Press conference by UN SC President
Briefing correspondents on the Council's programme of work for the coming month, the subject for that debate was a timely choice, as drug trafficking in West African States such as Guinea Bissau, Guinea and Cape Verde had taken on worrying dimensions and was afflicting not only the subregion, but also countries in Latin America and Asia. The debate would be chaired by his country's Minister for Foreign Affairs. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), would brief participants, including the Secretary-General and other high-level representatives. A presidential statement was expected.
He said that on 4 December, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court would brief the Council on that body's involvement with Sudan. On that same day, the Council would have consultations on Côte d'Ivoire to discuss the outcome of the meeting of the Permanent Consultation Forum of the Ouagadougou Agreement and the presidential elections, which were expected to take place in 2010. There would also be briefings on the activities of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006) regarding non-proliferation in Iran, on the Central African Republic, Burundi, the Middle East and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).
All in all, 15 meetings were planned for December, as several mandates were to expire, including on Burundi, MONUC, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and of ad litem judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The Council might meet on the Djibouti/Eritrea and the Somalia issue, as the delegation of Uganda prepared a draft resolution proposing sanctions on Eritrea. Pending developments, the Council might also discuss the situation in Guinea and further developments regarding non-proliferation in Iran. The Council's last meeting this year was planned for 21 December.
Asked why he had opted for a presidential statement on drug trafficking as a threat to international security, and not a resolution, Mr. Kafando said it had been his country's intention to raise the issue at the Council level in connection with the maintenance of international peace and security. As the issue was not often discussed in that context, the first step would be a presidential statement that emphasized the significance of the problem and identified some of the measures to address it. The Council might consider adopting a resolution later on.
Answering questions about the Democratic Republic of the Congo and possible changes in the mandate for MONUC, Mr. Kafando said that negotiations on the mandate extension had posed some difficulties. The mandate might be renewed for a shorter period than the usual 12 months. As for reports that the Panel of Experts regarding sanctions against the Democratic Republic of the Congo had accused MONUC that it had done too little to counter the illegal exploitation of natural resources, he said the Panel's report had not yet been received by the Council. If received, it would be part of the Council's deliberations on 16 December.
Addressing questions about Djibouti/Eritrea and Somalia, he said Uganda had submitted a draft resolution calling for sanctions on Eritrea as a follow-up to a request received six months ago from the African Union that the Council consider the conflict and the situation in Somalia and consider sanctions against Eritrea. Sanctions, however, were a thorny issue in the Council. There was no agreement among members.
It was true that the Goldstone report had been submitted to the Security Council by the Secretary-General and that the Council would address the subject, he answered to another question. No meeting on the issue had been planned in December. According to the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council, the parties had a period of six months to initiate investigations before the Council should take up the matter.
Asked why a letter from Venezuela requesting that the Council consider actions by Colombia was not on the programme of work, he said the Council preferred to have all necessary elements at hand before addressing the matter. The Council would proceed cautiously, in order to find an appropriate solution.
No Council meeting was planned on the announced postponement of elections in Iraq, Mr. Kafando answered to another question. On 21 December, the Council would consider the mandate of the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq. During consultations on 17 December, the Council would look at ways to give more capacity to Iraqi authorities in managing the Fund.
Commenting on the General Assembly debate on Security Council Reform, he said that debate had been going on for years without a solution. It was not easy to agree on ending the privileges one had. Extending or maintaining the power of veto was an ongoing problem. The African position remained that Africa should have two permanent seats on the Council, with the power of veto, if the veto was to be maintained. Negotiations with other countries were ongoing in order to come to some kind of change. When that could happen was the big question, he said.
For information media - not an official record