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Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for April

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Security Council
Press Conference

Amid the crisis in Yemen, the ongoing situation in Syria and other urgent threats to peace and security, the Jordanian presidency of the Security Council would focus on a range of issues, holding three open debates and hearing top officials brief on pressing matters.

During the coming weeks, the 15-member body was scheduled to focus on some of those issues, said Dina Kawar, Permanent Representative of Jordan. Three open debates would hear briefings from top officials on women, peace and security, the Middle East and the maintenance of international peace and security, with a focus on the role of youth in countering violent extremism and promoting peace.

With the latter ministerial-level debate, to be held 23 April and chaired by Jordan’s Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, she said the idea was to address youth engagement in extremism and the causes behind it. The Council would then discuss, among other things, the steps that the international community could take to address that concern.

On the Middle East, she said the Council’s quarterly open debate on that region on 21 April would focus on Palestinian issues. On the situation in Syria, consultations would be held today and on 24 April, the latter following a briefing by Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to that country. That ministerial-level briefing would address the crisis and its repercussions on neighbouring States, she said, pointing out that refugees now account for 21 per cent of Jordan’s population.

The Council would also hold an Arria Formula meeting on 27 April that would discuss the destruction of cultural artefacts and their illicit trade during armed conflicts, she said. Members would hear briefings by experts, including Irina Bokova, Head of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and a representative of INTERPOL.

The Council was also scheduled for a 6-7 April retreat with the Secretary-General, which would focus on, among other things, peacekeepers and sanctions in general.

Also featured on the Council’s agenda were updates and action on sanctions and mission mandates. On 28 April, it was expected to adopt resolutions on Côte d’Ivoire sanctions and on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Briefings and consultations were scheduled on 9 and 14 April on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and MINUSCA. In addition, meetings were scheduled on 8 and 16 April to consider troop-contributing countries on MINUSCA and MINURSO, and on 22 April a briefing and consultations would focus on Côte d’Ivoire sanctions. The Council had already today adopted a resolution to extend the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). (See Press Release SC/11849.)

Before asking questions, many correspondents welcomed and congratulated Ms. Kawar for being the first Arab woman to hold the Security Council presidency. Thanking them, she addressed, in her national capacity, questions about Syria, saying her Government was pleased with the current rounds of talks aimed at creating a transitional government amid the humanitarian crisis that had left millions affected. A political solution was important, she said.

Resuming her role as Council President, she said Mr. de Mistura had been working in difficult conditions and the Council supported him, hoping to hear about recent developments and some “good news” during his briefing on 24 April.

To questions on the likeliness of a Palestinian resolution passing during her presidency, she said two resolutions were “floating”, but she had not seen them. Welcoming an outcome, she said the open debate later this month would be very important. “Any resolution had to take the time it takes to be acceptable to everyone,” she said. To a question on the State of Palestine joining the International Criminal Court, she wished the Palestinians good luck.

Turning to questions on Yemen and a possible draft resolution from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, she said negotiations were ongoing. “They were not easy,” she said, “but eventually we will arrive at a solution.” Jamal Benomar, United Nations Special Adviser on Yemen, had been trying to get parties around the table to agree, yet the Houthis had disagreed on certain items. The Council had, for its part, issued resolutions and presidential statements calling for resumed negotiations and would remain seized of the matter. In her national capacity, she said Saudi Arabia’s recent action was valid.

Asked about the Council’s consideration of Boko Haram, she said a resolution was still under discussion and that a decision would be made soon. With crises in Yemen, the Syria issue and other situations, the Council had this month tried to leave some empty days to allow for issues that could come up. However, considering that the programme was often crowded, it meant dealing with three or four issues on one day.

Responding to questions on Libya, she said ways could be found within the sanctions regime to ease up those measures to enable the army to defend itself.

To a question on Western Sahara, she said the Council would consider the latest reports and the renewal of the mandate.

On Mali, she said the Council was pleased with positive developments in discussions. More and more frequently, the situations the Council was seeing were not inter-State but intra-State, making it more difficult for negotiations.

Responding in her national capacity to questions on Iran, she said Jordan hoped that the latest news would open up other situations in the region. Elaborating on that point, she said the issue of Iran and the United States and the nuclear matter could provide an opportunity to discuss other concerns, including Palestine, in the Council. Resuming the Council presidency, she said she would consult with members on the possibility of a statement.

Responding to a question on the killing of Jordanian air force pilot Muath Al-Kasasbeh by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS or Da’esh), she said his brutal death, being burned alive, was a “wake-up call” and a shock to everyone in Jordan. On ISIL, she said “these people have nothing to do with religion”, a notion that was now “cemented” in Jordanian society after that killing.

For information media. Not an official record.