflammatory and chilling public statements from authorities have provoked concern and alarm in Burundi, the region, and beyond.   

    In a 29 October speech, the President of the Senate, Révérien Ndikuriyo, told local administrators to be ready and set their emotions aside if a signal is given to the police to [quote] “go to work,” which has been widely interpreted as implying a pre-planned operation. He also said that “plots of land are about to be available.”

    On 2 November, President Nkurunziza gave armed civilians five days to surrender their arms or face being “dealt with as enemies of the nation”.  The President said that the police have the right to use “all available means” to find illegally possessed arms.  While police forces do  have the right and responsibility to maintain law and order, many incidents described s crackdown activities appear to cross the line into extrajudiciary attacks, striking fear among the  residents of some neighborhoods.

    Consequently, we have received reports that the President’s ultimatum has prompted a large number of people living in affected neighborhoods to flee their homes, ahead of the deadline this past weekend.

    Many recent statements have also been interpreted as as having an ethnic dimension contrary to the spirit of the Arusha Accords that ended Burundi’s civil war.  The Secretary-General has strongly condemned such dangerous incitement. Mr. President, Members of the Council,

    The crisis in Burundi is political at its core and cannot be resolved by a security clampdown. It is not credible to claim that a small group of criminals or traitors are behind the current violence. The problem is much deeper and thus more worrying. 

    To address the deteriorating situation situation, Burundian leaders will need to address the political deadlock that preceded and transcended the summer elections.

    In this regard, the Government of Burundi has established a commission for inter-Burundian dialogue, said to be  open to all except those implicated in the failed coup d’état on 14 May.  

    While the UN in general supports national dialogue efforts,  this commission will not be able to make much progress  in the tense security context where members of political parties and civil society are frequently found dead on the streets.  With many media outlets closed down since spring and opposition leaders abroad afraid to return home, the government has not established the conditions for credible and inclusive political dialogue.  We encourage the Burundian authorities to do so as quickly as possible.     

    On 17 October, the African Union Peace and Security Council agreed on a multi-pronged approach to address the situation in Burundi.

    This included the expansion of its human rights observers and military experts and the initiation of contingency planning for the possible deployment of an African-led Mission in the country.

    The African Union Peace and Security Council also gave its strong support to the resumption of a political dialogue in Kampala or Addis, with the facilitation of Uganda.

    The United Nations is in close consultation with the African Union Commission on how to provide technical and logistical assistance and expertise to advance the implementation of the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council.

    We have also offered to provide support and assistance to the Ugandan-led Facilitation under the rubric of the East African Community.

    In the coming days, the Secretary-General will announce the appointment of a Special Adviser who will lead and coordinate UN efforts in support of Burundi. The Special Adviser will work closely with the AU, EAC and other partners to prevent further escalation of the conflict and build peace in Burundi.

     

    Mr. President, Members of the Council,

    The sharp deterioration of the political and security situation is happening at a time when MENUB’s mandate is ending. There is clearly a need for continuing political engagement and presence on the ground to support Burundi during these difficult times. But this requires a mandate from the Security Council and the cooperation of the Government of Burundi.

    Burundi finds itself at a critical juncture.  A political solution must be found to resolve the crisis before it spirals out of control and affects peace and security regionally.    

    We hope that that all international partners, particularly those in the region, speak with one voice in urging and supporting Burundi to find a political settlement to the crisis.

    The Secretary-General calls  on all Burundian parties, inside the country and abroad. to cease immediately the propagation of hate speech, renounce violence, and engage in good faith with the ongoing facilitation of the East African Community.

    The United Nations is prepared to do what we can do support a credible and inclusive dialogue that can address the deep political challenges the country currently faces.

    We must all work to ensure that it takes place and succeeds.

    I thank you for your attention. 

  • 6 Nov 2015

    Mr. Chairman,

    Excellencies,

    Distinguished delegates,

    I am pleased to introduce, on behalf of the Secretary-General, his latest report on “Overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions”, requested by General Assembly resolution 69/95.

    This is the third report of the Secretary-General on this agenda item, and we are very grateful for the attention the Fourth Committee has given to this issue over the last few years. I look forward to a productive exchange on how we can further strengthen our special political missions to effectively address the challenges we collectively face today.

    Allow me to thank Finland and Mexico for their important and active role as co-facilitators of this discussion, and for their work in this area.  

    Mr. Chairman,

    This is a timely occasion for a discussion of special political missions, and their central place in the Organization’s peace and security efforts.

    As the Secretary-General has repeatedly noted, we are currently at a crossroads. The global peace and security landscape has continued to deteriorate in 2015, with grim signs that instability will not abate.

    The number of major wars has tripled since 2008, a worrying trend after a long period of steady decline. We now face the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in decades, and humanitarian needs are setting new records by the day. Today, almost 90 percent of special political mission personnel are working in peace operations covering countries experiencing high-intensity conflict.

    If we are to truly fulfill this Organization’s founding purpose of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, a global effort must be urgently undertaken not only to respond to the proliferating number of crises, but to prevent them from emerging, or prevent a relapse into conflict.

     

    Excellencies,

    Special political missions are a crucial part of this effort. They remain at the forefront of the United Nations response to conflict, and have become indispensable instruments for conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacebuilding.

    In Libya, Yemen and Syria, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoys and Representatives continue to work tirelessly to lay out a path for a peaceful solution to conflicts that have ignited regional instability, sowed violent extremism, and caused unspeakable human suffering.

    In Somalia, our mission on the ground, working closely with the African Union mission, is supporting the Federal Government and the Somali people to capitalize on the country’s best chance for peace in a generation.

    And in West Africa, Central Africa and Central Asia, as well as the Sahel and the Great Lakes Region, our regional offices and envoys are working with Member States, regional organizations and civil society to enhance regional and sub-regional capacities for conflict prevention and to address transnational challenges such as water and energy scarcity, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.

     

    Distinguished delegates,

    Special political missions may vary significantly in terms of their mandates, size and structure. They are individually tailored to provide the best possible United Nations response to a specific situation. Flexibility is one of their greatest assets. But they have one common characteristic: the focus on preventing and resolving conflict.

    As such, special political missions embody Chapter VI of the Charter, focusing on the pursuit of negotiated solutions and the pacific settlement of disputes. They are deployed on the basis of national consent. And by relying on tools such as mediation and facilitation, they have demonstrated an ability to defuse tensions, to help countries step back from the brink of conflict, and to support national and regional efforts to build and sustain peace.

     

    Excellencies,

    As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, this year has presented us with a unique opportunity to review our work and take stock of the challenges faced by the Organization in the area of peace and security.

    Just over a year ago, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. We have now seen the Panel’s report, as well as the Secretary-General’s own response and implementation plan. I am grateful for the high-level consideration that the General Assembly and this Committee in particular, have given to these reports.

    The Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture has now entered its intergovernmental phase. And the recently-concluded high-level review of the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 has given new impetus to our efforts to promote the women, peace and security agenda.

    The report before this Committee reflects on some of the key themes addressed in these reviews that are pertinent for special political missions and for DPA’s mandate more broadly. Allow me to briefly highlight some of them.

    First, the reviews make a strong call for a renewed and urgent emphasis on conflict prevention and mediation. This is long overdue. To effectively address the multiplicity of threats we confront today, we must sharpen our focus, and make a real and sustained effort to stop crises before they escalate into violence.

    Over the last decade, we have put in place an innovative and effective set of mechanisms that have made a real difference in the United Nations ability to prevent conflict. This includes stronger partnerships with regional and sub-regional actors, closer cooperation with the wider United Nations family, including Country Teams, and creation of rapidly-deployable mediation expertise, supported by the Department of Political Affairs, to support peace processes. The Secretary-General’s recent report to the Security Council on conflict prevention addresses these mechanisms in detail.

    Special political missions are a central part of this toolbox, and one of our most important operational tools for prevention and mediation, and for the discharge of the Secretary-General’s good offices. The Reviews specifically highlighted the important role and longer-term presence of our regional offices as forward platforms for preventive diplomacy, which should be further enhanced.

    While conflict prevention has been mentioned as a priority for many decades, this is the time to transform our rhetorical commitments into concrete actions. Targeted and smart investments in these tools will be required. But sustained political support from Member States for conflict prevention will equally remain crucial, for prevention is first and foremost a responsibility of Member States.  We look forward to continuing this discussion with Member States, and to enact real change in the Organization’s ability to prevent conflict around the world.

    Second, strong partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations remain a critical aspect of the work carried out by special political missions, under the framework of Chapter VIII of the Charter. This is based on a shared understanding that the UN and regional organizations can have a multiplier effect by drawing on our respective strengths and comparative advantages.

    These partnerships are not abstract. They are a day-to-day reality in the work of all our missions. In West Africa, to mention just one example, Special Representative Chambas works side-by-side with the African Union and ECOWAS across the range of his engagements.

    The Secretary-General’s recent report on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in mediation contains a detailed analysis of our efforts in this area, including recommendations on how to make our cooperation even more effective. I am grateful for the continued work of the Group of Friends of Mediation in bringing this topic to the attention of the broader membership.

    Third, the role of special political missions in peacebuilding has been further recognized by the reviews. In three of the six countries on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission, special political missions are either deployed on the ground — in Burundi and Guinea-Bissau — or provide remote support — in Guinea. In Sierra Leone, the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office successfully concluded its mandate in 2014 following the significant progress achieved by the country in consolidating peace. And as many countries where United Nations operations are currently deployed continue their peace consolidation processes, we may expect that the role of special political missions in peacebuilding will continue to be relevant.

    The reviews recognize that peacebuilding is an inherently political process, and that transitions from conflict to peace are non-linear, complex and long-term processes. As such, they require sustained international support. Special political missions can be tailored to support national authorities and other local stakeholders to implement these agendas, including by helping mobilize international political attention and financial support.

    The reviews have also given increased momentum to the women, peace and security agenda, and resolution 2242 (2015) will further contribute to strengthening the Organization’s work in this area. I am particularly pleased to highlight some of the findings of the internal assessment carried out by DPA in the context of the review of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).

    This internal assessment showed that we have made steady progress in implementing the 15 commitments undertaken by DPA in this area. We have increased the number of women in UN-led or co-led mediation processes; we have mainstreamed gender into our policy documents and developed new trainings for staff, including senior management and envoys. The number of gender-related provisions in ceasefires and peace agreements facilitated by DPA has increased. All of the Secretary-General’s recent reports to the Security Council on special political missions have included references to issues related to women, peace and security.

    While the review has confirmed that we are on the right track, we remain deeply cognizant of the significant challenges that still lie ahead, and are committed to continue working on this agenda.

     

    Mr. Chairman,

    The report before this Committee also contains detailed information on various policy issues outlined in resolution 69/95, to which we know Member States attach great importance.

    The report outlines the significant efforts undertaken by the Secretariat in order to further improve transparency and accountability for special political missions. This is a key commitment of the Secretary-General, as well as the Department of Political Affairs. To achieve this, we have continued to carry out briefings to Member States, discussions with regional groups as well as individual Member States, consultations and cooperation with regional partners and regular interaction with the press and civil society at large. DPA remains at your disposal to brief you on the work of special political missions.

    The Secretary-General’s report on “The Future of UN Peace Operations” also outlines a number of proposals aimed at empowering the field and promoting more agile field support. These proposals are based on the need to align authority and accountability with responsibilities, and foresee the development of strong accountability frameworks. I am pleased that the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support has been able to join me today to address some of these issues.

    The report also addresses our efforts to enhance geographical representation and women’s participation in the context of special political missions. This will remain an important area of work for the Department, one in which we look forward to collaborating with Member States.

    The Secretariat is also committed to continue holding regular interactive dialogues with Member States on overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions. Our latest interactive dialogue, held in April, led to a productive discussion on the Review of Peace Operations. We look forward to working closely with the Bureau of the Fourth Committee to plan future interactive dialogues focusing on other policy issues.

     

    Mr. Chairman,

    In concluding, allow me to pay homage to the Special Representatives and Special Envoys of the Secretary-General, as well as United Nations staff who are serving in special political missions, often at great personal sacrifice, to promote peace and security.

    Thank you.

  • 23 Oct 2015

             تبحث شُعبة الأمم المتحدة للمساعدة الانتخابية باستمرار عن مرشحين يتمتعون بخبرات تتيح إدراجهم في قائمتها الانتخابية التي يقدِّم خبراؤها إلى الدول الأعضاء، بناءً على طلباتها، الدعم التقني في مختلف المجالات مثل النظم الانتخابية والتخطيط التشغيلي وقانون الانتخابات وتنظيمها وميزنتها وترسيم الحدود وتسجيل الناخبين والتثقيف المدني وتثقيف الناخبين وتطبيقات التكنولوجيا الحاسوبية والعلاقات بين المرشحين والأحزاب والمساعدة الإعلامية واللوجستيات وشراء المواد الانتخابية وتدريب موظفي الانتخابات وإجراءات التصويت وعدّ الأصوات وأمن الانتخابات والغش والبت في الطعون الانتخابية.

     

    ما هي القائمة؟

             القائمة الانتخابية الوحيدة للأمم المتحدة هي قائمة تضم أشخاصاً يستطيعون، بناءً على إشعار قصير المدة نسبياً، تقديم المساعدة التقنية المتخصصة إلى الحكومات وهيئات إدارات الانتخابات الوطنية. ويمكن تعيين هؤلاء الأشخاص كخبراء استشاريين أو موظفين تابعين للأمم المتحدة للمشاركة في بعثات انتخابية يتراوح طولها بين أسبوع واحد وعدة أشهر، وفقاً للمساعدة المطلوبة.

     

    مجالات الخبرة

             لكي يستوفي المرشَّح المؤهلات التي تتيح إدراجه في القائمة الانتخابية الوحيدة للأمم المتحدة، ينبغي أن تتوفر لديه خبرة سنوات في المجالات الانتخابية التقنية في بلدين مختلفين على الأقل. وتعتبر الخبرة المكتسبة من العمل كمراقب انتخابات خبرة ذات صلة ولكنها ليست خبرة في مجال المشورة الانتخابية.

             وتقوم شعبة المساعدة الانتخابية بإدارة وتعهّد القائمة الانتخابية الوحيدة للأمم المتحدة، وفقاً لقرار الجمعية العامة A/46/37 (الرابط الشبكي بالقرار).

     

    ما هي المساعدة الانتخابية وكيف يمكن لي أن اكتسب هذه الخبرة؟

             المساعدة الانتخابية هي تقديم الدعم التقني أو المشورة التقنية إلى هيئات إدارات الانتخابات الوطنية. وغالباً ما تشمل أنشطة المشورة والدعم هذه، على سبيل المثال لا الحصر المجالات التالية:

    التثقيف المدني وتثقيف الناخبين؛ -

    زيادة مشاركة المرأة و/أو الأقليات؛ -

    تدريب موظفي الانتخابات؛ -

    الإعلام مثل تقنيات نقل أخبار الحملات أو تغطية إعلان النتائج؛ -

    التخطيط التشغيلي واللوجستيات؛ -

    تسجيل الناخبين؛ -

    شراء المواد الانتخابية؛ -

    قانون الانتخابات و/أو البت في الطعون الانتخابية. -

     

    برنامج متطوّعي الأمم المتحدة

             تعمل شعبة المساعدة الانتخابية على نحو وثيق أيضاً مع برنامج متطوعي الأمم المتحدة من أجل اختيار موظفين لشغل الوظائف التطوعية الشاغرة في البعثات الانتخابية الميدانية. والأشخاص المسجّلون لدى برنامج متطوعي الأمم المتحدة مؤهلون لشغل طائفة من الوظائف التطوّعية في المشاريع والعمليات الانتخابية الميدانية. ووظائف برنامج متطوعي الأمم المتحدة تمثِّل طريقة جيدة للحصول على خبرة انتخابية مقارنة في مختلف البلدان وتؤهِّل للانضمام إلى القائمة الانتخابية.

     

    التقديم إلى القائمة

    هناك طريقتان للتقديم للقائمة الانتخابية الوحيدة للأمم المتحدة وذلك على النحو التالي:

             يشجّع المرشحون المرتقبون على تقديم طلبات لشغل الوظائف الشاغرة العامة التي يُعلن عنها مرة كل سنتين أو ثلاث سنوات على البوابة الوظيفية للأمم المتحدة (انسبيرا) في الموقع الشبكي careers.un.org. ويرجى مراجعة هذا الموقع الشبكي باستمرار للاطلاع على إعلان فتح باب عملية التوظيف.

             أما بالنسبة للخدمات الاستشارية، فيمكن للمرشحين المرتقبين إرسال السيرة الذاتية أو استمارة المعلومات الشخصية، التي يمكن الحصول عليها من نظام التوظيف الحاسوبي للأمم المتحدة، إلى العنوان التالي: electoralroster@un.org في أي وقت.

             وتشجّع بشدة المرشّحات، ولا سيما الناطقات منهن بالعربية أو الفرنسية على تقديم طلبات.

     

    الاستعداد لتقديم الطلب

             على كل متقدّم أن يبعث طلباً عن طريق استخدام نظام التوظيف الحاسوبي للأمم المتحدة (انسبيرا). والتطبيق (انسبيرا) هو موجز معلومات وظيفية حاسوبي موسّع تستخدمة الأمم المتحدة على وجه الخصوص، ويمكن لك أن تصف فيه بصورة تفصيلية تعليمك وكفاءتك وإنجازاتك وخبرتك المهنية. ويستخدم الطلب في تقييم مدى جدارتك بالوظيفة وملاءمتك لها. وهذه هي فرصتك لكي تدلي بدلوك بحيث توضح أنك أفضل مرشّح للوظيفة.

             أما رسالة الإحالة التي يتعيّن عليك تحريرها عندما تتقدّم لوظيفة في الأمم المتحدة فهي تعريف بشخصك يرفق بطلبك.

             وفي رسالة الإحالة يكون هدفك هو وصف مدى تطابق خبرتك ومؤهلاتك وقدراتك مع الوظيفة التي تتقدّم لشغلها. ويرجى اعتبار رسالة الإحالة التي تحررها فرصة لك لتبيان المزايا التي تمتاز بها عن بقية طلاب الوظيفة، وذلك عن طريق تسليط الضوء على ما تعتقد أنه يجعلك أفضل مَن يشغل الوظيفة.

    تعلّم طريقة إعداد استمارة طلب التوظيف ورسالة الإحالة. انقر على النص الوارد في السطر أدناه.

    Creating your Job Application / Profile

     

    الاستعداد للمقابلة الشخصية

             سوف توجّه إلى المرشّحين الناجحين دعوة للمشاركة في مقابلة شخصية أساسها تقييم الكفاءة. والمقابلات التي أساسها تقييم الكفاءة تعرف أيضاً باسم ”مقابلات تقييم السلوك “ و ”المقابلات المستندة إلى المعايير“. وتستند هذه المقابلات على المفهوم القائل بأن السلوك السابق والخبرة السابقة هما أفضل مؤشر يدل على الأداء في المستقبل. وبعبارة أخرى، فإن تاريخك يتحدّث عنك: مواهبك ومهاراتك وقدراتك ومعرفتك وخبرتك الفعلية بمعالجة طائفة من الحالات.

    ويمكن أن تكون الأسئلة التي توجّه في المقابلة الشخصية لتقييم الكفاءة شبيهة بما يلي:

    حدّثنا عن حالة تجاوز أداؤك فيها توقُّعات مديرك.

    اعطنا مثالاً لحالة استخدمت فيها قدراتك على حل المشاكل في إيجاد حل لمسألة ما؟

    اخبرنا عن حالة طُلِبت فيها منك عدة طلبات في آن معاً وكيف تصرفت أنت فيها؟

    تعرَّف على ما يمكن توقُّعه في المقابلة الشخصية لتقييم كفاءتك. انقر على النص الوارد في السطر أدناه:

    Competency - based Interviewing for Applicants.

  • 23 Oct 2015

    La Division de l'assistance électorale de l’Organisation des Nations Unies est constamment à la recherche de candidats expérimentés pour étoffer sa liste d'experts électoraux; ceux-ci apportent aux États Membres qui en font la demande une assistance technique dans divers domaines, tels que les systèmes électoraux, la planification des opérations, la loi électorale, l'organisation et la budgétisation des élections, la délimitation des frontières, l'inscription des électeurs, l'instruction civique et l’éducation des électeurs, les applications de l’informatique, les relations entre candidats et partis, l'assistance dans le domaine des médias, la logistique, l'achat de matériel électoral, la formation des responsables électoraux, les procédures de vote et de dépouillement des bulletins, la sécurité des élections, la fraude électorale et le règlement des différends électoraux.

     

    Qu'est-ce que la liste d’experts électoraux?

    La liste d’experts électoraux des Nations Unies comprend les noms des personnes qui peuvent apporter rapidement une assistance technique spécialisée aux gouvernements et aux instances nationales de gestion des élections. Ces personnes, recrutées à titre de consultants ou fonctionnaires des Nations Unies, participent à des missions électorales d’une durée d’une semaine à plusieurs mois selon l'assistance demandée.

     

    Domaines de compétence 

    Pour pouvoir figurer sur la liste d’experts électoraux, les candidats doivent posséder plusieurs années d’expérience dans des domaines techniques et avoir été affectés dans au moins deux pays différents. Ceux qui ont été observateurs électoraux sont considérés comme répondant aux conditions requises mais ne sont pas habilités à mener des activités consultatives.

    La liste d’experts électoraux est gérée et tenue à jour par la Division de l'assistance électorale conformément à la résolution A/46/137 de l’Assemblée générale (lien vers la résolution).

     

    Qu’est-ce que l’assistance électorale et comment puis-je obtenir l’expérience requise?

    L’assistance électorale consiste à fournir un appui ou des conseils techniques aux instances nationales de gestion des élections. Ces activités d’appui ou consultatives sont souvent menées dans les domaines suivants, cette liste n’étant pas exhaustive:

    • L’instruction civique et l’éducation des électeurs;
    • Le renforcement de la participation des femmes et/ou des minorités;
    • La formation des responsables électoraux;
    • Les médias, tels que les techniques de reportage sur les campagnes ou de couverture de l’annonce des résultats;
    • La planification des opérations et la logistique;
    • L’inscription des électeurs;
    • L’achat de matériel électoral;
    • La loi électorale et/ou le règlement des différends électoraux.

     

    Volontaires des Nations Unies (VNU)

    La Division de l'assistance électorale coopère aussi étroitement avec le programme des Volontaires des Nations Unies pour sélectionner les candidats aux postes de volontaires dans les missions électorales. Les personnes inscrites au programme des VNU peuvent postuler à divers postes dans le cadre d’opérations ou de projets électoraux. Les postes de Volontaires permettent d’acquérir une expérience électorale dans différents pays, ce qui leur donne le droit de figurer sur la liste d’experts électoraux.

     

    Inscription sur la liste d’experts électoraux

    Il y a deux manières de figurer sur la liste d’experts électoraux.

    1. Les candidats éventuels sont encouragés à postuler aux postes vacants génériques qui sont publiés tous les 2 à 3 ans sur Inspira, le portail de Nations Unies Carrières, à l’adresse careers.un.org. Consultez ce site régulièrement pour connaître les dates de recrutement.
    2. Pour les postes de consultants, les candidats éventuels peuvent à tout moment soumettre leur curriculum vitae ou leur notice personnelle du système de recrutement en ligne des Nations Unies à l’adresse electoralroster@un.org.

    Les candidatures des femmes, arabophones et francophones notamment, sont fortement encouragées.

     

    Préparation de la candidature

    Chaque candidat doit soumettre un formulaire de candidature en utilisant Inspira, le système de recrutement en ligne des Nations Unies.

    Le dossier de candidature inspira est un curriculum vitæ détaillé en ligne, spécialement conçu pour l’ONU où vous indiquez quelles sont vos études, vos compétences, votre expérience et vos réalisations professionnelles. Ce document sert à juger si votre candidature remplit les conditions générales et mérite d’être examinée pour pourvoir un poste. C’est l’occasion de parler de vous de manière qu’il ne fasse pas de doute que vous êtes le meilleur candidat au poste auquel vous postulez.

    La lettre de couverture, indispensable pour poser sa candidature à un poste à l’ONU, sert d’introduction à votre dossier de candidature, auquel elle apporte une note personnelle. Votre objectif est d’exposer en quoi votre expérience, vos qualifications et vos compétences correspondent au poste que vous briguez. Voyez-y l’occasion de vous distinguer des autres candidats en mettant en relief ce qui fait de vous le meilleur candidat pour le poste.

    Comment préparer votre profil et votre lettre de motivation. Cliquez ci-après:

     

    Préparation pour l'entretien

    Les candidats retenus seront invités à participer à un entretien d’appréciation des compétences. Pour recruter les meilleurs talents, nous avons recours à un entretien d’appréciation des compétences, appelé également « entretien centré sur les comportements » ou encore « entretien fondé sur des critères ». L’idée est que la manière dont vous avez réagi en situation donne les meilleures indications sur votre comportement professionnel futur. Votre vécu révèle vos talents, vos compétences, vos aptitudes, votre savoir, mais aussi votre façon de gérer concrètement différentes situations.

    Exemples de questions posées lors d’un entretien d’appréciation des compétences:

    • Décrivez une situation où vous avez dépassé les attentes de votre supérieur hiérarchique.
    • Donnez un exemple de situation où vous avez utilisé vos capacités de réflexion pour résoudre un problème.
    • Décrivez une situation où on vous a demandé plusieurs choses en même temps. Comment avez-vous géré la situation?

    Sachez à quoi vous attendre lors de l’entretien d’appréciation des compétences. Cliquez ci-après: Entretien d’appréciation des compétences: conseils aux candidats.

  • 23 Oct 2015

    Mr. President.

    Thank you for this opportunity to brief the Council on the latest developments in Yemen.

    Yemen is ablaze and the Yemeni population is in a catastrophic situation. The country is bleeding and its cities collapsing. Yemen’s citizens are deprived of the most basic rights and trapped amidst political dispute and war without restraint.

    In my very first briefing to this Council, I informed you of the Secretary-General’s plan to convene peace talks between the parties to the conflict in Geneva. Those talks, while producing valuable ideas for the future, failed to produce the relief from violence desperately need by the people of Yemen. The parties even failed to meet face to face. Those first attempted talks took place nearly 5 months ago.

    Just last month I informed the Council of my intention to convene consultations in the coming weeks. Again these talks were cancelled as new pre-conditions were set. These missed opportunities weigh heavily on the well-being of the people of Yemen, their future and the future of their country. They have left the Yemeni people to face an increasing spiral of violence and misery.

    As I have reported previously, extremist groups are rapidly taking advantage of the conflict and the disorder it spawns. Many in the international community saw the return of the government to Aden in as a sign of hope for the future. With the legitimate government back in place, we hoped that the people in these areas would see a return of tranquility and a restoration of essential services.

    Tragically, the government headquarters in Aden were attacked on October 6 by Daesh. Many civilian employees lost their lives and other leaders were injured. The government has again been forced to evacuate until more secure premises can be arranged. Last month suicide bombers again targeted a mosque in Sanaa leading to the death of numerous people who had gathered for prayers for Eid al-Adha. The bombings of mosques in Yemen, a country famed for its tolerance, has become a common occurrence. The longer the war continues, the more extremist groups will expand their presence taking advantage of the chaos of the war and the enhanced availability of weapons.

    The fate of Yemenis is no better than the fate of their country. Civilians continue to face a deteriorating humanitarian situation and suffer the consequences of blatant disregard for the laws of war. Is this what the Yemeni people deserve?

    The last OCHA report indicates that there are over 21 million people in need of humanitarian response – 80 per cent of the population. Some 20 million lack access to safe drinking water.  The number of severely malnourished children exceeds 500,000.

    Twice in the last months wedding parties were attacked leading to over a 100 civilian deaths. Civilian areas of Taiz and other cities have been subjected to indiscriminate shelling. Taiz, the city that was considered Yemen’s cultural capital, is facing an extreme crisis. Taiz became a battlefront. People are struggling to survive.

    Humanitarian aid, which is supposed to flow freely, is being stopped from reaching the people of Taiz, leading to grave shortages of medicines and other supplies. Obstruction to the flow of fuel into the city has left many parts of the city without drinking water, further placing the population at risk of disease.

    The obstruction of commercial shipping continues to undermine the lives and livelihoods of Yemenis. Fuel which is critical for transport, the functioning of hospital and for the pumping of water in many areas of Yemen is still not reaching the country in sufficient quantities. According to the same OCHA report, only 1% of Yemen’s normal monthly fuel requirements were allowed into September. Recently several fuel tankers were allowed to enter Hodeida which I hope we alleviate the devastating fuel shortages.

    We salute the humanitarian workers who have strived to alleviate suffering and help Yemenis survive this crisis. They are working under extremely difficult conditions and some have even lost their. I want to express my deep gratitude for their efforts.

     

    Mr. President

    Despite the misery of the situation I also have share with you some factors which still inspire hope for the future of Yemen. I recently attended a gathering of Yemeni women organized by UNWomen in Larnaca in collaboration with my office and the UN Resident Coordinator in Yemen. The conference brought together women from all parts of the country and from across Yemen’s broad political spectrum.

    While the women differed in the views of the origins of the current crisis, they came together in demanding that these political differences be addressed in peaceful dialogue. They called for urgent measures to improve the humanitarian situation, to lift all obstructions to humanitarian access and the flow of commercial goods into Yemen and within its borders, and to protect all civilians from all forms of violence. They appealed for to the parties to the conflict to return to the negotiating table and resume the peace process.

    I was very inspired by their ability to work together despite their different views. The women in Larnaca agreed to form a Women’s Pact for Peace and Security. I plan to work with this group and other women’s and civil society groups to ensure that their voices can help bring the country out of its current crisis and back to a peace political dialogue.

     

    Mr. President.

    When I last briefed the Council I informed you that we were close to agreement on convening consultations between the Government of Yemen and its opponents. These consultations were unfortunately delayed as the Government sought a clearer acceptance by their opponents of UNSC 2216 (2015).

    I have kept in touch regularly with the leaders of the Houthis and the GPC and encouraged them consistently to accept UNSC Resolution 2216 as the basis for a negotiated way out of the crisis. The Houthis and the GPC leadership have now clearly stated that they are committed to implementing UNSC Resolution 2216, including a negotiated withdrawal from Yemen’s key cities and a surrender of all heavy weapons to the state.

    I have recently returned from another tour of the region during which I was able to update the Government of Yemen in Riyadh and the leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the developments in the country and on my discussions with the Houthis. I also held similar discussions on the margins of the General Assembly with the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dr. Abdullatif Zayani, and the Foreign Ministers of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the State of Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman. I held similar consultations in Russia with senior government officials working on the Middle East, including Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Leonidovich Bogdanov, who were all very supportive of our efforts to reach a peaceful political solution to the conflict.

    I am very grateful for the support for my efforts in the region. I have worked closely with Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Dr. Zayani in the last weeks in order to reassure the Government of Yemen of urgent need for talks.

    Based on my consultations in the region and with the Yemeni stakeholders, the Secretary General informed President Hadi of the Houthis’ acceptance of UNSC Resolution 2216 in their discussions with me and in their official correspondence. On this basis, the Secretary General encouraged him to accept to send a delegation to UN sponsored talks.

    I am pleased to report to you that President Hadi informed the Secretary General, in a letter from 19 October, of his intention to send a delegation to participate in peace talks in order to negotiate an end to the present conflict based on the framework provided by UNSC Resolution 2216. I will start working immediately with the Government of Yemen, the Houthis and other stakeholders to agree on the agenda, date and format for these talks.

    I hope that these first face to face talks will chart a course towards a rapid end to the fighting, the resumption of political dialogue, and Yemen’s return to an orderly and peaceful political transition.

    The negotiations I have proposed are firmly based on UNSC Resolution 2216 and will seek to find a negotiated way forward in each of resolution’s key components including the withdrawal of militias from key cities, the release of prisoners, the return of heavy weapons seized from the army, improvements in the humanitarian situation and the resumption of inclusive political dialogue. They are clearly defined to ensure that they lead the country back to the GCC Initiative and the Outcomes of the National Dialogue.

    I have no doubt that these talks will help us start a new phase that will mark the new history of Yemen and I believe will bring hope to Yemenis who have been suffering the effects of this conflict. They know, as the Secretary General has stated many times, that there is no military solution to this conflict and that only peace talks will pave a road to a better future.

    But this first sign of hope will need to be nurtured and protected. The positions of the different sides to this conflict remain very divergent. Your support and encouragements will be necessary so that the sides to the conflict enter these talks in good faith and motivated by a sincere desire to see an end to the conflict.

    Last but not least I want to leave you with few words of hope, gratitude and faith. I hope that I will be able to soon report to this Council on the outcomes of the upcoming Yemen-Yemeni consultations. I am grateful for your ongoing cooperation and the support of the region and the international community. I have faith that the Yemenis will in the end unite behind common vision for the country which reflects their aspirations. I hope they will soon turn the sad page of the war to look towards brighter future endowed with pride and hope. 

     

     

    See Arabic version

     

  • 16 Oct 2015

    Mr. President,

    Thank you for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on the current situation in the Middle East which unfortunately remains extremely concerning.

    Today we witnessed yet another example of the escalating violence when a large group of Palestinians set fire to the compound containing the holy site of Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus. Fortunately there were no reported injuries but the site sustained major damage.

    As with the many deadly incidents over these past weeks, the Secretary- General strongly condemns this reprehensible act and calls on those responsible to be swiftly brought to justice. The United Nations welcomes President Abbas’ condemnation of the arson attack and his announcement that a committee has been established to conduct a full investigation into the crime.

    This incident represents a particularly troubling development in light of its religious dimension.  We call on all sides to respect the sanctity of all holy sites and reject the extremist elements that are pursuing a political agenda seeking to transform the current situation from a national to a religious struggle. If they are successful in their efforts it could have catastrophic consequence for Palestinians and Israelis alike, with serious reverberations in the region

     

    Mr. President,

    This latest incident comes on the heels of a deadly week in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. There were 11 reported attacks against Israelis and Israeli security forces leaving four Israelis and nine Palestinians dead and 16 Israelis and four Palestinians wounded. There were also three reported stabbing and ramming attacks on Israelis in Israel, leaving 10 Israelis injured and three Palestinian suspects wounded.

    In Gaza, a seventh Palestinian succumbed to his wounds on 10 October after clashing with the IDF near the security barrier the previous day. On 11 October, a Palestinian woman and her 4-year-old child in Gaza died after Israeli airstrikes on Hamas sites caused a building to collapse. The airstrikes were in response to rocket fire on southern Israel the day before,  on 10 October.

    Palestinian militants fired at least eight rockets toward Israel during the past week alone, with most falling short and landing within Gaza territory, and one being intercepted by Iron Dome.  Another rocket was test fired at the sea, to which the IDF responded with warning shots, injuring one Palestinian.

    As of yesterday, a total of seven Israelis and 32 Palestinians (including those that conducted or allegedly conducted/attempted attacks) were killed, some 124 Israelis (including ISF personnel) and more than 1,118 Palestinians were reportedly injured since October 1st.

    Since these latest attacks, Israel’s security cabinet has passed a broad range of new security measures which are already being implemented. The Israeli Defense Forces have significantly bolstered their presence in Israeli city centers, while many Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem have been surrounded by security forces with access roads blocked and checkpoints established.

    Following the deterioration that began on 1 October, the Israeli authorities have also reinstated a number of movement restrictions in the West Bank, in particular, re-staffing 16 checkpoints that had been previously left unstaffed. Ad-hoc checkpoints have been erected at over 100 West Bank sites for varying periods of time.

    Additional measures are being introduced with the goal of deterring would-be terrorists from carrying out attacks. Homes of those accused of carrying out terror attacks will be demolished within days of any attack and their families, if residents of East Jerusalem and not Israeli citizens, will have their permanent residency status revoked. Already this month, two structures were blown up and a third partially sealed, however, these were related to attacks that took place in 2014. A total of 30 Palestinians, including 20 children, were displaced as a result of the demolitions.

    The United Nations has maintained a consistent position on these issues. Collective punishments, including house demolitions, are counter-productive and contravene international law. We urge Israel to immediately cease this damaging practice.

    What is clear is that the current crisis cannot be resolved through security measures alone.  The persistence of the occupation and the diminishing prospects of achieving Palestinian aspirations for statehood have transformed long-simmering Palestinian anger into outright rage. This stark reality has been compounded by the increasingly dire economic circumstances, including the bleak prospects for youth employment. The continued and expanding settlement activities further diminish the hope and the potential for creating a viable Palestinian state. Such loss of political perspective is the single most damaging factor which contributes to the anger and frustration driving the violence we are seeing today.

    Against this backdrop, there have been a number of factors that sparked the current crisis:

    Tensions at the holy sites in Jerusalem were the main instigator. Reckless statements by Palestinian and Israeli extremist elements, reinforced by some mainstream voices as well, have instigated that Israel is aiming to change the status quo at the holy sites. This fear has reverberated widely across the Muslim world.

    Prime Minister Netanyahu’s repeated assurances that Israel has no intention of changing the historic status quo at the holy sites are welcome. But perceptions will only  change when concrete actions, based on the agreements between Israel and Jordan, follow the words.

    A second factor feeding the escalation has been the apparent heavy-handed approach by Israeli security services. Wide dissemination of video footage of several incidents fueled more attacks and has raised serious questions as to the appropriate level of force used by the IDF and police. The Secretary-General has called for a thorough investigation of all such cases. It is clear that such incidents serve only to exacerbate the situation, leading to a vicious cycle of needless bloodshed.  We appreciate Israeli efforts to reduce the lethality of response, particularly, in Gaza after the indefensible killings of protesters behind the separation fence and we encourage greater restraint whenever there is no imminent threat to life or serious injury.

    Finally, we have seen that the impact of social media and irresponsible rhetoric has played a dramatic role in escalation. On this count, both sides have much to be blamed for, but we welcome efforts by leaders in the past days to tone down their statements. We call on community, religious and political leaders, on all sides, to calm the language they use and to work together to de-escalate the situation. 

     

  • 17 Sep 2015
    Mr. President, members of the Council,
     
    When I last briefed you, I observed that Afghanistan continues to need the support of the international community, as well as the sustained attention of this Council as it faces down its difficult economic, security and political challenges. I remain firmly of that view. Afghanistan’s path to stability and self-reliance cannot be taken for granted.
     
    The current refugee exodus reflects the despondency of many Afghans. Afghans have clear memories of their recent but violent past, face an opaque future and now keenly monitor their environment for signs of international disengagement or, hopefully, of domestic stabilisation. A clear signal of continued international support will mitigate the uncertainty fuelling this exodus.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Shortly after my last briefing, many points of friction emerged within the National Unity Government, and between the National Unity Government and elements of the political elite, driven, inter alia, by deteriorating security and economic conditions. Although neither of these were of the Government’s making, charges of inaction and miscalculation surfaced in the media.
     
    Since then, there have been a number of positive developments, including signs of progress in the functioning of the National Unity Government. With a few exceptions, all senior level national posts have now been filled and both the Council of Ministers and Cabinet are active. I continue to encourage President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to finalize the appointments process, particularly those of governors, Minister of Defence and Attorney General.
     
    The Government has also made progress in addressing the issue of electoral reforms by establishing the Special Electoral Reform Commission, one of its key commitments. The Commission, of which one of my deputies is a non-voting member, has already tabled its first set of recommendations. Cabinet has proactively endorsed seven and returned three for further study. The recommendation to change the electoral system will have, in particular, far-reaching consequences for the country’s future political landscape. I therefore encourage the Government to build a consensus around this issue before it makes its final decision.  Electoral reforms are critical for the development of the country’s democratic foundation and they should be a source of stability, bringing people together, not dividing them.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    A Senior Official’s Meeting of the TMAF process was held in Kabul in early September. It was judged by participants to be a success. It proved to be an important element of the bridge between past donor commitments, and future pledges to meet Afghanistan’s need for on-going support. The SOM, as we call it, during which a new mutual accountability framework was approved, provided an opportunity for the whole-of-government to establish its commitment to a credible reform agenda. This is necessary to give confidence to donors ahead of critical meetings in Warsaw and Brussels in 2016 at which donor commitments are expected to be renewed. It should however be noted that decisions to commit funds to Afghanistan beyond 2017 will be made, not at these conferences in 2016, but in capitals in the very coming months. Before then, the Government will need to deliver on its agreed performance indicators, and most notably indicators that demonstrate that corruption is being effectively tackled.
     
    Afghanistan has benefited from exceptional levels of development assistance, even as global demands on aid budgets have multiplied. Participants at the SOM agreed on their mutual responsibility to ensure that this aid is more effectively targeted and delivered.
     
    At the sixth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), held the day before the Senior Official’s Meeting, the region affirmed the need for greater economic cooperation, integration and connectivity.  The logic that informs this recognition, that economic growth and stability in Afghanistan benefits the entire region, was universally acknowledged. As was the recognition that the problems of the region, such as trans-boundary traffic in narcotics and people, cannot be resolved by one country alone.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The conflict continues to take a horrid toll on Afghan civilians. In the first eight months of 2015, UNAMA documented the highest level of civilian casualties since it began records. The monitoring of civilian casualties by UNAMA’s Human Rights Unit, it should be noted, has been recognized as a model of best practice both within and outside the United Nations. I say this because its findings, notably on responsibility for violence, have been contested by parties to the conflict.
     
    Anti-Government elements continue to cause the majority of civilian deaths and injuries although casualties caused by Afghan security forces continue to rise. UNAMA is encouraged by recent statements made by President Ashraf Ghani to take official steps to reduce civilian casualties. We trust that the Government’s civilian casualty mitigation policy will incorporate all of the elements set out in UNAMA’s Mid-Year Report on the Protection of Civilians, in particular in relation to the transparent investigation of civilian casualty incidents. UNAMA stands ready to assist the Government of Afghanistan in this regard.
     
    UNAMA also continues its dialogue with all parties to the conflict in order to reduce the toll of the conflict on civilians, increase protection and respect for basic human rights, and ensure humanitarian access to all parts of the country.
     
    The Mission also encourages the Government to continue its efforts to implement the national plan on the elimination of torture, and in particular urges the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment. It welcomes the stated intention of the Government to take the first steps, at this session of the United Nations General Assembly, to this end.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    This year’s conflict has been one of the most intense faced by the Afghan National Security Forces. However, while they are, once again, proving their mettle and resilience, as a number of analysts have observed, insurgents have demonstrated a capacity to mass large numbers of fighters in isolated areas. This has challenged the ANSF’s ability to maintain the ground that they occupy or hold on to it once they have retaken contested sites. As predicated in earlier briefings, we anticipate the intensification of the violence in the country to continue through 2015.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    This underscores the importance of renewing a viable peace process.
     
    As noted by the Secretary-General in his report, the real progress in launching such a process was suggested by formal talks between the Taliban and a government delegation in Murree in July. However, it appears that peace talks are on hold, firstly as a result of an internal succession dispute within the Taliban following the unexpected announcement of Mullah Omar’s death. Secondly, as a result of a hiatus in Pakistan and Afghanistan’s collaboration to create an inclusive Afghan-led peace process. A series of bombing in Kabul in early August precipitated a spike in anti-Pakistan sentiment and a hardening of rhetoric from the Afghan Government, including the President. The President complained that the hand he had extended to Pakistan in respect of mutual assistance in dealing with terrorism in both territories had not been reciprocated. He called on Pakistan to curtail the insurgency, notably that of the Haqqani network operating from Pakistan territory. After an exchange of high-level visits, including that by Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz, the level of accusation and counter-accusation has diminished and undertakings have been exchanged to renew constructive collaboration towards the ultimate objective of a stable Afghanistan.
     
    I reiterate my call for direct engagement between the Taliban and the Government. A war-weary Afghan population is clamouring for peace and they deserve it. The threats faced by Afghanistan do not all emanate from its own territory. Many of the insurgents originate from neighbouring countries.  It is entitled to call for international support, particularly from the region, in dealing with them. It is the responsibility of the leaders of the region and other stakeholders to prioritize support for a peaceful and secure Afghanistan. In this regard, UNAMA calls on all neighbours to play a constructive role in suppressing the threat of terrorism, including but not limited to ISIL, and in promoting an inter-Afghan peace process.
     
    UNAMA will continue to engage, in the background, with the Government, the Taliban, neighbouring countries, and the international community to promote a process that will allow Afghans to find an arrangement by which they can live in peace. UNAMA, in regards to an inclusive peace process, welcomes the recent launch of Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security which will promote the participation of women in any national reconciliation process.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    As requested by this Council, UNAMA, on behalf of the Secretary-General, and in full consultation with the Government of Afghanistan and donors has conducted an examination of the role, structure and activities of all United Nations entities in Afghanistan. Discussion clarified the needs and expectations of Afghanistan. It allowed the United Nations to examine how it could best align its projects with Afghanistan’s priorities, and focus on institutional strengthening and capacity building. It is our hope that the report will be useful to the Council in its future mandate deliberations.
     
    I conclude by expressing my appreciation to Ambassador Tanin for whom this is the last Council debate as Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. I have appreciated his advocacy for his country and constructive engagement.
  • 15 Sep 2015
    Mr. President,
    Let me begin by wishing our Jewish colleagues and their families a “Shanah Tovah” on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah. I would also like to wish all Muslims celebrating Eid al-Adha next week “Eid Adha Mubarak”.
     
     
    Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
    I begin my briefing today with grave concern over the violence and continuing clashes in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.
     
    On the morning of September 13th, the Israeli Police entered the area outside the al-Aqsa Mosque in what they said was an operation to head off attempts by extremists to disrupt visits by Jews and non-Muslim tourists. As Palestinian youth sought to barricade themselves in the Mosque, clashes ensued. According to an official statement by the Israeli Police, pipe bombs, flares and stones had been stockpiled by the protestors. The Muslim Waqf reported that during this period their guards, for the first time, were not allowed in the compound and three of their staff had been injured. At least 60 have been injured in related fighting.
     
    This pattern of clashes — with varying intensity — has continued for three days in the Al-Aqsa Compound/Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. It comes after sweeping restrictions on entry into the compound which Israel applied beginning on 26 August. Since then, the Government has decreed an entry ban on members of Muslim and Jewish groups considered to be extremist.
     
     
    Mr. President,
    These latest incidents have echoed widely and have been condemned across the Muslim world and beyond, including by Palestinian President Abbas. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that his Government will use all means to maintain the status quo and law and order at the compound.
    As the Middle East faces a vicious tide of terror and extremism, such serious provocations have the potential to ignite violence well beyond the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. I urge all political, community and religious leaders to ensure that visitors and worshippers demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area.
     
    All sides have a responsibility to refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric.
     
    It is imperative that the historic status quo is preserved, in line with the agreements between Israel and His Majesty the King of Jordan, as Custodian of the Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem.
     
     
    Mr. President,
    Against this backdrop the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has left an indelible scar on the people and landscape of the region. Frustration, fear and violence have continued to spiral, undermining belief in finding a way out of the impasse.
     
    Over the last three months the Middle East Quartet Envoys have actively consulted with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the League of Arab States, the GCC and key international partners on how to preserve the two-state solution and establish conditions for the parties to return to meaningful negotiations. All of our discussions have highlighted the region’s determination to play a constructive role in resolving the conflict. But the message from all could not be more clear: patience is running out.
     
    A comprehensive approach must be advocated, consisting of bold, concrete actions on the ground, in the region and internationally. It will necessitate significant policy shifts by Israel as well as an unflinching commitment on the Palestinian side to achieving genuine national unity.
     
    I am encouraged by the efforts of Israel in recent months to ease some restrictions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza. I call on the Government to expand upon them in order to address humanitarian, economic and infrastructural challenges, particularly in Area C of the West Bank. Progress in these areas, based on previously agreed steps, will significantly increase economic opportunities and strengthen security both for Israelis and Palestinians alike. 
     
    Such initiatives must be part of a wider political process aimed at facilitating, not substituting for, a final status agreement.
     
    The Palestinian people also rightly expect their leaders to act decisively to advance national unity. I note the decision of the leadership to consult over the next three months with all factions and concerned Arab states on holding a meeting of the Palestinian National Council for the first time in almost two decades. The Secretary-General encourages all factions to seize this opportunity to take constructive steps to achieve  unity on the basis of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) principles and to strengthen the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
     
     
    Mr. President,
    Regional and international constructive engagement is also key. I encourage Israel to recognise the potential of the Arab Peace Initiative not just for sustainable peace and economic development, but also for creating a shared security architecture in a region that is in turmoil.
     
    At the international level, the Secretary-General will chair a meeting of the Quartet on 30 September in order to discuss how to link regional and international efforts to create conditions on the ground for a return to meaningful negotiations.
     
     
    Mr. President,
    Even as efforts intensify to return to an atmosphere conducive to talks, the situation on the ground remains precarious.
     
    This past month, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank continued, injuring one Palestinian and four Israelis. 115 Palestinians were injured by the IDF while six members of the Israeli security forces were injured by Palestinians. In the West Bank Israeli security forces have arrested 282 Palestinians. On 13 September, one Israeli died and two were slightly injured in a car accident in Jerusalem, which may have been caused by a rock-throwing incident.
     
    Also deeply troubling is the continuing Israeli policy of settlement construction and demolition of Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. I call upon Israel to freeze demolitions, to reverse ‘relocation’ plans and – critically – to expedite approval of outstanding planning submissions and enable community-led planning processes to move forward. Since my last briefing, some 50 Palestinian structures have been demolished. I am alarmed that the calendar month of August saw the highest number of demolitions since June 2010, with 142 Palestinian owned structures demolished and over 200 Palestinians displaced.
     
     
    Mr. President,
    Turning to Gaza, let me begin by reminding the Council the situation there remains precarious and there is growing discontent among the population. With power outages averaging 12 to 16 hours per day, and with 40,000 public sector employees not having received full salaries for over one year, the people of Gaza are suffering.
     
    The United Nations will continue to support the efforts of the legitimate Palestinian institutions and to reach out to all factions in order to ensure that the humanitarian, social and economic challenges of Gaza are addressed.

    Over the last month, five rockets were fired at Israel by militant groups from Gaza, of which one impacted an open area in southern Israel without causing injury, while a further ten rockets were test fired at the sea. Israeli security forces conducted two airstrikes inside the Strip, neither of which resulted in injuries.

     
    Such incidents underscore the fragile dynamics within Gaza which – without positive change – will continue to provide fertile ground for extremism to flourish, extremism that will ultimately undermine the Palestinian goal of statehood.
     
    Israeli measures to relax some movement restrictions on Gaza over the past year have not enabled people to maintain normal family and economic ties or to increase their economic self-sufficiency. Moreover, restrictions on imports of goods defined as having a “dual use” continue to impede humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction efforts.
     
    The UN reiterates its call for a full lifting of all closures on Gaza, as envisioned in Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009), with due consideration of the security concerns of both Israel and Egypt. 
     
    In this context, I am glad to report that reconstruction, despite funding shortfalls, is picking up speed. I reiterate my call to international partners to disburse their pledges made during the Cairo conference. Meanwhile some 94,000 homeowners have procured construction material to repair their homes. Construction is also progressing on 315 projects – including housing, water networks and schools – which have been submitted for Israeli approval. 18 projects have been completed and 149 are ongoing.
     
     
    Mr. President,
    Let me be clear on one point related to Gaza — without genuine Palestinian reconciliation and unity, all efforts to improve the situation will face major difficulties. I welcome the determination of Prime Minister Hamdallah and his efforts to find a solution to the problem of public sector employees in Gaza. The United Nations stands ready to work with all stakeholders and to support the Government in mobilising the necessary resources for this process.
     
     
    Mr. President,
    With regard to Lebanon, the Council heard a briefing by Special Coordinator Kaag on 2 September. We welcome the launch of a political leaders’ dialogue on 9 September to address key issues including the Presidency. On the same day, Prime Minister Salam convened the Cabinet which agreed on a new waste management plan. Demonstrators continue to raise demands relating to services and the performance of the political leadership.
     
    On 22 and 25 August, heavy clashes between factions in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh led to a number of fatalities. Following the negotiation of a ceasefire, the situation has now returned to calm. 
     
    The situation in UNIFIL’s area of operations remains generally quiet. The cooperation of Israel and Lebanon with UNIFIL was illustrated on 20 August when four rockets exploded in northern Israel without causing injury. Close coordination between UNIFIL and the parties resulted in quick clarification that the rockets that had landed south of the Blue Line had in fact originated from Syria and not from southern Lebanon. In response, Israeli forces hit Syrian military positions in and near the town of Quneitra.
     
     
    Mr. President,
    Allow me to conclude by underlining that, for too long, the Israeli and Palestinian populations have lived their lives vacillating between hope and fear – with fear frequently triumphing.
     
    The time has come to right that balance and restore the hope for a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis.
     
    To do so will require a broad approach that integrates tough political decisions by the parties on the ground, focused engagement and goodwill of key regional actors, and coherent, reliable support from the international community. The United Nations stands ready to play its role in helping to shape this strategy and to work towards the goal of a comprehensive and just peace in the region.
     
    Thank you.
  • 26 Ago 2015
    Madam President,
    Distinguished Members of the Council,
     
    You have before you the Secretary-General’s latest report on the activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya detailing the Mission’s work over the past five months.
     
    The report paints a mixed picture of evolving security dynamics in Libya. A year since the country’s most serious outbreak of armed hostilities and the disruption to the political process, local communities in western Libya are increasingly taking the lead in ceasefire and reconciliation initiatives between different towns and cities, contributing to a marked reduction in military tensions across that part of the country and the wider Tripoli area. This is in stark contrast to security dynamics elsewhere in the country.
     
    Fifteen months since the start of military operations in Benghazi in the east, it is clear that the confrontations between the parties, have gradually transformed into a war of trenches with no imminent end foreseen. In the interim, the status quo is exacting a heavy toll on the civilian population, and on whatever remains of the city’s much damaged infrastructure. Over a hundred thousand of Benghazi’s population remain internally displaced and seventy per cent of health facilities in the city are either inaccessible or non-functional.
     
    The situation in the south is equally appalling. The absence of the State and of a proper functioning security apparatus has exacerbated local competition by tribal groups for power and resources, a conflict that has its roots in decades’ long marginalisation and neglect by central authorities.
     
    At the national level, the scale of human suffering is staggering for a country with large oil reserves and strong economic potential. According to different United Nations agencies, an estimated 1.9 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance to meet their basic health care needs. Access to food is now a major problem for some 1.2 million people, mostly in Benghazi and the east. The figure for internally displaced persons across Libya now stands around 435,000. The healthcare system is on the verge of collapse, with many hospitals across the country overcrowded and operating at severely reduced capacity, many reporting acute shortages of medicines, vaccines and medical equipment. Power cuts are endemic in many areas of the country; some neighbourhoods such as in Benghazi are enduring electricity cuts almost round the clock.
     
    Close to 250,000 migrants are estimated to be in the country or transiting through, many of them facing significant protection issues, including arbitrary arrest and detention in abusive conditions, sexual abuse, forced labour, exploitation and extortion. This year alone has seen over 2,000 migrants drown in the Mediterranean Sea, the vast majority in a desperate bid to make the sea crossing from Libya to Europe’s southern shores.
     

    At the same time, the country’s economy continues to contract rapidly, the result of a significant reduction in oil revenues due to falling oil prices and low oil production from Libya’s oilfields. Libya’s financial reserves are also being heavily depleted, in large part the result of unsustainable expenditures on non-productive items. The political-institutional crisis in the country has also manifested itself in a growing competition over key financial and other sovereign institutions.

     
     
    Madam President,
     
    Against this grim backdrop of growing hardship and misery stemming from deteriorating security and general lawlessness, widespread violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law continue with impunity across the country.
     
    Armed groups from all sides continue to abduct civilians on account of their political opinions or identity, often in the hope of exchanging them in return for a ransom or for the release of fighters or other civilians taken by rival groups. Not even humanitarian aid workers have been spared.
     
    Permit me, Madam President, to use this platform to reiterate my call on all sides in the conflict to undertake the necessary steps to protect civilians from direct and indiscriminate attacks, facilitate their evacuation and allow unimpeded and safe access to humanitarian aid.
     
    I also wish to remind all parties of their obligations to end all forms of arbitrary detention and to protect all those detained from torture or other ill-treatment. While we welcome the release of some of the illegally detained persons, we continue to urge all parties to do more to complete this process as soon as possible.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    When I last briefed the Council in mid-July, I spoke of ISIL, or Daesh, having asserted control of the strategically located city of Sirte in central Libya. That control has now been extended to more than 200-kilometre stretch of coastline east and west of Sirte. Despite an attempt by local armed groups on 11 August to dislodge the group from Sirte, Daesh fighters regained control of the city three days later. Casualty figures are difficult to confirm but witnesses report brutal revenge attacks by Daesh against their opponents.
     
    There can be no doubt that the danger posed by Daesh to Libya and the Libyan people is real, imminent and palpable. Libyan security and military actors, as well as political stakeholders on either of the divide, are fully cognizant of the danger posed by Daesh-affiliated militants. However, they must recognise that no strategy aimed at containing, if not eliminating, the Daesh threat, will be viable unless it is part of a concerted, unified and coordinated effort that brings all Libyans together under a single banner whose allegiance is to the Libyan State, and to a Government that is inclusive and representative of all Libyans. The message to Libya’s leaders is clear: there is simply no other alternative to unified and collective action if Libyans are to successfully prevent a repeat of the catastrophic advances that Daesh has made in countries like Syria and Iraq.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    Since my last briefing to the Council in which I updated the Council on the progress in the Libyan political dialogue process, I reconvened the main dialogue track for a new round of talks in Geneva between 11 and 12 August. The two-day talks focused primarily on ways of expediting the dialogue process ahead of the critical 21 October deadline, the date by which the mandate of the House of Representatives would end according to the Constitutional Declaration.
     
    Although the General National Congress in Tripoli did not initial the main text of the Libyan Political Agreement along with other dialogue participants on 11 July, I am confident that their concerns can be addressed in ongoing discussions on the annexes of the Agreement, including those pertaining to the formation of the Government of National Accord.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    Seven months since the United Nations Support Mission in Libya launched the Libyan political dialogue process, I am increasingly confident that the process is finally drawing to its final stages. This has been a difficult and challenging process, but one that has proven increasingly resilient, despite repeated attempts by spoilers on all sides whose narrow interests and agendas dictate against a peaceful solution to the conflict in Libya. That a majority of stakeholders have sought to engage in the different tracks has been a reassuring sign of the grassroots support that the dialogue process has gradually acquired from different segments of the Libyan population.
     
    The talks have come a long way in narrowing the trust deficit that exists among Libya’s political stakeholders, and in forging agreement over a roadmap that lays out a vision for bringing an immediate end to the country’s political crisis and military conflict that have ravaged Libya for over a year now.
     
    Overcoming the political polarisation and divisiveness in Libya will be no easy task. The magnitude of the challenges should not be underestimated, nor of the resources required to pull Libya back from the brink of economic meltdown and total collapse of State institutions.
     
    But most importantly, it will be the determination and commitment of Libyans themselves, more specifically their political leaders, which will safeguard Libya’s national unity and territorial integrity, and spare its people the scourge of long-term civil strife and instability.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    With respect to the respective leaderships of the House of Representatives and the General National Congress. I appeal to both that they do not squander the historic and unique opportunity they have before them to be peacemakers.
     
    I call on both not to squander the hard work they have invested over the past seven months to arrive at the point where they are today. The Agreement they have negotiated may not be perfect, but it is a fair and reasonable one, in which the only winners are the Libyan people.
     
    I would also like to reiterate that the United Nations, along with the international community, will remain steadfast in its commitment and support to Libya’s democratic process. Any attempt to derail the political process through undemocratic means should not be tolerated. The dialogue process remains the only credible and legitimate mechanism by which Libyans can safeguard the continuity of the democratic process in their country.
     
    Time is running out. The onus is on Libya’s leaders on all sides, and at all levels, to make that final push towards peace.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    As Libya’s dialogue process enters its final phase, I wish to thank the Members of this Council for your support to my mediation efforts, and I wish to reiterate my sincere and profound gratitude and appreciation to the Libyan people and its representatives, as well as to the various Member States and regional organisations that have supported the dialogue process. In particular, I wish to thank Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Qatar, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the African Union, the European Union and the League of Arab States.
     
    The collective effort and determination of the international community will be vital to articulating a clear strategy for the delivery of technical assistance. Equally important, the international community must also move quickly to present a clearly articulated strategy in support of the Libyan State and the efforts by the Government of National Accord to contain and eliminate the threat that groups like Daesh are posing not only to the stability of Libya, but equally to regional and international security.
     
     
    Thank you.
  • 25 Ago 2015

    Text in English below:

    Déclaration à la presse de M. Jeffrey Feltman,Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations Unies pour les Affaires politiques, à  la sortie de son audience avec M. Michel Kafando, Président de la Transition du Burkina Faso,  Ouagadougou, 25 août 2015

    A la demande du Secrétaire général de l’ONU, M. Ban Ki-moon, j’ai entrepris ma deuxième visite au Burkina Faso avec le Représentant Spécial du Secrétaire général pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest M. Mohamed Ibn Chambas. Nous étions accompagnés par le Coordonnateur Résident, M. Pascal Karorero.

    Nous avons rencontré le Président du Faso, le Premier ministre, le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, le Président du Conseil National de Transition, le Président de la Commission électorale indépendante, le Président du Conseil constitutionnel et les représentants de la communauté internationale au Burkina Faso.

    Durant ma réunion avec le Président Michel Kafando, j’ai salué au nom des Nations Unies, le leadership et la détermination dont il a fait preuve dans la mise en œuvre de la Charte de la Transition et la garantie de la tenue d’élections démocratiques le 11 octobre 2015.

    J’ai exprimé l’appréciation des Nations Unies pour les progrès accomplis dans l’organisation des élections. J’ai relevé que la crédibilité de ces élections repose sur une large participation du peuple burkinabè. J’ai souligné l’importance de la stabilité politique et sécuritaire pour garantir la tenue d’élections pacifiques et crédibles. A cet effet, j’ai salué la signature par les acteurs nationaux clés du « pacte de bonne conduite » pour les prochaines élections. 

    Le peuple burkinabè, les acteurs régionaux et internationaux ainsi que l’ONU suivent la situation de près. Il est évident que beaucoup de progrès ont été accomplis mais il faut rester vigilant. A cet effet, j’ai encouragé les autorités de la transition à continuer de travailler ensemble pour garantir que le processus de transition se conclue avec succès.

    J’ai réitéré l’engagement des Nations Unies à  continuer de fournir au Burkina Faso le soutien requis pour organiser les élections, conformément aux recommandations de sa Mission d’évaluation des besoins électoraux qui a été déployée au Burkina Faso en janvier dernier.

    J’aimerais saisir cette occasion pour encourager le peuple du Burkina Faso et ses leaders politiques à user librement de leur droit de vote, à résoudre tout différend lié aux élections par les voies légales, et à respecter les décisions des institutions judiciaires compétentes.

    Les Nations Unies, y compris à travers les bons offices du Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest, M. Chambas, et de son équipe pays continueront à soutenir la transition au Burkina Faso, en collaboration étroite avec les partenaires régionaux et internationaux.

     

     

    Press statement by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs following his meeting with H.E. Mr. Michel Kafando, Transitional President of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, 25 August 2015

    At the request of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, I conducted my second visit to Burkina Faso with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas. We were accompanied by the Resident Coordinator, Mr. Pascal Karorero.

    We met with the President, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the National Transitional Council, the President of the Independent Electoral Commission, the President of the Constitutional Council and representatives of the international community in Burkina Faso.

    During my meeting with President Michel Kafando, I expressed the United Nations’ appreciation for his commendable leadership and determination to ensure the implementation of the Charter of the Transition and the holding of democratic elections on 11 October 2015.

    I shared the United Nations’ appreciation for progress accomplished towards the organization of the elections. I noted that the credibility of these elections will require wide participation of the people of Burkina Faso. I emphasised the importance of a stable political and security environment to enable the holding of peaceful and credible elections. In this regard, I commended the signing by key national stakeholders of a “good conduct agreement” for the forthcoming elections.

    The people of Burkina Faso, regional and international stakeholders, as well as the United Nations, are following the situation closely. While significant progress has been achieved, we must remain vigilant. In this regard, I encouraged the transitional authorities to continue to work together to ensure the successful completion of the transition process. 

    I reaffirmed to national authorities the United Nations’ readiness to continue to provide Burkina Faso with the support required for the organization of the elections, guided by the recommendations of its Electoral Needs Assessment Mission that was deployed to Burkina Faso in January 2015. 

    I would like to seize this opportunity to encourage the people of Burkina Faso and its political leaders to exercise freely their right to vote and to resolve any dispute that may arise from the electoral process through established legal procedures and to respect decisions taken by the relevant juridical institutions.

    The United Nations, including through SRSG Chambas’ good offices and the UN Country Team, will continue to accompany Burkina Faso’s efforts, in close collaboration with regional and international partners.

  • 19 Ago 2015

    Madam President, Members of the Security Council,

    I address you at a time when the risk of escalation in Israel and Palestine is palpable. The past month has witnessed unconscionable crimes of hatred by extremist elements, reprehensible retaliatory violence, provocations at Jerusalem’s holy sites, and a worrying increase in rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel.

    The coming days will mark the one-year anniversary of the conclusion of last year’s devastating Gaza conflict – a conflict from which the Palestinians of Gaza have yet to recover. One year on, their continued suffering highlights the inadequacy of our collective response to date. Thus, I begin my briefing to you today with an appeal to political, military, community and religious leaders on all sides to work together to reduce tensions, reject violence and prevent extremists from escalating the situation and hijacking the political agenda.

     

    Madam President,

    I reiterate the Secretary-General’s strong condemnation of the horrific terrorist arson attack against a Palestinian family in the occupied West Bank village of Duma, during the early hours of 31 July, apparently committed by extremist Jewish settlers. The attack killed 18 month-old Ali Dawabsha; his father died of his wounds five days later, while his mother and four year-old brother continue fighting for their lives.

    The Secretary-General welcomes the strong condemnations of the attack by Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, as well as by political and religious leaders from across the spectrum. At the same time, we denounce calls made by Hamas and by Islamic Jihad to escalate violence and to carry out revenge attacks. At a moment of heightened emotions and anger, such incitement can only serve to bring about more tragedy. I urge the Israeli Government to promptly bring the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice.

    I further note the 2 July Israeli Cabinet decision to strengthen the legal and institutional means of addressing terrorism by Jewish extremists and to ensure that the new anti-terrorism law applies equally to all perpetrators. However, I am concerned by the decision to extend the use of prolonged administrative detention, which the United Nations has consistently opposed. This practice, whether used against Palestinians or Israelis, is incompatible with international human rights standards and should be ended. All administrative detainees should be promptly charged or released.

    I underscore that this attack, like so many others over the years, including against Israeli settlers, occurred in the context of a chronic lack of adequate law enforcement in the West Bank. Such violence is possible because of the environment created as a result of Israel’s decades-long policy of illegal settlement activities.

     

    Madam President,

    The goal is clear.  But over 20 years of failed negotiations have bred mistrust and, worse, the slow and painful withering of hope. In such a contentious environment, restoring confidence, before a return to realistic negotiations, is a must. What is needed now is a comprehensive approach on three levels – on the ground, in the region, and with the international community – to alter fundamentally the current negative dynamics and begin to shape a clear and positive pathway towards peace.

    On the Israeli side, this should reflect significant policy shifts to enable the growth of Palestine’s sovereignty, economy and security. On the Palestinian side, unity is critical – the legitimate Palestinian authority must represent all of Palestine and all Palestinians. I am encouraged by the increased cooperation between the Quartet and key regional actors and I fully support enhanced exploration of how the region, including through the Arab Peace Initiative, may contribute to resolving the conflict. The Secretary-General supports the Quartet’s work to connect these various levels of engagement. 

     

    Madam President,

    In the West Bank, after failed attempts to form a Palestinian National Unity Government, a Government reshuffle resulted in the appointment of five new ministers on 31 July. The process was met with some resistance among Palestinian factions.

    The reporting period was marked by continued violence, including incidents causing Palestinian casualties as well as a number of attacks against Israelis and Israeli security forces. Israeli security forces conducted some 188 search-and-arrest operations, resulting in the arrest of some 292 Palestinians. A total of 203 Palestinians were injured, including 40 children and seven women. Six Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli security forces, including a 17-year-old. Twelve members of the Israeli security forces were also wounded, with no fatalities reported. I reiterate that any use of force by Israeli security forces in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, must be consistent with international human rights law.

    Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the West Bank resulted in injuries to nine Palestinians, including four children, and seven Israelis. In an apparent retaliatory attack for the administrative detention of several Jewish extremists, on 12 August, another arson attack was reported in Ein Samia, where a tent belonging to a Bedouin was set on fire and completely burned, reportedly by Jewish extremists. 

    Israel’s practice of demolishing homes and structures also continued.  This month, 86 structures, including 26 residential structures, were demolished in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 177 Palestinians, including 89 children. On 17 August 22 structures were demolished in four communities in the planned E-1 area affecting in particular vulnerable Palestinian Bedouins which displaced 78 people, including 49 children.  This was the largest number of Palestinians displaced in the West Bank in one day in nearly three years. And yesterday, 27 structures, including eight residential structures were demolished resulting in 42 displaced, including 27 children in the Jordan Valley Area C community of Fasayil al Wusta. The Secretary-General calls on the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, to revoke plans that would result in the forcible transfer of Palestinian communities, and to implement an inclusive planning and zoning regime that will enable Palestinians’ residential and community development needs to be met.

     

    Madam President,

    Recent changes in Israeli law and policy affecting the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem risk compounding the already-precarious human rights situation.

    On 30 July, the Knesset amended the Prisons Act to allow a judge to order force-feeding of a hunger-striking prisoner to prevent imminent death, if recommended by a doctor. While Israel insists that it has established a careful legal mechanism in order to strictly limit this means of enforcement to instances where a threat to life exists, numerous human rights and medical bodies have questioned whether force feeding meets international standards of medical ethics, safety and human rights. Careful consideration should be placed on addressing the underlying human rights concerns which lead prisoners to such extreme protests, including prolonged administrative detention.

    We are aware that the status of prolonged hunger striker Mohammed Allan may be evolving.

    On 20 July, the Knesset also amended the Israeli Penal Code to extend harsh punishments for stone-throwing at moving vehicles. It allows for sentences of up 20 years. The law is likely to affect children disproportionately.

    In another legal development, the Israeli Supreme Court legitimized the applicability of the Absentees' Property Law of 1951 to Palestinian property in East Jerusalem when the owner is in the West Bank. This move allows for the expropriation of property from Palestinians who have become absentee through no fault of their own.

     

    Madam President, Members of the Security Council,

    Turning to Gaza, the unrelenting pressure on the socio-economic situation due to the continued closures, the lack of electricity and water and the slow pace of reconciliation, continue to feed the discontent of the population.

    While much remains to be done, I welcome some positive developments on reconstruction, particularly under the Residential Stream of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, which enables the reconstruction of fully destroyed homes. Since its launch in June, and thanks to financial assistance from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Germany  2,250 families have been processed, of which some 630 have already purchased construction materials.

    Although the mechanism is working, current resources are insufficient to meet the massive demand for assistance. In a recent letter to the Foreign Ministers that participated in the October 2014 Cairo conference on Gaza’s reconstruction, the Special Coordinator urged donor countries to fulfil their pledges.

    We welcome Egypt’s opening of the Rafah crossing for several days this week. The Secretary-General encourages the Egyptian authorities to allow the Rafah crossing to be opened on a more regular basis, taking into account Egypt’s security concerns.

    Security incidents in Gaza continued to be recorded. The Secretary-General condemns the 24 rockets fired at Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza, one of which impacted Israel, with no reported injuries. Palestinian militants also test fired seven rockets at the sea. Israeli security forces conducted four airstrikes inside Gaza. On 7 August, in response to a rocket fired from Gaza, the Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas training site, injuring four Palestinians. In incidents that took place following the Duma arson attack, a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot dead and two others were injured by Israeli security forces in the vicinity of the wall.

     

    Madam President,

    The Secretary-General is relieved by the announcement today by Commissioner-General Krähenbühl that the UNRWA schools will indeed open in time.  The Secretary-General joins the Commissioner-General in expressing appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the State of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and the Slovak Republic. The governments of host countries, in particular, the State of Palestine; the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and Lebanon, have spared no effort during this challenging period. The Secretary-General extends his sincere gratitude for their support. A sustainable solution must still be found to address UNRWA’s long-term funding needs so that we can ensure the provision of basic services such as education are no longer at risk for all Palestine refugees.

     

    Madam President,

    A few words about the situation in Lebanon and Syria.

    In Syria, the air raids by Syrian forces on a market place in the town of Douma, which reportedly killed and injured over 300 civilians on 15 and 16 August, was one of the bloodiest since the conflict started in March 2011. This would be yet one more crime for which those responsible must be held accountable. Hostilities must end and the parties must show genuine commitment to resolving this conflict through an irreversible political transition by engaging in the efforts of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy, as endorsed by the Security Council Presidential Statement.

    In Lebanon, political differences continued to hinder the proper functioning of Lebanese state institutions despite Prime Minister Salam’s commendable efforts to run the government. We continue to call on Lebanon’s leaders to act urgently and responsibly by filling the presidential vacuum without further delay. The situation along the Blue Line and in UNIFIL’s area of operations has remained calm, despite Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace on an almost daily basis.

     

    Madam President,

     In conclusion, the recurrent violent incidents and radicalization in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza threaten to further destabilize an already tense environment. The incidents share a common thread: they are the inevitable product of the failure to make the tough choices necessary to resolve this conflict. They are the ramifications of the failure to prioritize the pursuit of a shared future built on trust rather than fear. We can no longer accept this reality. It is time to reverse the perilous tide that we are now facing and restore, to Israelis and Palestinians alike, the hope that is in danger of being stifled by those promoting their hate-driven agendas.

    Thank you. 

  • 29 Jul 2015

    Thank you Mr Secretary-General for your strong and supportive introduction to this debate,

    Your Excellency Foreign Minister McCully, Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,

    It is precisely the immensity of the human suffering as just described by the Secretary-General and yesterday by our colleague USG O'Brien that commands us to seek out even the remotest possibility for a political solution, even if, and we heard it, sadly the logic of assuming a military victory by anyone, which is impossible, continues. And barrel bombs and other indiscriminate weapons continue to kill Syrian civilians. 

    On 5 May, based on instructions from the Secretary-General, we unrolled the Geneva Consultations.  It’s a new form of avoiding getting cornered in a conference which then gets us straight-jacketed, it is a set of structured separate discussions with Syrian and non-Syrian players aimed at "stress testing" any willingness, if there is any, of narrowing the gaps in interpretation of the principles contained in the Geneva Communiqué, which is still, let’s be frank, the internationally only recognized framework for a settlement, even if still ambiguous in some parts.   To-date Consultations with over 200 different individuals, actually 216, -Syrians and non-Syrians- in Geneva and in capitals, reveal a generally shared sense of urgency given especially the recent gains by Daesh and al-Nusra Front, the talk of some de facto fragmentation, radicalization and sectarianism. There is thus growing reference to the need for a managed, phased, gradual controlled transition, to avoid a repeat of what no one in this Council would like to se, the problems we have had in Libya and in Iraq. 

    Consultations too have reaffirmed that most Syrians and international actors agree on what Syria should look like, and the relevance of the principles and content of the Geneva Communique.  It was three years ago, and it is still valid.  Syrians overall emphasize their own vision for a united, sovereign, independent -they’re very proud people-, non-sectarian, multi-confessional, all-inclusive state with territorial integrity, preserved but reformed state institutions, such as the Ministries -as we have seen in Iraq that was the biggest problem we faced when suddenly many institutions disappeared in one moment of the change-, including the political, security and judiciary sectors led by those who can inspire public confidence and trust. 

    Yet, there is disagreement -Mr Secretary-General said it very clearly- on how to get there much based on the different narratives, one as to the root causes of the conflict and emerging priorities. The fear of black flags over Damascus is driving many to consider reassessing their own earlier positions. Yet, many continue to consider also that the conflict continues to be about the Arab Spring calls for a change.  There is a firm recognition that counter-terrorism is now definitely a priority. However, many are also wondering -both Syrians and member states- that n order to assert that type of counter-terrorism, there is a need for a credible new government with whom they can partner in that effort. 

     

    Mr. President, 

    While common ground exists, the question over the devolution of executive authority to a transitional body -let’s be honest with ourselves- remains the most polarizing element of the Communique. For some, this means that the TGB -transitional governing body- is an instrument to hand over power. Some political and armed opposition groups generally reject any notion of power-sharing with the current government in Damascus. The Syrian government has accepted in theory to discuss the TGB at the Geneva II Conference but continues to reject the concept as unconstitutional.

    It is still broadly understood that, whatever the solution, it should ensure the "meaningfulness and irreversibility of the transition" and a widely acceptable process, without causing an abrupt jolt, shock, trauma, catastrophe, in the system in Syria - we cannot afford that. And that should also include assurances for Syrian communities -and there are many minorities who have been under threat- and regional stakeholders and guarantees that the Syrian people are part of the decision-making - including, let me stress it, especially women.  We met remarkable Syrian women in our Geneva Consultations who haver been giving us often the most powerful concept and analysis we have heard. 

     

    Mr. President, 

    Sadly there is still no consensus on the way forward on the Communique or yet a formalized even negotiation - we would not be discussing it here otherwise, we would be working on the negotiation. At the same time, given the deepening tragedy- the UN is obliged -and all of us are- to keep the issue alive, to not leave any stone unturned, also attuned to ongoing serious conversations and discussions which are taking place, and we are hearing them, around the region and elsewhere, which may require perhaps more time, and may be linked with developments that the Secretary-General just referred to. 

    We have thus strived to develop recommendations, guided by the views and analysis shared with us during the Consultations.  This is the first time by the way that the Syrian people have been given a chance, they told us, to be deeply and intensely consulted - after all we always say this is a Syrian-led , Syrian-involved process, well this was the opportunity.  Our recommendations are predicated on the need for a regional and international consensus - and sustained engagement- on a way forward. 

     

    Mr. President

    In responding to the Secretary-General's instruction therefore that we should try to "operationalise the Geneva Communique", together with my team we have consulted widely inside and around; and verified if there was critical mass for common action, and ultimately tried to visualize, from a technical point of view, the implementation of the Geneva Communique, in all its aspects, including the TGB. And we have come up with a detailed formula for the phased implementation of the Geneva Communique, so there is no alibi in case there was -and there will be- a political consensus, including on the TGB, which could assume the functions of a government, a definition of mutual consent, which was in the Geneva Communiqué, the functioning of a military council and Syrian National Congress for national dialogue and constitutional reform, combined with confidence-building measures.

    Ours is a straightforward interpretation formula for the implementation of the Communique. Regretfully, the Consultations also confirmed that achieving an agreement on this is difficult in the current Syrian context. In fact, many urged us not convene a Geneva III conference yet, because we are not yet there.  

    But, we cannot let the situation in Syria continue to drift. And that’s why based on the appeal and the urge of the Secretary-General, we need to move in a direction where Syrians come together to stop the violence and set out an irreversible path towards a genuine political transition. Which leads us to our main Recommendation.

    The Geneva Consultations got Syrians to again start talking to each other, sometimes indirectly through us, but they did. What I am today proposing is actually a deepening, getting much deeper, of those issues in the Geneva Communiqué which are not so controversial, and analyzing those that can be controversial. I now intend to invite therefore Syrians to parallel, simultaneous, thematic discussions through intra-Syrian working groups addressing the key aspects of the Geneva Communique, as identified by them in the first phase of the Consultations:

    • Safety and Protection for All: which means including ending sieges, how to do so, ensuring medical access and releasing detainees;
    • Political and Constitutional Issues: including the essential principles, transitional governing body and elections; 
    • Military and Security Issues: including combatting terrorism in an effective inclusive way, cease-fires, and integration;
    • Public Institutions, Reconstruction and Development: which means we should to try to avoid as we said what happened in Iraq and elsewhere where suddenly institutions disappeared and the country got into a major difficulty.  Those institutions should continue to deliver public services under a top leadership acceptable to all, and acting in accordance with principles of good government and human rights.

    These working groups will start generating movement, we believe, towards a Syrian-owned Framework Document on the implementation of the Geneva Communique. These efforts can build on the very useful meetings that took place in Moscow, in Cairo, in Paris, and even in Astana recently and many track II initiatives. This effort should be led by a Steering committee and the Framework Document will also provide for a transitional governing body, procedures for a national dialogue, and so on. Such an international initiative will require the support of a Contact Group, and we will get there at the right time.

    In all of the above I seek this Council's support, as the Secretary-General has said, and stand ready to regularly report to you and to the Secretary-General, on progress or challenges, which we will definitively have.

     

    Mr Secretary-General, Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,

    The Consultations have gone some way towards identifying existing common ground. They also still hold the promise that a set of formal negotiations could convene after preparing the ground, if there is a political will.  The Geneva Consultations have been loud and clear on the profound risks of failing to act now, including the increasing risk of a multi-generational conflict that, with each passing month, reduces the prospects of ever restoring Syria as a unified state, let alone making it even harder to establish a political process.  

    In closing Mr. President, let me thank the Secretary-General again for being with us today, showing his strong commitment about the issue that is in front of us, and the Secretariat, and the members of the Security Council for their continuous  support for our difficult, uphill, difficult, but needed mission.  I am obviously ready to go into details more in a separate meeting later on. 

    Thank you. ​

  • 23 Jul 2015

    Thank you Mr. President,

    Let me begin by extending my warmest wishes to our Muslim colleagues and their families on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr and the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

    In a region currently torn by religious radicalism, age-old sectarian rivalries and geopolitical realignments, one conflict has endured for over 65 years. Some see it as the core problem of the region; others dismiss it as unrelated to the current turmoil. Either way, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is increasingly entangled in the tectonic shifts in the Middle East. Given the region's massive transformation, it is imperative — perhaps more than ever before — that a permanent settlement be found, based on the concept of two states, Israel and a sovereign, contiguous and viable Palestine, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.

    Despite continuing security coordination in the West Bank, today the two sides are further apart from that goal than ever. Support for the two-state solution among both Palestinians and Israelis is fading away. The current situation on the ground is not sustainable as the two-state solution continues to be under threat including from settlement construction, security incidents, occupation-related violence, and lack of Palestinian unity.

    In the absence of a political process, the rise of violent extremism and terrorism in the region present a danger as much to the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians for statehood, as to the security of Israel.

     

    Mr. President,

    In the current environment of mistrust we in the international community must work with Israelis and Palestinians to create the conditions on the ground, regionally and internationally, that will facilitate a return to meaningful negotiations on the basis of an agreed framework and within a reasonable timeframe.

    On the ground, both parties must undertake steps that demonstrate their continued commitment to a two-state solution, including through the implementation of existing agreements and by avoiding unilateral actions.

    Advancing the two-state solution requires a fundamental change in policy with regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. I welcome the recent decision by Israel to add 8,000 new work permits for Palestinians from the West Bank, bringing the number of permits issued for employment in Israel to a new high of some 60,000. This and other similar initiatives should be sustained and expanded, while much more needs to be done for improving the quality of life for Palestinians.

    Unilateral activities in the West Bank, including settlement construction, so-called legalisation of outposts, demolitions and evictions must stop. 

    While settlement expansion had slowed of late, planning for related infrastructure has not ceased. I am concerned by reports about the imminent approval of new residential units in the occupied West Bank. Such a decision will inevitably damage the prospects for peace and increase the risk for political escalation. I urge the Israeli authorities to reconsider this action. Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the very essence of the viability of a future Palestinian state.

    Meanwhile the Palestinian people rightly expect their leaders to act to advance unity and empower their government to take control of the border crossings in Gaza, implement civil service integration, pay public sector salaries and ensure that the governance framework between the West Bank and Gaza is integrated under a single authority. These efforts will pave the way for much delayed elections to take place.

    I call on all Palestinian groups to avoid in-fighting and find common ground, on the basis of non-violence and reconciliation, to achieve national unity which is critical for a two-state solution.

    The Secretary-General stands ready to work with the Security Council and our partners in the Middle East Quartet on a reinvigorated effort to create the conditions for the return to meaningful negotiations towards the two-state solution. In this context, I note the proposed establishment of an international support group that could contribute to such efforts. In the past month, the Quartet envoys, as part of an active outreach effort, engaged constructively with Egypt, Jordan and the League of Arab States. I take this opportunity to encourage the leadership of Israel to endorse the Arab Peace Initiative as an important contribution to a resolution to the conflict.

     

    Mr. President,

    July 8th marked the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas.

    Gaza’s painstaking emergence from last summer’s conflict is undermining belief among the population that genuine progress can be achieved. Activities of Salafi jihadists and other extremist groups are a cause for concern not only in Gaza, but also in neighbouring Sinai, where there are reports of their active support of militants on the Egyptian side of the border.

    On 18 July, six cars were blown up in Gaza city. Palestinian Salafi militants launched a rocket at Israel on 16 July, which exploded in an open area near Ashkelon. In response, Israel conducted four airstrikes against militant infrastructure targets in Gaza. Militants also fired a rocket from the Sinai on 3 July, which landed in Israel close to the Egyptian border, highlighting the potential for violence in the Sinai to expand beyond its borders.

    The Secretary-General calls on all actors in Gaza to provide information as to the possible whereabouts and conditions of two Israeli civilians who had entered Gaza sometime over the past year and remain unaccounted for, as well as to take prompt action to facilitate their safe return to their families.

    These, and other incidents, underscore the fragile dynamics within Gaza that - without positive change - will continue to provide fertile ground for extremism to flourish.

     

    Mr. President,

    Last month, Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached a welcome agreement on a new mechanism to allow Palestinians in Gaza access to construction material for the reconstruction of fully destroyed homes and for new construction. Close to 700 families have already been cleared and over 160 of these have purchased the required construction materials.

    Given this positive development, I take this opportunity to once again, urge donors to fulfill their pledges, in particular those allocated to housing construction and to addressing Gaza’s urgent energy and water needs.

    I also welcome recent agreement between Israel and the Netherlands to install an additional scanner for containers at the Kerem Shalom crossing. This should enable a substantial increase in exports from and imports into Gaza.

    The lifting of the Gaza closures within the framework of resolution 1860 (2009) remains an important objective of the United Nations. Absent this, the UN continues to work with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to support vital efforts to rebuild the lives of people in Gaza.

     

    Mr. President,

    Turning to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, while the frequency of security incidents decreased compared to last month, the situation remained tense.

    Israeli security forces conducted some 186 search-and-arrest operations, resulting in the arrest of some 300 Palestinians. Meanwhile Palestinian security forces also arrested over 100 people in the West Bank. I continue to be concerned by the situation of Palestinian prisoners, including those on hunger strike, held in Israel. All held in administrative detention should be promptly charged and tried in a court of law, or released without delay.

    In total, 50 Palestinians were injured, and four were shot and killed by Israeli security forces, including two at checkpoints near Nablus and Ramallah. Two members of the Israeli security forces were stabbed and injured, one seriously.

    Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli civilians in the West Bank also continued, resulting in the death of one Israeli and injury to eight Israelis and nine Palestinians, including one child.

    Just as such incidents contribute to the lack of hope and anger which feed a continuing cycle of violence and highlight the imperative to seek a resolution to this conflict, so too do the demolitions and displacement in the West Bank.

    On 12 July, Israel announced that it would seek to execute demolition orders of structures in the Palestinian village of Susiya in Area C. This comes ahead of a 3 August hearing, scheduled at the High Court of Justice, on a directly related planning-approval process. The Secretary-General joins the United States and the European Union in expressing his deep concern about the demolition and displacement plans for Susiya. Earlier today my Deputy Special Coordinator visited the community. We hope that the ongoing dialogue between Israeli authorities and the herding community will protect the rights of the persons affected.

     

    Mr. President,

    Against this backdrop intra-Palestinian talks to form a national unity government have faltered. I note the efforts of President Abbas and Prime Minister Hamdallah to reshuffle the current government and call on them to proceed without delay to appointing the new ministers.

    The reshuffling comes at a particularly sensitive time as the Palestinian Authority faces significant financial challenges, including a budget deficit of some $500 million for 2015. This gap cannot be closed through fiscal measures alone, and I urge donors to rapidly scale up their direct budget support. In this respect, it is also important to revive the functioning of the Israeli-Palestinian joint economic committee.

    While first and foremost it is up to the Palestinian authorities to take the lead, the UN stands ready to support the President, the Government and all factions in their efforts to reunite the West Bank and Gaza, in line with the intra-Palestinian unity agreement of 23 April 2014.

    Palestine is one and the UN will work determinedly to advance unity through its legitimate institutions.

     

    Mr. President,

    Allow me to briefly turn to the rest of the region and note that the UN’s broad engagement continued during the reporting period. Following consultations with Syrian, regional and international parties, next week the Secretary-General and Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura will be briefing the Security Council on their recommendations for moving the political track forward.

    In Yemen, Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed extends his good offices with all parties to restart negotiations on a political transition.

    In Libya, the UN remains engaged in facilitating talks aimed at ending the current political and security crisis through the formation of a Government of National Accord.

    In Iraq, the UN is working to promote political dialogue in the hopes of encouraging national reconciliation.

    In Lebanon, concerns grow that political differences are preventing the effective functioning of state institutions, despite Prime Minister Salam’s commendable efforts to run government, and there has been no progress in efforts to end the Presidential vacuum. The Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag continues to urge Lebanon’s leaders to put the country's stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics and elect a President without further delay.

    Meanwhile the situation along the Lebanese border with Syria has remained stable, with the Lebanese Armed Forces continuing their operations to prevent the infiltration of armed extremist groups from Syria. In the south, the situation along the blue line has remained generally calm, despite almost daily Israeli overflights over Lebanese territory. We encourage both parties to continue to make effective use of UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination mechanisms.

     

    Mr. President and members of the Council,

    I am deeply concerned about UNRWA’s current unprecedented financial crisis. If the current gap of USD 100 million is not closed in the next weeks there is a serious risk that UNRWA schools, which educate 500,000 children throughout the Middle East, will not open. This will have grave implications for Palestine refugee children in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and for the stability and security of a region already in turmoil.

    I urge donors to step up support for UNRWA at this critical time.

     

    Mr. President,

    Let me turn back to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reiterate our collective resolve to prevent a further deterioration of the situation; to uphold the two-state solution and to create the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations.

    Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas recently spoke and reaffirmed their desire for peace. This is a welcome sign. But, words need to be translated into concrete and sustained actions on the ground.

    But let me also be abundantly clear. Measures undertaken to improve the situation must not be considered an end unto themselves but part of a broader political framework with the goal of achieving a final status agreement.

    Now is the time to act decisively to reverse the growing perception that the two-state solution is on life-support, slowly dying a death “by a thousand cuts”.

    A comprehensive agreement will require committed engagement with key Arab states, including through the Arab Peace Initiative.

    The Secretary-General stands ready to support both sides in order to overcome their divisions and to rise to the challenge of forging a path towards a peaceful future.

     

    Mr President,

    In closing, let me place on record my deep appreciation for the support that the Security Council and the Secretariat have given to the excellent UNSCO team.

    I would also like to welcome Mr Robert Piper of Australia as the new Deputy Special Coordinator who will also serve as the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

    Thank you for the opportunity to address the Council.

  • 22 Jul 2015

    Jeffrey Feltman, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, concluded today a two-day visit to Bogotá, Colombia, during which he met with President Juan Manuel Santos, officials of his Government, representatives of civil society and polítical parties, and the international community.  Mr. Feltman was in Colombia to convey on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the United Nations firm support for the peace process and its commitment to provide any support required by the parties to its successful conclusion. The Under-Secretary-General announced that, in response to the request of the Government and the FARC-EP, the United Nations has a team of experts prepared to travel soon to Havana to begin assisting the discussions of the sub-committee focused on end-of-conflict issues. 

  • 22 Jul 2015

    22 July 2015 -- Jeffrey Feltman, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, concluded today a two-day visit to Bogotá, Colombia, during which he met with President Juan Manuel Santos, officials of his Government, representatives of civil society and polítical parties, and the international community.  Mr. Feltman was in Colombia to convey on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the United Nations firm support for the peace process and its commitment to provide any support required by the parties to its successful conclusion. The Under-Secretary-General announced that, in response to the request of the Government and the FARC-EP, the United Nations has a team of experts prepared to travel soon to Havana to begin assisting the discussions of the sub-committee focused on end-of-conflict issues. 

  • 22 Jul 2015

    Thank you, Mr President.

    I have the honour to present the fourth report of the Secretary-General pursuant to resolution 2169 (2014), as well as the seventh report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 4 of resolution 2107 (2013) on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, and property. 

    During my previous briefing to the Council, I conveyed my initial impressions as the Secretary-General’s new Special Representative for Iraq as mixed but cautiously positive. Through my subsequent series of consultations with Iraq’s political and religious leaders, civil society, as well as neighbouring countries, my initial impressions remain valid, although I increasingly appreciate the scope, depth, and complexity of problems and challenges.   

     

    Mr. President,

    Since last summer’s onslaught by terrorists of the so-called ISIL, Iraq has been living through one of the most difficult phases in its modern history. While problems may seem daunting and persistent, there is hope, opportunities, and notably vision for the way out of the crisis, as expressed in the National Political Agreement. The real issue is its implementation.

    Iraq’s political process is moving forward, but without the needed vigour. The Government has achieved many successes, and deserves our acknowledgement and support. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is seeking actively to fulfil the promises of the Government’s programme, but not always with success. Political forces that have backed the Government and its programme often cooperate reluctantly, as if the existential threat of ISIL and economic and social difficulties were already matters of the past. The unity behind the creation of the current Government has not yet fully translated into unity of purpose or action. UNAMI has been actively working with all relevant interlocutors, using its good offices to bring views closer.

    There are signs of a growing understanding that the time has come for comprehensive political agreements, particularly for, as some leaders have described it, an “historic national reconciliation”. Several plans and blueprints have emerged recently, promoted by key leaders and political forces. Also, the National Reconciliation Commission has developed an action plan, an initiative owned and led by the Government. The so-called Baghdad Document is currently being widely consulted and will benefit from inputs from all Iraqi components, allowing for further ownership of and inclusion in the process. This could provide a starting point for further consultations, including with different opposition groups. UNAMI supports these processes.

    This development is most welcome, although political compromises are urgently needed to accelerate the implementation of the National Political Agreement and Ministerial Programme. In this regard, institutional and legislative reforms remain key to preserving Iraq’s unity, encouraging political reconciliation and defeating ISIL. Regrettably, the absence of consensus has halted the reform process. The national reconciliation legislative package, which includes key bills such as the National Guard, the General Amnesty, and the Justice and Accountability laws, has seen limited progress since my last briefing to the Council. All three bills are currently before the Council of Representatives, but progress has been stalled due to lack of trust between Iraqi communities, and absence of the necessary political will. I have informed my interlocutors in Parliament and in Government that “painful compromises” are needed to ensure these bills are passed, instead of being returned to the Council of Ministers. Iraq and her people do not have the luxury of time. UNAMI continues to stand ready to assist politically and technically to ensure these reforms succeed. 

    Mr. President, effective partnership between Baghdad and Erbil is equally critical to Iraq’s unity and stability for fighting ISIL. The past period has seen the two sides increasingly expressing disappointment with the implementation of the oil and revenue-sharing agreement signed last year, and was marked by some unilateral steps that work against the interest of both sides and the country as a whole. Both sides urgently need to renegotiate the deal, and reach a truly sustainable and comprehensive agreement. UNAMI supports any option that will provide for such sustainability, will reinforce confidence and partnerships of the two sides, and will keep them united in fighting ISIL.

    One year after the fall of Mosul, a third of Iraq remains under the control and governance of ISIL. In the reporting period, the military offensives of the Iraqi security forces, with the critical support of the Popular Mobilization Forces, tribal Sunni volunteers, and the International Coalition, have yet to significantly change the situation on the ground. Tikrit was liberated in March, but Ramadi fell in May. The Government’s ongoing offensive in Anbar aims to reverse this setback.

    The human cost of the conflict remains far too high. Since I last briefed the Council, UNAMI has recorded a minimum of 1,200 civilians killed and more than 2,000 wounded as a result of armed conflict or terror attacks. UNAMI continues to receive widespread reports of attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, extrajudicial killings, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual violence, forced recruitment of children, wanton destruction and looting of civilian property, and denial of fundamental rights and freedoms. Minorities, women and children continue to be particularly vulnerable to the horrors and indignities inflicted by ISIL. The recent terrorist outrage during the Eid holidays near a Shi’ite mosque in Khan Bani Saad in which over 120 civilians were reported killed and some 170 injured is another tragic witness to this.

    Reports are also received of occasional violations committed by elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces and allied groups. The Government and their leaders have reaffirmed that such violations will not be tolerated, and I urge them to continue taking all possible measures to prevent such transgressions and to bring perpetrators to justice. 

    With regard to the protection of children, I would like to commend the Prime Minister’s efforts to tackle the issue of child recruitment by ISIL. On 15 June 2015, he held a conference in Baghdad and proposed a series of recommendations, including increased regional cooperation, academic research, the promotion of co-existence at school, and social media campaigns. He also called upon the Security Council to take a firmer stance on this issue. The UN participated and will be working closely with the Office of the Prime Minister to develop a plan of action.

    Iraq is a mosaic of different ethnic and religious communities – and each component of the Iraqi people has suffered from a range of violations and abuses perpetrated at various times over recent decades. These violations and abuses have undermined trust between communities and eroded national identity. Exacerbating the sense of injustice are actions taken in the current phase of the conflict by ISIL and by some armed groups fighting against them, which aim at or result in forced demographic changes, and the targeting of communities considered to be “undesirable”. To restore trust and to rebuild unity between the various communities that form the Iraqi people, it is necessary to ensure justice and accountability for violations and abuses, whenever they have taken place and by whomever they were perpetrated, and to eliminate discrimination and marginalization wherever it occurs. Taking action to ensure the protection of diverse ethnic and religious minority communities, and their full and equal participation in the economic, social and political life of Iraq will be challenging – but such action will be required of the Government if the future cohesion of Iraq is to be assured.

     

    Mr President,

    The humanitarian situation is of the gravest concern.  At least 8.2 million, roughly one in four Iraqis needs urgent assistance, of which half need food assistance. More than three million people are internally displaced and partners estimate that a nearly a million more are likely to be displaced by continuing conflict and violence in the months ahead. Close to 300,000 refugees, mostly from Syria, have sought safety in the country. The Government is continuing to lead the operation, providing resources for cash stipends, distributing assistance and helping to erect camps for populations fleeing violence. Humanitarian partners are working around-the-clock to provide assistance but funds are running short. Close to eighty health facilities are closing in the weeks ahead unless support is received. Food rations have already been cut and scores of life-saving programmes are scheduled to shut down. The implications of this are enormous, and profoundly worrying.  I thank the donor community for their pledges in response to the recent Humanitarian Response Plan launched in cooperation with the EU in Brussels on 4 June, but I urge the international community to do more to help desperately vulnerable Iraqi communities. We are very worried by reports that communities and families are being forced to look to ISIL for life-saving assistance, even as UN-sponsored programmes are closing for lack of funding.

    At the same time, internally displaced persons, in increasing numbers, are starting to return to liberated areas. The stabilization efforts led by the Government with the support of the UN family using the UNDP Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization are commendable, but much more remains to be done to ensure that returns are voluntary, sustainable, and dignified and that conditions are in place to return to their homes. We are encouraging the Government to take all necessary steps to guarantee their safety through exerting further pressure on armed elements temporarily controlling liberated areas to prevent occasional revenge attacks and other violations committed against IDPs, to establish effective local control of security. 

     

    Mr. President,

    Permit me now to turn to the seventh report of the Secretary-General, pursuant to paragraph 4 of resolution 2107 (2013), on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-party persons and property.

    Iraq-Kuwait relations are on the ascendant. Iraqi leaders and the UN have noted with gratitude the generous donation of 200 million USD for the needs of IDPs. There is much goodwill between the two sides. This goodwill could only heighten if tangible results were achieved on the issue of the missing Kuwaiti persons and property. I intend to visit Kuwait to discuss this.

     

    Mr. President,

    I would like to turn briefly to the issue of residents of Camp Hurriyah. We need to alleviate Iraq’s burden. I urge all countries to consider hosting these residents or to use their influence in assisting in their relocation. 

    And one more reminder, this time concerning our UN national staff member taken hostage. The Secretary-General in his report urged the Iraqi authorities to redouble efforts to secure his release, and I strongly support his appeal. Let’s remember it has been already 88 days since we have no credible information about our colleague and no positive solution to this case.  

     

    Excellencies, members of the Council

    From the lessons learned over the years from the implementation of UNAMI’s mandate and through a consultative process, the Secretary-General has spelled out his recommendations on where emphasis should lie as regards future UNAMI and UNCT mandate and activities.   

    Your decision later this month on our mandate will provide a clear guidance and will establish a re-focused political framework for the UN, including UNAMI. With the continued support of the Council, I remain confident that we can and we will work hand-in-hand with the Government of Iraq, political forces, and civil society, to achieve results in all areas, while increasingly mobilizing , notably regional support and cooperation. At this critical juncture, the Government of Iraq, its leadership and, most of all, Iraqis themselves need the continuous and massive international community’s support and assistance.  

    Thank you.

  • 15 Jul 2015

    Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Council, Excellencies,

    Since my last briefing to the Council, the situation in Libya continued to deteriorate amidst significant political fragmentation and violence. Too many Libyans continue to die in this fight among brothers and far too much destruction has taken place. The chaos on the ground has also given way to an expansion of extremist groups, including Daesh affiliates, into a number of areas across the country. This vacuum of authority has also been exploited by human smugglers and many refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are using the country as a launching area for an unprecedented surge in dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The Libyan people have been crying out for an end to the chaos. I am pleased to report today that this message has been heard by a number of courageous Libyan leaders who on 11 July, in Skhirat, Morocco, initialed a political agreement. This act signaled the adoption of a framework for further talks and has brought the country one step closer to ending the conflict and fulfilling the goals of the 2011 revolution.
     
    While some members of the dialogue were not present, the message in Skhirat was one of reconciliation and encouragement for all Libyans to join together to end the unnecessary state of affairs and suffering. The dialogue committee of the Libyan House of Representatives, boycotting members from the House of Representatives and independent personalities, initialed along with a number of representatives of political parties and of municipalities from eastern and western Libya, who witnessed the ceremony that was attended by the Foreign Minister of Morocco.
     
    The initialing of the agreement is only one, albeit important step forward in the process of addressing the political and institutional divisions. This initialing also marks a consensus among the parties on the text, with the clear understanding that it will not be further amended, without prejudice to the negotiations on its annexes.
     
    This agreement sets out a comprehensive framework that will allow Libya to complete the transition that started in 2011. The text includes guiding principles and puts in place institutions and decision-making mechanisms to guide the transition until the adoption of a permanent constitution. This is intended to culminate in the creation of a modern, democratic state based on the principle of inclusion, the rule of law, separation of powers and respect for human rights.
     
    I want to praise the Libyan participants for their achievement after months of negotiations. This is a Libyan agreement, developed by Libyan representatives through their relentless efforts and political determination. The multiple tracks of this process sought to involve all segments of Libyan society, from municipal representatives, to political parties, women and activists who have been engaged since January and gathered in Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Switzerland, Morocco and at the European Union in Brussels.
     
    As you know, the dialogue committee of the General National Congress decided not to initial this agreement, although they remain committed to the dialogue process. As I mentioned in Skhirat, I want to emphasise that the door remains open for them to join. I also wish to acknowledge their important role in developing this text. This agreement is also the fruit of their hard work, and they should not be on the sidelines as this shared vision for a solution to the crisis continues to take shape.
     
    The Libyan people have unequivocally expressed themselves in favor of peace and I am confident that the moderate voices will hear this call and will work constructively to end the conflict and bring Libya back on the path of stability, democratic transition and economic recovery.
     
    Through this agreement, which has received strong support from the international community, important progress was made; but I shall not shy away from underscoring that crucial work remains to complete this initial and significant development. As we move on to the next phase of negotiations, regarding the formation of a government of national accord and the annexes to the agreement, I am confident that all remaining issues will be addressed.
     
    The Libyan people deserve a strong government representing all Libyans, a government that the international community can and will support, to address the many challenges that the country is facing.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Allow me to express my earnest gratitude to Morocco and all of Libya’s neighbors for their support and generosity for hosting the many sessions of this dialogue. Their support, and that of many other countries, such as Algeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and as well as the League of Arab States and the European Union, has been crucial in building consensus throughout this process. I also wish to thank the African Union and the Forum of Libya’s Neighboring Countries for their support and for having provided important opportunities for crucial discussions and exchanges.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    In western Libya, local ceasefires and reconciliation agreements have improved the security situation and allowed for an improvement in the humanitarian situation. A growing rapprochement between the cities of Misrata, Warshafana, Zawia and Zintan has been instrumental in facilitating these ceasefires.
     
    In central Libya, Daesh-affiliated militants established full control over the city of Sirte and the surrounding coastal area. Misrata forces withdrew to the area of Abu Grain, some 75 km east of Sirte, but continue to carry out airstrikes and block Daesh advances westward. The prevailing political and security divisions within the country have prevented the development of a coordinated policy to deal with the threat of Daesh affiliates.
     
    In Benghazi, clashes between the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council and Operation Dignity continue with neither side making significant gains; the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council’s early July offensive has not changed the situation on the ground. In Derna, hardline Islamists from the Derna Mujaheddin Shura Council ejected Daesh from the city in June.
     
    UNSMIL has continued its efforts to convene the security track of the political dialogue. For that purpose the mission has organised a number of meetings with armed groups in Libya and abroad, and has also intensified its regular bilateral contacts with leaders of armed formations from all sides.
     
    The role of security actors is an important part of the overall reconciliation effort, and will be instrumental in sustaining, supporting and implementing the political agreement. We have listened to their concerns and taken onboard their contributions, and it is my intention to convene all security actors before the final signing of the agreement.
     
    With respect to the human rights situation in the country, violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law have continued to take place with impunity across Libya, with the civilian population bearing the brunt of the protracted fighting. In Benghazi, where fighting has once again escalated in recent days, the shelling of residential areas has led to the killings and injury of children and medical workers, as well to further destruction of civilian infrastructure. The two main hospitals still functioning, the Benghazi Medical Centre and the Jalaa Hospital - have been hit. Armed men wielding hand grenades reportedly entered the Medical Centre on 5 July threatening doctors and other staff. A number of civilians are believed to be trapped, including in Elblad and Sabri, as the warring parties fail to ensure their safe evacuation. More than half of the population in Benghazi is estimated to have left in a bid to escape the violence, and the ongoing fighting is impeding humanitarian relief operations.
     
    The situation in Benghazi, birthplace of the revolution, remains of serious concern. We must refocus our efforts on this city in particular, to try and put an end to the fighting, which has caused so much destruction.
     
    In western Libya, periodic outbursts of fighting including in residential areas led to the killing and injury of civilians including children in the cities of al-Zawiya and al-Ajilat. Armed groups have targeted individuals due to their family or perceived political affiliations. Thousands of Libyans remain illegally detained, including detainees who have been reportedly tortured. They include people held solely based on their family or tribal identity, many abducted for the purpose of exchanging them for fighters. Among them are also humanitarian workers.
     
    I was encouraged by the recent release of prisoners in various cities over the past weeks. However, all those illegally detained should be released without further delay. I have urged all parties to do so before the end of Ramadan. Such measures are not only a matter of human rights: they would contribute significantly to facilitating the next phase of the political dialogue and to reconciliation.
     
    I would be remiss if I did not mention the plight of foreign nationals, especially irregular migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, who remain vulnerable to killings, prolonged arbitrary detention, exploitation and sexual violence among other abuses. A number of non-Muslim migrant workers remain missing after having being abducted around Sirte in previous months. I fear for their safety after Daesh released videos in February and April 2015 depicting the brutal killings of some 50 Christians.
     
    The lack of security impedes the resumption of the work of the judiciary, in Benghazi, Derna and Sirte. In Tripoli, the last session of the trial of Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, Abdullah al-Senussi, and 35 other former regime officials for violations committed during the 2011 conflict, took place on 20 May, and the verdict is expected on 28 July. Libya must overcome this dark chapter in its history by holding those responsible for serious crimes accountable, in accordance with international standards for due process and fair trial.
     
    The overall humanitarian situation continues to cause concern, with the number of internally displaced doubled since last September and an underfunded humanitarian response. Awbari, Ghat and other areas of the South that require assistance remain largely inaccessible to the international humanitarian community as a result of deteriorating security conditions.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Libya is at a critical stage, and it is my duty to seize this opportunity of addressing the Council to urge all parties in Libya to continue to engage constructively in the dialogue process. Spoilers should be held accountable, as they bear the responsibility of hindering the political agreement. Once again we must join together and send an unequivocal message that only through dialogue and political compromise, can a peaceful resolution of the conflict be achieved.
     
    A peaceful transition will only succeed in Libya through a significant and coordinated effort in supporting a future Government of National Accord and to ensure that sufficient security is achieved in Tripoli and throughout the country to ensure that key functions of the public administration can resume. A Government of National Accord can be the only interlocutor through which the growing threat of Daesh and its affiliate groups can be effectively tackled. I am confident that the international community is ready to offer the needed support based on the priorities that the Libyans will identify. The UN stands ready to work with the Libyans to ensure national ownership in this process.
     
    Thank you, Mr. President.  
  • 7 Jul 2015

    Mr. President,

    Distinguished Council Members,

    I am pleased to be here today to brief you on the situation in West Africa and the implementation of UNOWA’s mandate. Further to the 15th report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) which is before you, I would like to highlight few issues and update you on the most recent developments.

    The general picture in West Africa today is that of, first, continuous concerns regarding the security situation in the Lake Chad Basin area and its humanitarian impact, in spite of progress made by the affected countries in the fight against Boko Haram; second, continuing risks of instability in several West African nations, in the lead up to their presidential elections later in the year, following the resounding success in the Nigerian electoral process; Lastly, trans-national organized crime and the Ebola Virus Disease still remain  a matter of serious concern in spite of continuing national, regional and international efforts to curb these threats. These are areas that will continue to guide our preventive diplomacy and good offices efforts in the months to come.

     

    Mr. President,

    Since May, the Boko Haram insurgency has stepped up its attacks and violence in the Lake Chad Basin Area mainly against civilian targets, leading to new deterioration of the security and humanitarian situations.  Although the structure and capacity for conventional war of Boko Haram has been destroyed, the terror group continues to perpetrate violent attacks and rampages in Nigeria but also Niger and Chad, as illustrated in recent weeks. This underscores the necessity for continued vigilance and coordinated regional action. In this regard the unprecedented solidarity exemplified by the joint military operations carried out by Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon against Boko Haram since January, with the support of international partners, is indeed commendable.

    Immediately after his inauguration, President Buhari visited Niger and Chad on 3 and 4 June to initiate high level consultations and galvanize support for fight against Boko Haram. On 11 June, an Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries plus Benin took place in Abuja, where far-reaching decisions were taken to accelerate the effective operationalization of the multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). To ensure continuity in the war effort, more support from all partners remains crucial. In the longer term, addressing the root causes of the insurgency constitutes a condition for lasting stability. A coordinated post-conflict strategy is required to help restore normal living conditions and organize the return of refugees and displaced people that the conflict has caused.

    While the Boko Haram-related insecurity has impeded field assessment in their northern areas, I am pleased to report that in the context of the Cameroun-Nigeria Mixed Commission, which I chair on behalf of the United Nations, the two countries have not relented on completing the demarcation of their common land boundary. As the CNMC is actively preparing to initiate Confidence-building projects in favour of Cameroon and Nigeria populations adversely affected by the demarcation, I should note that the UN support team has already outlined a completion strategy which establishes specific timetables and projections for concluding the work of the commission, and for passing responsibility for residual and follow up activities to a bi-lateral commission exclusively composed by the two countries.   

    In Guinea, the inter-Guinean political dialogue kicked off on 19 June, with the international partners including the UN sitting as observers. Subsequently, however, the Representative of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and I assumed an informal facilitation role at the request of Government facilitators and the parties.  It is pertinent to note that the contentious issue of the sequencing of the elections has been resolved in favour of the presidential election holding before the communal/local elections. Longstanding contentious elements dividing the government and the opposition are now being addressed, notably strengthening the technical capacity of the CENI, a credible electoral register and the monitoring and evaluation of the preparations of the presidential elections with the support of the UN, ECOWAS, OIF, bi and multilateral partners.     

    One remaining major challenge is the financial and expertise gap that needs to be bridged for the electoral process in Guinea to be on course. Time is of the essence, given that we have only about four months to the date of the presidential elections.  While a number of partners have made pledges, it is expedient that these promises are redeemed soonest. 

    Concerning Burkina Faso, the International Group for Support and Assistance to the Transition in Burkina Faso (GISAT-BF) met on 12 June 2015 in the margins of the 25th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Johannesburg. The Group noted progress in the preparation for elections, notably with the completed revision of the voters’ register. Meanwhile, there are concerns regarding what is emerging as a fragile equilibrium of the transition and in particular the underlying tensions between Prime Minister Zida and the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP). Our concerns increased following recent incident on 29 June when elements of the RSP reportedly attempted to arrest Prime Minister Zida upon his return from a foreign trip. Several gun shots were heard in the Regiment’s camp that evening. I should, however, mention the commendable efforts by President Kafando in appeasing the situation and in keeping the transition on track towards the holding of presidential election on 10 October. Meanwhile, I plan to visit Ouagadougou upon my return to the region, jointly with the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Commission and the AU commissioner for Peace and Security in our capacity as co-chairs of the International Group for Support and Assistance to the Transition in Burkina Faso (GISAT-BF).

     

    Mr. President,

    Before I conclude, let me draw your attention to the continuous challenges posed by the Ebola virus disease in the region. On 24 June, UNOWA facilitated a telephone conference between the Mano River Union Secretariat and peace missions in the region, during which were emphasized the difficulties met in border areas, as none of the security and confidence-building mechanisms are operational, and restrictions due to Ebola continue to affect local livelihoods. Despite significant achievements in the fight against Ebola, Guinea and Sierra Leone are yet to attain zero case situations. Most worrisome is that, after declaring a zero case situation on 9 May, Liberia has detected three new cases; the last was confirmed on 28 June.  There have been remarkable examples of solidarity between the neighbors in facing the Ebola crisis. With the epidemics still active, and in a sensitive political context especially in Guinea, the resources in place since 2014, including UNMEER’s, remain essential towards achieving the goal of zero Ebola case.

     

    Mr. President,

    Distinguished Council Members,

    I thank you for your attention.

  • 24 Jun 2015

     

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  • 24 Jun 2015

    Mr. President,

    Let me open with best wishes to our Muslim colleagues on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.
     
    The Secretary-General is encouraged by the recent reaffirmations by Prime Minister Netanyahu of his commitment to “the idea of a sustainable two-state solution” but notes that this must be translated into actions. This includes a halt to sensitive and unilateral activities in the West Bank, including settlements, which could prejudice a final status agreement or prevent the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. This message was reaffirmed by major donor countries at the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting in Brussels on 27 May.
     
    The Secretary-General welcomes Israel’s measures to ease some restrictions on Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, in particular during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, although some measures have been revoked in response to repeated rocket fire from Gaza. He encourages Israel to sustain and expand these confidence-building measures, which enable the legitimate movement of people and goods in and between Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and improve the quality of life of Palestinians.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The security situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, remained tense. A total of 186 Palestinians were injured, including 28 children and two women. Five members of the Israeli security forces were also injured. Israeli security forces conducted some 400 search-and-arrest operations, resulting in the arrest of 510 Palestinians. In three separate incidents on 20 May, 10 June and 14 June, three Palestinian men were killed by the Israeli security forces: first, a man was killed when an Israeli military jeep overturned during an operation to arrest suspected militants; the second incident occurred as a result of clashes with Israeli military forces; and the third was killed after ramming his vehicle into two Israeli policewomen.
     
    On 19 June, a Palestinian shot at an Israeli vehicle travelling near a West Bank settlement close to Ramallah, killing one Israeli civilian and injuring another. While claims of responsibility have not been confirmed, some Palestinian factions, including Hamas, praised the attack. The United Nations immediately condemned the attack. On 22 June, an Israeli policeman was critically wounded when he was stabbed at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, while the attacker remains in critical condition after being shot by the policeman. In total, six members of the Israeli security forces were injured.
     
    The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned about the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israel, notably those in administrative detention, including Khader Adnan, detained since 8 July 2014 and on hunger strike now for 51 days. The Israeli Government’s decision on 14 June to re-introduce draft legislation to permit force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike under certain conditions, if approved by the Knesset, would be in contravention of international standards.
     
    The demolishing of homes and structures in the West Bank has also continued. This month, 52 structures, including 17 residences, were demolished, leading to the displacement of 29 Palestinians, including 17 children. On 9 June, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition to restore planning authority to Palestinian villages in Area C of the West Bank. The planning and zoning system as it stands makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to build or develop their land in Area C. 
     
    I reiterate our concerns over the fate of 7,000 Palestinian Bedouins and herders in 46 residential areas in the West Bank, who may be at risk of forcible transfer as Israel advances its plan to relocate these communities into three sites in Area C – a plan which may be linked to settlement expansion in E1 and other areas and which would seriously jeopardize the realization of the two-state solution.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    In the Gaza Strip, the desperate situation was exacerbated by a number of security incidents. During the reporting period, ten rockets were fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza, thankfully without casualties or damage. The Secretary-General has publicly condemned these incidents. A further 11 rockets were test fired towards the sea. Israeli security forces responded by conducting eleven airstrikes on militant sites in Gaza, again, without resulting in injuries.
     
    Concerns are also mounting around internal divisions within Gaza, including a potentially developing threat from militant Salafist individuals or groups. On 2 June, Hamas security forces reportedly killed a Salafist accused of firing rockets at Israel and arrested a number of others suspected of carrying out these attacks.
     
    12 Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli security forces: I call on Israel to implement measures to minimize incidents which result in injuries in the Access Restricted Areas on land and at sea.
     
    The Secretary-General is closely following media reports which suggest that a flotilla is expected to group and head towards Gaza in the coming days. He continues to believe that a flotilla will not help to address the dire situation in Gaza and reiterates his calls on the Government of Israel to lift all closures, with due consideration of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The ever challenging circumstances in Gaza highlight the urgent need for strengthening Palestinian unity. Conflicts, poor governance and the closures have crushed Gaza’s economy. Unemployment spiked to 43 per cent at the end of 2014.
     
    I am, nevertheless, encouraged by Prime Minister Hamdallah’s commitment to overcome these obstacles, including the issue of public sector employees in Gaza, by reintegrating the governance framework under a single authority. The willingness and capacity of all Palestinian factions to resolve their differences, including on border crossings with Israel and Egypt, is integral to lifting the blockade of Gaza and advancing Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood.
     
    I note the decision on 22 June of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization to form a committee to consult with all Palestinian factions in order to form a national unity government. I encourage all factions to maintain a positive approach to these discussions which are critical to the future of Palestinian reconciliation.  
    The Secretary-General welcomed Egypt’s decision – following consultations with President Abbas – to open the Rafah crossing from 13 to 19 June and for three days this week in both directions. Recognizing that such decisions critically depend on the security environment, and without diminishing the United Nations’ primary objective to see the full lifting of all closures within the framework of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), it is our hope that the Rafah crossing can be opened on a regular basis to help relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza.
     
    While overall progress on Gaza’s reconstruction remains far too slow, the establishment of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism has been vital to facilitating the entry of material.  As of 23 June, over 88,500 homeowners have procured construction material. Furthermore, 135 construction projects have been approved by the Israeli authorities out of 202 submitted. I welcome that today the Government of Palestine approved the entry of material under the Mechanism for constructing 16,000 new homes to help address the housing gap.
     
    With major construction work expected to begin imminently, there is an urgent need for additional funding for the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, which will exhaust its funds in September.
     
    The Secretary-General took note of the release on Monday of the Human Rights Council's independent Commission of Inquiry’s report on Gaza. While we do not comment on the substance of such reports, it is our hope that this report will contribute to bringing justice to victims of last year’s war and encourage the parties to engage in serious and credible examinations of their own behaviour.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    A few words about the situation in Lebanon and Syria.
     
    Lebanon has now been without a President for over a year. The vacuum has prevented the parliament from legislating on urgent issues, affecting the economy and the Government’s ability to function effectively. Prime Minister Tamam Salam has suspended regular Cabinet meetings since 4 June to ease political tensions over upcoming senior appointments in the Lebanese Armed Forces.
     
    Along the eastern Lebanese-Syrian border, Hizbullah has reportedly seized a number of positions from armed extremist groups, including ISIL and the Nusra Front, in the region of Qalamoun up to the outskirts of Arsal. The Lebanese Armed Forces are deployed in and around Arsal to prevent the fighting from reaching the town.
     
    Six months after the launch of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, we urge donors to fulfill existing pledges for assisting the 1.2 million registered refugees and Lebanese host communities.
     
    General calm remained in the UNIFIL area of operations, despite escalatory rhetoric on both sides and security concerns in the Golan Heights. Israel continued violating Lebanese airspace on an almost daily basis.
     
    On Syria, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy continues the Geneva Consultations with Syrian, regional and international delegations with a view to developing recommendations on the operationalization of the Geneva Communique. On 4 June, he held discussions with the Syrian Opposition Coalition in Istanbul and from 15 to 17 June with Syrian officials in Damascus. In Damascus, he also raised issues related to the protection of civilians, including the unacceptable use of barrel bombs by government forces while also condemning the use of gas canisters by opposition groups.
     
    The Turkish Government has raised concerns about refugee flows resulting from efforts to oust ISIL from the Tal Abyad area in Syria. According to information available to the United Nations, approximately 25,000 Syrians from this area sought refuge in Turkey, although we believe that 2,000 refugees have reportedly already crossed back into Syria. It is neither just nor possible to expect from Turkey to continue to face the refugee pressures alone. OHCHR is investigating allegations of forceful displacement of Arab and Turkoman populations. To date, we are unaware of evidence that this has taken place on a wide scale or systematically.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    In conclusion, let me reiterate our concern that accepting a fatalistic narrative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only accelerate a deterioration of the situation. It will also constitute a grave injustice to those on both sides who want to live peacefully and securely as neighbors – as two peoples whose pasts will be forever linked by their ancestral ties to the region, and whose futures stand only to benefit, including economically. This conflict can also not be viewed in isolation from the regional turmoil. The risk of radicalization in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is heightened by the continued lack of a political horizon. Absent courageous leadership, a sustainable solution will remain a distant and unachievable goal.
  • 22 Jun 2015
    Madam President, members of the Council,
     
    I thank you for this opportunity to share UNAMA’s perspectives on recent developments in Afghanistan.
     
    Since my last briefing to the Security Council, there has been progress in meeting Afghanistan’s challenges in three distinct but interrelated areas: the economic, the security and the political. Although such progress itself has been modest, this should not be undervalued.
     
    It needs to be stressed that Afghanistan continues to be tested in meeting its benchmarks in all three areas. There is no room for complacency - failure in any one of these areas would have consequences for the overall success of the Afghan transition. It is absolutely clear that Afghanistan continues to need the support of the international community, as well as the sustained attention of this Council.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    The economic contraction that followed the withdrawal of international military forces presents a continuing challenge to the Government to meet the fiscal gap; that is, the gap between the resources it can muster and the monies it must spend. Afghanistan is meeting and exceeding - admittedly modest - revenue targets. Nevertheless, Afghanistan is struggling to harness the resources to meet its governance commitments and its developmental priorities. At this time of continued low economic growth, we must also guard against the danger of an increasing shift into the illicit economy, particularly so in the case of burgeoning narcotics production.
     
    Afghanistan is meeting its security challenges, but is nonetheless being increasingly tested. The Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF] have been undeniably stretched as they take on full security responsibilities. We have seen an intensification of conflict across the country, including in areas previously considered to be safe. Only yesterday, there were fresh challenges to Government security control in an area close to strategically important Kunduz City. And today there was a failed attack on parliament as it was about to review the nomination for the Minister of Defence.
     
    While the ANSF face operational challenges, their commitment is beyond question and they are demonstrating resilience in the face of insurgent efforts to take and hold ground.
    Foreign fighters from Afghanistan’s northern neighbours and elsewhere present a particular challenge. There also remains considerable concern that ISIL, referred to in Afghanistan as Daesh, is seeking to establish a foothold. This demands greater regional involvement and collaboration to address this shared threat. It seems inequitable that Afghanistan should be shouldering the burden of taking on terrorists whose points of origin and eventual destinations are its neighbours.
     
    The determined outreach from Afghanistan to its neighbours is encouraging. Stronger relations between the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan are particularly noteworthy, amidst growing recognition of their shared interests.
     
    Ultimately, deeper collaboration on the full range of political, economic and social issues will promote regional stability and prosperity.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    The intensification of the conflict was as predicted. There has been higher attrition on both sides, but the most tragic index of this intensification is the toll on civilians – so far this year 4,216 civilians have been killed or injured. Just two days ago, 16 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed when a bus hit an improvised explosive device. Tragic though this is, sadly it was not an isolated incident, rather a typical event.
     
    Such incidents take a terrible emotional and social toll on families, especially surviving widows, often left in the most appalling economic circumstances. Many other Afghans continue to be affected by the conflict, including those who have been displaced. Humanitarian assistance is often impeded by continued insecurity and, lamentably, humanitarian actors have been targeted.
     
    The United Nations will continue to provide humanitarian support to those affected. UNAMA will work to increase levels of trauma care and meet the short term needs of the increasing number of those internally displaced. UNAMA will also continue to advocate with all parties, including the Taliban to strengthen measures to ensure the protection of civilians.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    On the political front, there has also been modest progress. Since I last briefed you, all the members of the cabinet have been appointed, even though one remains to be confirmed. As of this morning, 21 provincial governors have been appointed and there has been agreement on other significant appointments.
     
    After long delays, the Government has committed to appoint the Electoral Reform Commission within a week, and to provide clarity on the electoral calendar within a month. The term of office of the lower house of the National Assembly, the Wolesi Jirga, was due to end today, without the election of the new members having taken place. The lack of clarity on the future of the current Wolesi Jirga had caused consternation, with the potential for public discord. Thankfully, just three days ago, President Ghani decreed an extension of the Wolesi Jirga until elections can be held.
     
    Despite political tensions, Afghan institutions were able to work together to find solutions on sovereign issues. The United Nations looks forward to a decision on the date of the next elections, as well as action to implement the commitment to electoral reform. These steps will go a long way to reassuring Afghans that the democratic institutions and processes are able to fulfil their proper roles and to meet public expectations.
     
    The most difficult aspect of the National Unity Government partnership has been in effecting appointments. With these largely now completed, and the cabinet in place, we can expect to see a more effective functioning of the Government.
     
    Now is the time for a surge in delivery of public services, fulfilment of election promises, and implementation of the reforms set out in London and as promised in the ministerial 100-day action plans. The upcoming Senior Officials Meeting, in less than three months time, of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework presents an opportunity to demonstrate real progress on the mutual commitments of donors and Governments to supporting governance reforms.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    In reference to the request by the Security Council that the Secretary-General initiate an examination of the role, structure and activities of all United Nations entities in Afghanistan, I am pleased to update that we have now agreed with the Government to establish a Commission, comprised of representatives of the Government, the international donor community, UNAMA and affiliated agencies, funds and programmes; co-chaired by UNAMA and the Government. The terms of reference have been shared with the members and the Commission will commence its work shortly and we anticipate having a report ready for the Council by the time of its September meeting on Afghanistan.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    Peace would have a major positive impact on the capacity of the Government to address its economic, security and political challenges.
     
    In the long term, peace is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Unless Afghans can find a way to live together in harmony, Afghanistan’s political and security institutions and its economy simply may not be sustainable. Failure would have no beneficiaries.
     
    Despite the disturbing security trends, or perhaps as a consequence, there has been a renewed interest in peace efforts to resolve the conflict.
     
    In my last address I spoke of a unique alignment of circumstances that could be conducive to fostering peace talks.
     
    Indeed, the essential ingredients for a peace process are present: a protracted violent conflict with little prospect of a military victory for either side; combined with clear signs of a growing interest in a peace process.
     
    A conference hosted by the Qatari Government in early May reaffirmed the appetite for peace by a wide range of Afghans, showing the potential for progress to that end through dialogue. Since then, there have been several similar meetings in different locations, most recently in Oslo last week, which I attended.
     
    These events confirm that Afghans want an end to the ever-present violence that does so much harm and which shows no signs of abating.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    While the Government has repeatedly stated its readiness to engage in direct talks with the Taliban, what is still missing is a clear indication from the Taliban that they are ready to engage directly with the Government.
     
    Without this direct engagement, no meaningful progress towards peace will be possible, a point that I continue to stress in my conversations with Taliban representatives. Conference pronouncements have been useful in clarifying positions, but can never be a format for a systematic engagement between empowered representatives on the conditions for, the agenda of, and the barriers to, an enduring peace. In short, a direct engagement is necessary for a negotiated agreement.
     
    With leadership, peace is within reach. However, the intensification of the conflict is eroding the atmosphere for constructive negotiations. Just as the voices for peace are growing louder, so too are those who believe that peace is neither possible nor desirable or that the focus should now be on war.
     
    It is thus critical that the international community as a whole, and the regional neighbours in particular, send the same message to all involved, unambiguously and forcefully: the time to begin direct peace and reconciliation talks is now.
     
    UNAMA supports such a direct engagement between armed groups and the Government, has attempted to facilitate its realization and will continue to do so, in full consultation with the Government.
     
     
    Madam President,
     
    I would like to express, finally, my hope that, in this holy month of Ramadan, Afghans will be able to come together to worship in peace.
     
    Thank you.
  • 16 Jun 2015

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations in October 2014 to review the current state of UN peace operations. The Panel consisted of 16 members chaired by former President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta and vice-chaired by Ms. Ameerah Haq. The Panel worked primarily through consultations, thematic workshops, review of submissions and relevant literature, capital visits, and targeted interviews. Consultations with Member States, civil society and academia were held in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Cairo, Egypt; Brussels, Belgium; and Salvador, Brazil. The Panel received more than 80 written submissions from more than 50 Member States, regional and other organizations, UN partner entities, civil society, academia and research outfits. The review included visits to Tokyo, Islamabad, New Delhi, Washington DC, Paris, London, Helsinki, Moscow, Beijing and Kigali as well as UN peace operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Senegal. The Panel coordinated closely with other parallel reviews such as the SCR 1325 Expert Study and the Advisory Group on the Review of Peace-building Architecture. A brief summary of the Panel’s observations and recommendations is provided below.

     

    Four essential shifts are needed

    • Primacy of politics. Lastingpeace is achieved through political solutions and not through military and technical engagements alone. Political solutions must guide all UN peace operations.
    • Responsive operations. UN missions should be tailored to context. The UN shouldembrace the term ‘peace operations’ to denote the full spectrum of responses.
    • Stronger partnerships. A more resilient global and regional architecture for international peace and security is needed for the future. The UN must lay out a vision and help enable others.  
    • Field-focused and people-centered. UN Headquarters should focus more on enabling field missions and UN personnel must renew their resolve to serve and protect the people.

     

    Some key recommendations

    On conflict prevention

    • Existing conflicts are proving harder to resolve and yet new ones are emerging. The Panel calls for a strong push on prevention.
    • Establish an international forum on prevention drawing on external resources and knowledge.
    • Need earlier engagement by the Security Council to address emerging threats and use UN expert resources earlier to support national and regional prevention and mediation efforts.
    • Reinforce UN Secretariat’s prevention and mediation capabilities.

     

    On protection of civilians

    • To deliver on protection of civilians, the current gap in many missions between resources and mandates need to be addressed.  
    • Every peacekeeper – civilian, military, police – must do all they can when civilians are under imminent threat. Political leverage and influence can be more powerful than military response.

     

    On the use of force

    • In the absence of a peace to keep, peacekeepers are increasingly asked to manage conflict. A rethink of capabilities and concepts is needed, to support these conflict management missions.
    • The Panel argues that extreme caution must guide any call for a UN peacekeeping operation to undertake enforcement tasks. The UN should not engage in military counter-terrorism operations.
    • The UN peacekeeping principles remain an essential guide for success; they must be interpreted flexibly in light of changed circumstances, and not be used as a shield for inaction.

     

    On rapid deployment, capabilities and performance

    • Ad hoc approaches to crisis response will not be sufficient for the future. The UN should lay out a vision and roadmap for a stronger network of national and regional standby capabilities.
    • Establish a modest UN rapid deployment capability for reinforcement and new mission start-up. 
    • The Security Council should provide strong political support to the UN’s force generation process, and there should be more involvement of higher capability countries in UN peacekeeping, including the Security Council members.
    • Command and control is too often undermined by national restrictions revealed in the field. This must not be tolerated. 

     

    On achievable mandates

    • Achievable mandates must be based on a clear analysis of the conflict and a political strategy. 
    • Establish sequenced and prioritized mandates as regular practice, including a two-stage mandating process, to allow for realistic planning on the ground.
    • Institutionalize Security Council and Secretariat consultations with troop and police contributing countries to forge a common purpose for missions from the outset.

     

    On sustaining peace

    • The Security Council and other international actors should remain politically vigilant and provide sustained support to the country to prevent a relapse of conflict.
    • Establish pooled country-level UN funds linked to a political roadmap and integrated strategies, and provide missions with some resources to spend in-country.
    • Review the current capacities of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes to aid in sustaining peace.

     

    On women, peace and security

    • Conduct gender sensitive analysis, planning, implementation, review, evaluation and mission drawdown processes, and integrate gender expertise within all mission components.
    • Improve the policy, substantive and technical support including from UN Women together with that received from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Political Affairs at Headquarters.

     

    On integrating human rights

    • Include key human rights developments when briefing and reporting to the Security Council or otherwise engaging with Member States, and there should be regular public reporting on the human rights situation.
    • Ensure coherence and avoid duplication of efforts among human rights and protection functions. Streamline monitoring and reporting requirements for the specialized protection mandates.
    • Provide sufficient resources for timely recruitment and deployment of human rights officers.

     

    On addressing abuse and enhancing accountability

    • Immunity must not mean impunity. Immunity was never intended and does not apply to provide immunity from prosecution to UN personnel alleged to have committed sexual exploitation and abuse. The immunity privileges are functional only, i.e., related to the exercise of his/her professional duty as a UN employee, not for private acts. 
    • Disclose information on disciplinary actions taken by contributing countries, including information on non-reporting.
    • Immediate and robust implementation of the Secretary-General’s proposed measures, including establishment of immediate response teams and six-month deadlines to complete investigations.
    • Bar troops from countries listed in the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict and on conflict related sexual violence, until de-listed.
    • Create an effective and adequately resourced victim assistance programme.

     

    More field-focused support

    • Administrative practices are too headquarters centric and hamper mandate delivery in the field.
    • Align authority with responsibility to deliver results in the field – ensure accountability for results and for resources, together. 
    • Develop field-focused specific human resources and other administrative procedures.  
    • Establish special administrative measures for mission start-ups and crisis response.

     

    Funding of AU peace support operations

    • Security Council-authorized African Union peace support operations should be supported, on a case by case basis, by United Nations-assessed contributions, and accountability and standards frameworks should be established for such operations.
    • Strengthen UN liaison with other regional organizations.

     

    On UN mission leadership, capability and performance

    • Reinforce senior leadership selection and appointment through defined, merit-based processes.
    • Select strong leadership teams based on diversity and complementarity responding to needs on the ground.
    • Appoint more women to leadership positions and review obstacles preventing their recruitment and professional advancement.
    • Ensure that those leading UN peace operations are held accountable, including through performance management mechanisms such as ‘360 degree appraisals’.

     

    Funding of special political missions

    • Adopt the four recommendations contained in the twenty-second report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, on the review of arrangements for funding and backstopping special political missions.

     

    On need to align Headquarters structures for more focused field operations

    • Develop options for restructuring the Secretariat’s peace and security entities, including the establishment of a position of an additional Deputy Secretary-General responsible for peace and security as recommended in 2005.
    • Propose the immediate establishment of a strategic analysis and planning capacity.
    • Develop a proposal for a single ‘peace operations account’ to finance all peace operations and related back-stopping activities in future.
  • 11 Jun 2015

    Monsieur le Président,

    J’ai l’honneur de vous présenter le Rapport du Secrétaire général sur la situation en Afrique centrale et les activités du Bureau régional des Nations Unies pour l’Afrique centrale (UNOCA).
     
    Ce rapport procède à une mise à jour sur les menaces contre la paix et la sécurité en Afrique centrale. Il passe aussi en revue les activités menées par UNOCA au cours des six derniers mois, de concert avec les Etats Membres et les organisations sous-régionales.
     
     
    Monsieur le Président,
     
    Depuis la publication du dernier rapport en novembre 2014, la situation politique et sécuritaire dans la sous-région est demeurée une source de préoccupation. 
     
    Ainsi, l’Afrique centrale est encore marquée par des tensions pré-électorales croissantes; une crise économique agravée par la chute des prix du brut pour les pays producteurs de la région; un chômage des jeunes à la hausse; des activités terroristes perpétrées notamment par Boko Haram et l’Armée de Résistance du Seigneur (LRA); ainsi que par l’impact transfrontalier des crises dans un certain nombre de pays de la région, telle que la République centrafricaine et le Burundi. 
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) continued to have regional and multidimensional consequences with almost half a million refugees; ongoing gross violations of human rights; the proliferation of small arms and light weapons; growing gang-related criminality; and environmental degradation in refugee areas.
     
    At the request of the Head of State of the Transition and with the agreement of the International Mediator, President Sassou Nguesso of Congo, I chaired the Bangui Forum for National Reconciliation and facilitated its functioning, in close consultation with the International Mediation and SRSG Babacar Gaye of the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). This included working to defuse pre-Forum tensions and discouraging spoilers; advising participants, including representatives of the armed groups; ensuring inclusivity and transparency; facilitating ownership of the process by Central Africans; and keeping all actors mindful of a long-term vision for peace.
     
    The Forum concluded on 11 May with the signing of a number of key documents, including a Pacte républicain pour la paix, la réconciliation nationale et la reconstruction en République centrafricaine and an agreement on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR). I wish to acknowledge the transitional authorities and particularly the citizens of CAR for this success. Moving forward, it will be critical to capitalize on the momentum generated by the Forum and to mobilise the required resources for the elections and DDR. 
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Boko Haram remained a serious threat to the Lake Chad Basin region. The dire humanitarian situation in this region, resulting from attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram, continued to affect the population, including hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Cameroon and Chad. Insecurity and insufficient resources continued to strain the already stretched response capacities of governments and UN entities in the affected countries.
     
    The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) demonstrated its commitment to address the Boko Haram threat during several Summits of Heads of State and Government in which I represented the Secretary-General. The deployment of Chadian troops to the border areas of Cameroon and Nigeria and the recent inauguration of the Headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force on Boko Haram (MNJTF) signaled increasing cooperation between States in the fight against Boko Haram. Military operations have put Boko Haram on the defensive, but recent attacks by the terrorist group highlight the need for the affected States to remain vigilant and engaged. While the fight against Boko Haram is not over, we must start looking ahead to the stabilization phase in order to secure military gains. This will involve international support and regional commitment for candidly examining and addressing the root causes of violent extremism.
     
    UNOCA remained both politically and technically engaged in supporting countries of the region address the impact of Boko Haram’s activities in close collaboration with the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA). My Office supported efforts to develop a coordinated humanitarian response and advance operationalization of the MNJTF. I undertook a diplomatic tour with SRSG Chambas of UNOWA to engage the leaders of Boko Haram affected countries. We will continue to support the the region’s collective response to the Boko Haram threat.  
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The Lord’s Resistance Army continued to pose a threat to regional security, particularly to populations in CAR and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the period under review, and in spite of ongoing efforts, the number of abductions unfortunately increased. More than 200,000 persons still remain displaced across the region. The group is also involved in illicit trade of natural resources to finance its activities.
     
    The surrender of senior LRA commander Dominic Ongwen in January 2015, and his subsequent transfer to the International Criminal Court, marks a significant step forward with regard to criminal justice. Ongwen’s removal from the battlefield sends a strong message to remaining LRA fighters and signifies that international efforts to combat the group, within the framework of the United Nations and African Union regional strategies, are bearing fruit.
     
    UNOCA remained actively engaged on the LRA issue to ensure the implementation of the United Nations regional strategy on the LRA and to ensure international coordination through the convening of the bi-annual coordination meeting of LRA focal points. UNOCA also worked in close collaboration with the African Union to ensure the political commitment of LRA affected countries to this cause. The African Union Special Envoy for the LRA, General Jackson Tuwei, and I met with the Ugandan authorities in Kampala to emphasize the importance of the Government’s sustained political and operational commitment to the African Union Regional Task Force.
     
    I would like to express my gratitude for the work undertaken by the AU-RTF in this process and whose mandate was recently renewed, on 18 May, by the African Union Peace and Security Council.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, continued to pose serious security threats and have economic consequences for Central and West African States. In coordination with UNOWA, UNOCA continued working with concerned States to consolidate their efforts in combatting maritime insecurity. 
     
    Central Africa remained plagued by cross-border criminal activities including the illicit trade in wildlife used to support the activities of armed groups such as the LRA. Further to the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and ECCAS, UNOCA will support Central Africa in the development of a sub-regional strategy to tackle the growing phenomenon of poaching
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Central Africa entered an electoral cycle ending in 2018. Political tensions in the run-up to elections are on the rise in some countries. Issues related to amending constitutional term limits are dividing electorates. Violent confrontations have led to the loss of lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Social grievances are percolating, exacerbated by the economic contraction in the sub-region’s many oil-producing States.
     
    In this context, I continued to use the good offices of the Secretary-General to engage political stakeholders across the sub-region and encourage the peaceful resolution of disputes. As a result of the support provided by UNOCA and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, journalist from Central Africa adopted a code of conduct articulating their responsibilities in support of peaceful electoral processes. UNOCA also organized the third meeting of UN presences in Central Africa, which took place on 18 May and focused on increasing internal coherence and efficacy in preventing and and managing electoral violence in the sub-region. The United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa took place on 4 June with UNOCA’s assistance. The meeting adopted ministerial declarations on Burundi and CAR to reaffirm the region’s support.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    Despite the many challenges they face, Central African leaders have undertaken important initiatives in the interest of their populations. On 6 May, Heads of State of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) decided to implement the free movement of peoples in the six countries of the CEMAC zone, signalling a major step towards greater regional integration.
     
    Meanwhile, ECCAS Heads of State continued to work collectively the CAR as well as in response to the instability caused by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region.  ECCAS Heads of State also decided appoint a Special Envoy for Burundi and the Great Lakes region to appeal to the Burundian parties to seek to resolve their differences through peaceful means. UNOCA will continue to suppor these and other sub-regional initiatives that advance long-term stability.
     
     
    Mr. President,
     
    The report before you also presents the findings and recommendations of the recent Strategic Review of UNOCA’s mandate and activities. Since its establishment five years ago, UNOCA has demonstrated its added value in a fragile sub-region with enormous internal and cross-border security challenges. The Secretary-General encourages Member States to support the recommendations of the Strategic Review. With the continued support of this august body, UNOCA shall continue to be a steadfast partner to Central African States in the promotion of peace and stability.
     
    Thank you.