Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for February (1 February 2018)

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, would attend the Security Council’s meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, on 20 February, Mansour Ayyad Sh. A. Alotaibi (Kuwait), Council President for the month, said at a press briefing at Headquarters today.

Presenting the 15-member organ’s work programme for February, he said conflict mediation, preventative diplomacy, humanitarian issues and enhanced Council working methods would be priorities for the Kuwaiti presidency.

In addition to the 20 February briefing, he said the Council would also hold an Arria formula meeting on the Middle East on 22 February, with Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, invited to attend.

On other matters, he said an open debate on the Council’s working methods would take place on 6 February, followed by a high-level meeting on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter on 21 February, chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait with the Secretary-General briefing.

He said the political, humanitarian and chemical weapons dimensions of the conflict in Syria would be discussed during three separate meetings during the month, while the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Yemen would brief Council members on 27 February.

Consultations were scheduled for 26 February on non-proliferation and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, with the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands participating in his capacity as Chair of the 1718 Sanctions Committee, he said.

Turning to Africa, the Council would hold briefings and/or adopt resolutions pertaining to Sudan sanctions on 8 February, Guinea-Bissau on 14 and 27 February, Central Africa Republic on 22 February, South Sudan on 27 February and Burundi on 26 February.

The Council’s quarterly meeting on Kosovo would come on 7 February.

Responding to correspondents’ questions about the 20 February meeting, he said it would be a good thing for Council members to listen to Mr. Abbas directly. No Council member opposed his presence, he said, adding that there was no information so far as to whether Israel would participate.

Asked about the Council’s recent visit to Washington, D.C., where members were shown pieces of a missile said to have been of Iranian origin and fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, he said it seemed an attempt was being made to propose a presidential statement on the matter, with consultations taking place outside the Chamber.

Regarding Syria and chemical weapons, he said differences remained between Council members and that experts were discussing a draft resolution on the matter put forward by the Russian Federation. He added that efforts were continuing to reach consensus on a presidential statement on humanitarian aspects of the conflict that would support a list of five priorities set out by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

Responding to questions about Myanmar, he said Kuwait sought to organize a Council visit in February, but that would not happen. The authorities in that country did not reject the idea, but they thought it was not the right time and that tensions were high in Rakhine State. Other Council members might try to organize such a visit perhaps in March or April, he added.

Questioned about Mr. Carter’s participation and the Arria formula meeting, he said the former United States President — during whose term in office the Camp David Accords were agreed — had followed the question of Palestine for a long time, and that his positions on Israeli settlements were known to all. He had a role to play and that was why he was invited.

Kuwait last held the Council presidency 39 years ago this month, during its 1978-1979 term as a non-permanent member of the 15-nation organ.

For the full programme of work, please see www.un.org/en/sc/programme.

For information media. Not an official record.