Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for June
As the Security Council navigated “a very packed schedule” in June, it was critical for the body to maintain “unswerving support” to international mediation efforts in Syria in the face of terrible recent events, the representative of China, which hold’s the Council presidency for the month, said this afternoon.
“We must send a strong, unified message” in support of the six-point plan of Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, Li Baodong told correspondents at the regular monthly Council agenda briefing. Calling the recent massacre in the village of El-Houleh a tragic setback in mediation efforts, Mr. Baodong awaited critical information on that event and the entire situation from Mr. Annan in his upcoming bimonthly briefings on the crisis, required by Council resolution 2043 (2012) and scheduled for 7 and 26 June.
In addition to Syria, he said that the situation in Sudan and South Sudan would be very much at the forefront of attention, with briefings scheduled for consultations on 14 and 28 June, as well as an open briefing in relation to Darfur and the International Criminal Court planned for tomorrow, 5 June. Consultations on the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) were planned for the 18th.
Progress in the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, he said, would be the subject of further consultations tomorrow, and would possibly take place in an innovative, interactive format, including major stakeholders that had been requested by the country’s representative.
An open briefing would be held on the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the 12 June, with the introduction of the Secretary-General’s report on the Mission there, known as MONUSCO, in view of a mandate extension for that Mission to be considered on the 27th. There would be a briefing in consultations on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on 29 June.
In regard to other situations in the Middle East, he said that the monthly briefing on the Palestinian question would be held on the 19th, followed by consultations, and continuing issues between Iraq and Kuwait would be addressed in consultations on the afternoon of that same day. The extension of the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) would be considered on the 27th, following consultations earlier in the month.
Other highlights of the month, he said, included a public debate on the report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on the 27th. The annual public briefing on peacekeeping, with the participation of field commanders of all United Nations missions, would take place on 20 June, and an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, with the participation of High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, would occur on the 25th.
The work of several subsidiary bodies, including sanctions and counter-terrorism committees, would also be addressed during the month, as would appointment of judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Consultations between the Council and members of the African Union Peace and Security Council were planned for the 20th and were expected to cover a wide range of situations, including the coup and rebellion in Mali, on which, in answer to questions, he reiterated his national position that called for the restoration of constitutional order and the addressing of root causes, including the proliferation of weapons in the region.
Asked several questions about Syria, Mr. Baodong reiterated his country’s national position, which prioritized respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, as well as for the choices made by the Syrian people themselves. It was important for the Security Council to safeguard the United Nations Charter, he added. In addition, it was critical not to undermine the mediation efforts of Mr. Annan.
At the same time, he strongly condemned the killings in El-Houleh, saying: “Whoever did this should be brought to justice.” It was important not to rush to judgement on who was responsible, he stressed, since the Government and opposition had different stories. First-hand information was needed before further steps could be taken by the Council.
He said that the country was at a crossroads. On the positive side, all parties could agree to a cessation of violence and an inclusive political process. On the other hand, the situation could turn far bloodier and eventually turn into a full civil war, with sectarian violence and destabilization of the region. To avoid the latter, it was critical for Council members to urge both the Government and the armed opposition to fulfil their commitments and to keep on the look out for what he called “third elements”, who wanted to further destabilize the situation.
In response to other questions, he said his country was working to revive the six-party talks on the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but the situation was “very complicated, very sensitive” and it was important to take a long-term perspective to safeguard peace and security in North-East Asia. Asked about the delayed report of the Panel of Experts on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea sanctions, he replied that his country was working closely with all parties involved to resolve the issue.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said his country remained disappointed over the deadlock. He would like to see the resumption of talks and the creation of the right environment for progress by having settlement activity ended and other actions on the ground. Asked about reports that Israel was putting nuclear warheads on submarines, he said that nuclear non-proliferation was very important and there should be no double standards in that regard.
He said that relations between his country and the United States were “robust” and were based on many common interests and he was confident that they would remain that way as long as channels for frank discussion were kept open. The increase of Chinese tourism to the United States was one of many positive signs. There were, of course, differences, as the two countries had very different histories and were at different levels of development, but those differences could be dealt with in a positive manner, as long as both countries maintained respect for the other’s sovereignty and did not interfere with the other’s internal affairs.
For information media • not an official record